House lawmakers introduce legislation to promote women's global empowerment

House lawmakers introduce legislation to promote women's global empowerment
© Stefani Reynolds

A group of bipartisan lawmakers introduced legislation on Monday intended to encourage women's participation in the global workforce. 

The Development Prosperity (W-GDP) initiative, which was launched in February 2018 with White House senior advisor Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpTrump: food chain 'almost working perfectly again' Lilly Wachowski claps back at Ivanka Trump and Elon Musk's 'red pill' exchange Trump says he gave officials 'option' to wear masks at Rose Garden event MORE — the president's daughter — at the helm, aims to develop economic stability for 50 million women in developing countries by 2025.

The W-GDP Act — led by Reps. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulTop GOP lawmakers invite Blue Dogs to meet with China Task Force over coronavirus probe House passes bill that would sanction Chinese officials over Xinjiang camps The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga says supporting small business single most important thing we should do now; Teva's Brendan O'Grady says U.S. should stockpile strategic reserve in drugs like Strategic Oil Reserve MORE (R-Texas), Ann WagnerAnn Louise WagnerTrump, GOP go all-in on anti-China strategy House passes massive T coronavirus relief package Bottom line MORE (R-Mo.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) and Lois FrankelLois Jane FrankelGloves come off as Democrats fight for House seat in California House members race to prepare for first-ever remote votes The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pence visits Orlando as all 50 states reopen MORE (D-Fla.) — would authorize two existing positions at the State Department and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) dedicated to working on the initiative and create an interagency steering group and advocacy counsel to assist with its implementation.

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The bill would also authorize $200 million annually over the course of half a decade that would be placed in a W-GDP Fund at USAID to fund the programs and “prioritize efforts to leverage private sector resources to complement W-GDP efforts and programs.”

Under the legislation, the agencies would be required to provide an implementation report to ensure the money is being spent effectively and properly.

McCaul, who joined Trump at the launch of the initiative last year in Ivory Coast and has been working closely with her on expanding the efforts, praised the progress they’ve made in the last year, adding that he feels it could prove to be instrumental in combating extremism and promoting stability in third-world countries.

“This legislation will build on the tremendous success of the Administration’s W-GDP initiative, which reached 12 million women in developing countries in its first year alone and seeks to reach 50 million by 2025,” he said in a statement.

“Our whole-of-government effort will help women support their families, contribute to their local economies, and increase prosperity worldwide. From fighting instability and terrorism to promoting economic development abroad, women’s empowerment is critical to our foreign policy objectives and national security. The biggest threat to extremism is an empowered woman.”

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Houlahan echoed McCaul’s sentiments, praising the legislation for providing the resources needed to further their efforts.

“Data shows that when women are empowered, communities are more prosperous, and the world is more stable and more peaceful,” the Pennsylvania Democrat said in a statement. 

“That’s why I’m proud to introduce the W-GDP Act, a bipartisan and bi-cameral effort that will push women and women’s issues to the forefront of U.S. foreign policy. This legislation works to ensure women around the world have the tools to succeed as entrepreneurs and leaders," she said,

Trump thanked McCaul, Houlahan, Wagner and Frankel in a statement, applauding their work on the initiative.

“I applaud their leadership advancing women’s economic empowerment and am grateful for their hard work. The W-GDP Act builds on the bipartisan, bicameral support for the Administration’s trailblazing W-GDP Initiative and I look forward to working with Congress to see this legislation signed into law,” she said.