Tennessee Senators Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) announced Tuesday that they have introduced legislation to codify the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative along with a few of their Republican colleagues.
Along with Blackburn and Hagerty, Republican Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Rob Portman (R-OH) are all part of the initiative.
W-GDP is a groundbreaking, whole-of-government approach to advancing women’s economic empowerment. Established in February 2019, W-GDP has reached 12 million women worldwide during its first year and seeks to reach 50 million women by 2025.
However, the Biden administration is proposing to eliminate this program in favor of a new initiative focusing on climate change and other vaguely described goals, rather than promoting economic opportunity for women.
This legislation would continue the work that began under the Trump administration to advance women’s economic empowerment around the world by:
- Removing educational and skills barriers to female participation in the workforce;
- Promoting women’s entrepreneurship and increasing female access to capital and markets;
- Reforming laws and practices that prevent women’s full and free participation in the global economy.
The legislation also requires neutrality with respect to abortion and prevents the diversion of funds to abortion-related work to ensure that the initiative remains focused on economic empowerment.
Ivanka Trump, who served as advisor to President Donald J. Trump and spearheaded the creation and launch of W-GDP, praised the introduction of this legislation saying,
As the world has watched the Taliban take control of Afghanistan, we are reminded once again of the pain, suffering, and lack of opportunity that far too many women and girls are forced to endure under oppressive regimes. Now more than ever, it’s critical that the United States share our values for human rights, education and economic opportunity for all. I commend the Senate for taking action to codify W-GDP— an impactful program launched during the Trump Administration— to ensure women around the world can legally, fully and freely participate in their local economies and provide for their families.”
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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]