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SUBJECT: Promoting Women’s Global Development and Prosperity

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby directed as follows:

Section 1.  Policy.  It is the policy of the United States to enhance the opportunity for women to meaningfully participate in, contribute to, and benefit from economic opportunities as individuals, workers, consumers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors, so that they enjoy the same access, rights, and opportunities as men to participate in, contribute to, control, and benefit from economic activity.

To advance a priority articulated in my National Security Strategy to empower women worldwide to participate more fully in civic and economic life, I hereby establish the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (Initiative).  As the National Security Strategy states:  “Societies that empower women to participate fully in civic and economic life are more prosperous and peaceful.  We will support efforts to advance women’s equality, protect the rights of women and girls, and promote women and youth empowerment programs.”

Through the Initiative, we will aim to reach 50 million women across the developing world by 2025, and, in so doing, boost global gross domestic product and facilitate peace, security, and stability for all.  When women are empowered economically, they invest in their families and communities, spurring economic growth and creating more stable societies.  The larger the opportunity gap between men and women, the more likely a country is to be involved in violent conflict.  Conversely, nations in which women have equal opportunities are more likely to thrive and solve challenges peacefully.

Accelerating women’s economic empowerment around the world is integral to enabling developing countries to achieve economic self-reliance and to become greater trading partners with the United States.  This Initiative, accordingly, will focus on the United States Government’s international efforts to help women reach their economic potential and secure opportunities in their local economies.  The United States will also continue to prioritize and support women’s economic empowerment domestically.

Women make up half of the world’s population, yet they own only one-third of the world’s formally registered small- and medium-sized enterprises; provide most of the world’s unpaid child and elder care; are more likely to work in insecure, low-wage jobs in the informal economy; are more likely to face legal barriers to full participation in the economy; and have less access to finance, markets, and property than men.  Women face significant obstacles to fully and freely participating in the global economy.  These challenges impede prosperity for individuals, communities, firms, and nations.

The constraints on economic empowerment for women are complex.  The United States will pursue a multi-pronged approach to addressing these constraints, involving the collaboration of the heads of the executive departments and agencies receiving this memorandum (agencies), as well as consultation with international institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and private-sector partners.

This Initiative will build on existing efforts and is intended to help coordinate and shape a growing portfolio of international women’s economic empowerment programs launched since the start of my Administration, including the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative at the World Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) 2X Women’s Initiative, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) WomenConnect Challenge.  This Initiative will serve as the overarching policy effort in this area for the United States Government, to which each of these programs contributes.

My Administration will focus the efforts of the Initiative on three pillars:  (1) Women Prospering in the Workforce, which will support workforce development and skills training; (2) Women Succeeding as Entrepreneurs, which will focus on entrepreneurship and access to capital, markets, and networks; and (3) Women Enabled in the Economy, which will address the factors that affect women’s ability to reach their economic potential, including applicable laws, regulations, policies, practices, and norms.

Sec. 2.  Executive Branch Coordination on Efforts to Support the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative.

(a)  There is hereby established a Working Group to support the objectives of this memorandum.  The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and the Advisor to the President shall serve as co-chairs of the Working Group and coordinate its work.

(b)  In addition to the co-chairs, the Working Group shall consist of representatives from the following agencies:  the Departments of State, the Treasury, Commerce, and Labor, the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Peace Corps, OPIC (or its successor agency, the United States International Development Finance Corporation), the Inter-American Foundation, and the United States African Development Foundation.

(c)  Agencies represented on the Working Group shall assess how their programs can be most effective, consistent with existing authorizations and appropriations, in supporting the objectives set forth in section 1 of this memorandum.  The Working Group shall serve as a coordinating body to share expertise and ensure coordination on this policy priority across the executive branch.  The Working Group shall also develop and refine rigorous metrics to measure agency efforts to support the objectives set forth in section 1 of this memorandum.  The Working Group shall also review programs to determine which are effective, and shall, as appropriate, recommend that agencies seek to terminate any programs that are failing to meet their intended objectives and the objectives set forth in section 1 of this memorandum.

Sec. 3.  Prioritizing Women’s Economic Empowerment Programs.

(a)  Agencies shall take into account the objectives set forth in section 1 of this memorandum and the guidance of the Working Group described in section 2 of this memorandum, as appropriate, when designing and implementing international programs.

(b)  Agencies shall seek to prioritize and increase support for the Initiative within their budget proposals and within allocations of appropriated resources.

(c)  Agencies shall, consistent with applicable law, subject to the availability of appropriations, and in coordination with the Working Group, seek to collectively attribute no less than $300 million per fiscal year to programs that further women’s global economic empowerment.

(d)  The Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Fund within USAID (Fund), with its own dedicated resources and an initial proposed funding allocation of $50 million, has the potential to support the highest-priority and highest-impact proposals to enable women’s economic empowerment across the developing world.  My Administration shall prioritize the Fund within the President’s Budget and appropriated resources.

(e)  In administering the Fund, USAID shall take into account strategic guidance from the Working Group described in section 2 of this memorandum.  USAID shall consult with the Working Group participants when reviewing proposals for the Fund.  As appropriate, USAID may also invite Working Group participants to help implement programs supported by the Fund.  USAID shall also consider applying the metrics developed by the Working Group in its efforts to track the Fund’s progress toward meeting the objectives set forth in section 1 of this memorandum.

Sec. 4.  Recognizing and Encouraging Efforts by Partners.  Agencies shall, to the extent consistent with applicable law, confer with bilateral and multilateral institutions, NGOs, and private-sector partners to advance the objectives set forth in section 1 of this memorandum.  Where possible and consistent with applicable law, they shall seek to recognize and encourage contributions to women’s economic empowerment from entities outside the United States Government.  These contributions may take the form of mentoring and training for students and young professionals in the developing world; loans, loan guarantees, grants, or other financial assistance to women-led businesses; innovative social programs designed to facilitate women’s participation in economic life; skills training for women in supply chains; technical assistance for legal and regulatory reforms; and financial or in-kind contributions to women’s economic empowerment initiatives.

Sec. 5.  Reporting and Evaluating Progress.  No later than 120 days after the end of each fiscal year from fiscal year 2019, agencies shall report to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and the Advisor to the President regarding their activities carried out during the preceding fiscal year to achieve the goals of sections 1, 3, and 4 of this memorandum.  In particular, agencies shall document yearly progress toward the Initiative’s goal of reaching 50 million women by 2025.

Sec. 6.  General Provisions.

(a)  Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.