WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, yesterday urged United States Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power not to dissipate or dilute the Women’s Global Development Program (W-GDP). In her confirmation hearing last month, Hagerty urged Power to implement the program. In fiscal year 2021, Congress provided up to $200 million for W-GDP.
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Partial Transcript Below:
Hagerty: “We’ve talked about that [the Women’s Global Development Program], before. I appreciate our conversation in March, when you acknowledged your agreement with the purpose of the W-GDP. You acknowledged the fact that there’s a very strong linkage between women’s economic engagement and the political and economic stability of a nation. So I think the program has tremendous potential. As you remember, the W-GDP was established in 2019. It’s a program that really is aimed at women’s economic engagement on a worldwide basis. And it looks to use several tools. One is to engage women in the workforce and to remove the barriers that often exist there. Another is to really support women entrepreneurs. That’s helping them get capital, it’s helping them access markets. It’s giving them mentors, things that really will develop them further. And also it’s about removing the laws and the practices that interfere with women’s economic empowerment in those nations. And I applaud all of those goals, as I know you do. The goal at the time it was set back in 2019 was to have 50 million women engaged in the program by 2025 and in its first year, 12 million women already engaged. So I think it has tremendous potential, and I would look forward to hearing your plans now, administrator, for how you’d move forward with the program.”
Power: “I remember our phone call and our follow up very well on this. And, you know, I’ve only been in the job a few weeks, but do have a sense of the impact that it’s had. Also, the popularity of these programs is you indicate, I actually did not have that figure of 12 million engaged already. I think the aspect of it that is the toughest nut to crack, but I’m very glad you emphasized, it is this question of gender norms in the legal and regulatory environment and how this fund can help secure progress in those domains. I think we’re looking forward, you know, to continuing these programs in workforce development, entrepreneurship. Again, looking at the normative environment, we have a longstanding commitment to women’s economic empowerment at the agency. I think what I’m looking to do, and I really appreciate you being such a spirited champion of these efforts, but is thinking about how these tenants also just get mainstreamed throughout all of USAID’s programming. Whether it’s dealing with agricultural settings, or education, or a small business, or the DFC, how we look out for finding a female run businesses, small businesses, and so forth internationally. So I don’t have granular detail to offer you at this point. I’m more familiar with it than I was when we spoke, but I think it received a hundred million dollars in its in its first two years. And we’re looking at continuing the programs that comprise it.”
Hagerty: “Well, I’m glad to hear that. And when you talk about the tenants moving through the entire program, I couldn’t agree more, but I don’t want to lose focus on this program. I think it’s an extremely valuable program, and I don’t want to see it dissipate or dilute. I would love to work with you on concentrating it. And to the extent legislation can help bolster this, I look forward to working with you and your team to do that as well, because I’d like to see this really deepened and expanded. Thank you.”