The Trump administration’s much-hyped initiative to help 50 million women in the developing world has allocated only $1 toward each woman.
Ivanka Trump is the public face of the “Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative,” announced to much fanfare during the same week as the State of the Union address.
But so far, the initiative has only had $50 million allocated to it from the budget of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
“That’s just a dollar a year each!” said Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development.
The funds are extremely small in comparison to efforts by previous administrations.
In 2016, President Barack Obama’s administration submitted a budget requesting $1.34 billion in foreign aid that would support gender equality and efforts to reduce gender-based violence. Some $40 million of that was set aside for Let Girls Learn, the initiative launched by Michelle Obama to help girls in the developing world get a quality education.
A year later, the Trump administration ended the program.
Just last year, philanthropist Melinda Gates announced a $170 million plan to increase the economic power of women around the world. That’s more than three times as much as the commitment from the entire U.S. government.
Yet, despite the comparatively paltry sum of his offering, Trump clearly wanted praise for the program.
During his State of the Union address, Trump congratulated himself for launching “the first ever Government-wide initiative focused on economic empowerment for women in developing countries.”
“Trump is committed to women’s economic empowerment,” claimed a White House press release. The document said the $1 per woman effort would advance “women’s full and free participation in the global economy.”
As Trump signed a memorandum establishing the initiative, Ivanka wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed that laughably claimed the fund would help “boost global economic output by an additional $12 trillion by 2025.”
The public relations maneuver is right in line with an administration that has attacked women around the world at every turn.
He reinstated the anti-choice global gag rule, then later expanded it — banning the United States from funding certain reproductive health initiatives around the world.
Opposition to abortion also led Trump to cut funding for the United Nations Population Fund, which is responsible for family planning, including ending deaths from childbirth, across 150 countries.
Trump hurt women and families when he ended the Syrian refugee program and imposed a ban on Muslim travel to the U.S. Additionally, he put in place policies at the U.S.-Mexico border that separated children from their families.
Trump is reviled by women, and this initiative is part of a gambit to improve his standing with them before the election. But even then, with Ivanka leading the charge, Trump hobbled the program and made it into an obvious joke.
There is no real commitment here, just smoke and mirrors for another con in progress.
Published with permission of The American Independent.