Americans need to understand the Middle East
How much do we really know?

At The Media Line, we value all points of view and aim to mend our differences through fact-based narrative-inclusive journalism Help support our bold and brave team in Afghanistan, Gaza, Israel, Palestinian Territories, the UAE, and beyond.
Help us continue our work and provide access to the news that matters to you.

Thank you and best wishes to you and yours for this Jewish New Year.
 
Felice Friedson
Founder, President
US Initiative Gets $122 Million to Benefit Mideast Women
Ivanka Trump speaks about the W-GDP initiative on Tuesday at the State Department. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

US Initiative Gets $122 Million to Benefit Mideast Women

W-GDP plans to improve access to work and economy for what amounts to half of region’s population

Ivanka Trump, first daughter and special advisor to the US president, on Tuesday announced $122 million in new programs and partnerships for the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative.

Trump established the W-GDP initiative in early 2019 with the goal of empowering women around the world. Its work is segmented into three pillars: the labor market, entrepreneurship and participation in the overall economy.

The initiative hopes to help 50 million women by 2025 after impacting 12 million in its inaugural year.

“This is the type of bold action to expand the efforts of the federal government, the private sector and other partners that restrict women’s ability to participate in their local economies that has been the American model for success,” Trump said during Tuesday’s announcement.

She was joined at the State Department by Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, USAID deputy administrator Bonnie Glick and Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Kelley Currie.

“Nations with a greater balance of men and women in the workplace and workforce have greater growth, innovation and stability,” O’Brien said. “Conversely, the larger the opportunity gap between men and women, the more likely a country is to suffer from economic deprivation or to be involved in violent conflict. So not only is empowering women the right thing to do, but global peace and prosperity require it.”

Very little in the fund’s work will change as a result of the novel coronavirus, which has disproportionally hurt women. Currie attributes this to “a very well-designed initiative that was able to be applied directly to the current context without too much adjustment.”

Additional funding for women’s empowerment is desperately needed in the Middle East and North Africa, a region that regularly scores the lowest in global surveys on gender equality. However, the Trump Administration says that women’s rights there are improving thanks to initiatives like W-GDP.

“We’re really excited about some of the movement that we’re seeing in the Middle East,” a senior White House official told The Media Line, asking not to be named.

We’re really excited about some of the movement that we’re seeing in the Middle East

“We’ve supported a coalition in Jordan led by Mayyada Abu Jaber to get policymakers to change laws that limit women’s ability to work at night and their availability to work in key sectors,” the official said.

“The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have gotten into almost a virtual competition to see who can move up the Women, Business and the Law ranking the fastest,” the White House official added, alluding to an index published by the World Bank. “Other countries are moving in after them to change laws and restrictions on women, especially economically, which we’ve seen in Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.”

The official says that as a result of the increased funding, the administration will be able to continue supporting regional initiatives.

“In these countries, we think that it’s really important to work ‘within the grain,’ as we say. It’s about making sure we are recognizing that they’re doing it and encouraging it, and looking for opportunities to cooperate with them in terms of funding,” the official said, adding: “A lot of it is just sharing experiences and being a good partner to them as they work through this.”

According to a press release, W-GDP plans in the Mideast involve helping countries enforce laws dealing with discrimination and women’s rights, and advocating for women to have greater access to work, including by holding workshops with the US Department of Commerce.

Did you know we’re celebrating our 20th Anniversary as the 1st American News Agency exclusively covering the Middle East?

  • The Middle East landscape is changing rapidly.
  • The roads in the region open to new possibilities.
  • The Media Line continues to pave the way to a far greater understanding of the region’s land, people, policies and governments through our trusted, fact-based news.

We’re an independent, ad-free, non-profit news agency and rely on friends like you!

Please make your gift today.
Thank you!

We paved the way to be the Trusted Mid East News you can rely on!

We’re an independent, ad-free, non-profit news agency and rely on friends like you!

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.