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USAID Launches New Gender Policy

Today, during a White House event, Rajiv Shah, Administrator for USAID, launched the Agency’s new Policy on Gender Equality and Female Empowerment.

Citing its importance, Shah stated, “We know that long-term, sustainable development will only be possible when women and men enjoy equal opportunity to rise to their potential. But today, women and girls continue to face disadvantages in every sector in which we work, and in other cases, boys are falling behind. With this policy, we can ensure our values and commitments are reflected in durable, meaningful results for all.”

USAID Deputy Administrator, Ambassador Donald Steinberg; Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Development; and other senior White House officials participated in the launch. The event included special remarks by Geeta Rao Gupta, Deputy Executive Director for UNICEF; Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of PIMCO; and Julia Duncan Cassell, Liberian Minister for Women’s Affairs.

The policy comes at a critical time as global efforts to reduce gender gaps have met only partial success. Across every development priority worldwide—from education to economic inclusion—gender inequality remains a significant challenge. For example, if women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20 to 30 percent, which could reduce the number of hungry people in the world by up to 150 million people. Moreover, women are important change agents in their societies and their role as partners—not just beneficiaries of—development assistance is vital to long-run success.

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