The United States State Department hosted a great live stream event for women on August 11, 2020. The State Department seems to have created a very productive program that they are referring to as WGDP [Women’s Global Development and Prosperity]. The program is working closely with USAID, the US foreign aid arm, to truly empower women globally.
This well designed program focuses on how the barriers to women’s participation in the economy can be removed. The program expands entrepreneurial influence by giving skills building and training. They’re also giving leadership training so that women can better navigate their local business climates.
The initiative is a great platform to build and strengthen women where they are while still respecting their unique cultures and environments. This cultural respect has always been important to WOW.
Ivanka Trump, advisor to the president, talked about how they have worked diligently to form partnerships with private and business sectors to fund this initiative. They have raised millions of dollars and have helped over 12 million women better succeed economically in the first year alone. Some of the contributors to WGDP are Wal-Mart, Discover Card, WeConnect, and Microsoft Corp, as well as over 400 other contributors.
This initiative shows that the solution to women’s empowerment and economic success and equality doesn’t need to be an issue that wars are waged on or sexual or abortion services are applied to. This initiative shows so eloquently and simply that solutions for the economic empowerment of women have nothing to do with reproductive rights or abortion, and that global battles don’t need to be fought over the issue. Instead, people around the globe with good intentions can just come together and do something about it.
During the question section of the broadcast the head of WGDP was asked why the initiative doesn’t include “reproductive rights” and “maternal rights.” These terms both mean abortion services in legal documents. The WGDP replied perfectly stating that the initiative is designed to do the most good for the most women with the least amount of money expended, and is also designed to be a program that all people can unite behind.
Another questioner asked why the initiative wasn’t being more publicly talked about. It was clear from the answer to the question that the WGDP isn’t an initiative about getting attention or participating in activism wars, but it is an initiative that is meant to get things done and help people.
This approach is so wise of the State Department. How refreshing it was for me to watch this broadcast that wasn’t selling a perspective on the needs of women, but was instead saying that they have noticed the following problems, women not having the same ability to own land or start business or have internet services in certain parts of the world, and that they are doing something about it.
WOW Africa and WOW have worked tirelessly over the years at the United Nations and in meetings with national and local officials to bring attention to the problem of inheritance rights issues in many countries, and it seems someone has heard us at last and is really doing something valuable to take steps toward actually doing something about the problem.
This seemingly productive initiative runs counter to what WOW has seen in years past from NGOs and UN officials who claim to be for empowering women around the world but only push one agenda. Many NGOs say they want women’s empowerment, but only push abortion services and test medical gadgets and drugs on our African sisters. Many NGOs say they are going to help women in African and Asian nations earn more money and get better education, and only try to recruit women to wave their abortion or sexual rights flags for them on their home soils.
Women have been badly used by NGOs and UN agencies with agendas to push sexual and political ideologies for far too long. It seems that the US State Department under the Trump administration has cut through the politics and agendas at last to finally just do something good for women.
WOW has not reviewed the entire program yet, but was very impressed at the intent expressed during the latest WGDP broadcast. WOW will watch the WGDP initiative with interest in the coming months and years, and hopes it stays the course it was started upon.