Ivanka Trump is set to unveil on Thursday a new White House effort that aims to help 50 million women in the developing world get ahead economically over the next six years.
The Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, which will be led by the presidential senior adviser and daughter of President Trump, is a government-wide effort with the goal of using current programs and developing new ones to assist women in areas such as job training, financial support, and legal or regulatory reforms.
“The economic empowerment of women shouldn’t be viewed as a ‘women’s issue,’” the president’s daughter wrote Wednesday in a piece for the Wall Street Journal. “By investing in women, we are investing in a future in which countries can support themselves by unleashing the potential of their own people.”
The initiative, which the president previewed during his State of the Union address on Tuesday, will be officially signed by Trump on Thursday as a national security memorandum and will coincide with a roundtable discussion. Attendees were to include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, national security adviser John Bolton, officials from USAID and UNICEF, elected officials and business leaders, as well as women who are the beneficiaries of this type of aid.
“We think women are arguably the most under-tapped resource in the developing world for accelerating economic growth and prosperity,” Ivanka Trump, who will attend the Munich Security Conference next week to promote the initiative, told The Associated Press.
The effort will draw on public and private resources, with the U.S. Agency for International Development initially setting up a $50 million fund, using already-budgeted dollars. As part of the launch, USAID and Pepsi Co. will announce a partnership aimed at women in India, and USAID and UPS will sign an agreement designed to help female entrepreneurs export goods.
Trump has twice tried unsuccessfully to slash USAID’s budget by a third, and his “America first” foreign policy has sought to limit the United States’ role as an international leader. But his daughter said this effort was in keeping with administration goals, arguing it was a strategic investment that promoted security.
“We’re proud of our legacy of being a generous nation, looking to uplift others around the world. But we want to do so in a fiscally responsible way,” she said, promising “rigorous” efforts to track progress. Among those she has consulted for the project is former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Since joining her father’s administration in early 2017, Ivanka Trump has made women’s issues a focus of her work in the White House. She previously led an effort to launch a World Bank fund to help drive women’s entrepreneurship. And she recently advocated for the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act, which bolsters efforts focused on women by USAID.
“Advancing greater equality and opportunity for women is a crucial area in which Republicans and Democrats can find common ground and pass historic bipartisan legislation,” she wrote in the Wall Street Journal. “In the coming weeks and months, I will continue to build partnerships and work with members of both parties to advance women’s economic opportunities, promote female entrepreneurship and lift barriers to full economic participation.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.