Empowering Women by Advancing Economic Freedom Around the World

The Trump White House has been pushing Ivanka Trump’s brainchild, the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, to a greater global audience.

The program, which involves the National Security Council, the State Department, and other relevant agencies, focuses on empowering women and seeks to support them in the workplace in developing and Third World countries. 

How? By helping these women succeed as entrepreneurs and advancing legal reforms that will create greater gender equality. 

Ivanka Trump, of course, was a successful businesswoman before becoming a senior adviser to her father as president, working in the White House without pay.

The
ultimate goal of the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity
Initiative, known as WGDP, is to help 50 million women improve their economic
conditions by 2025. 

The
Trump administration has a unique opportunity to use U.S .aid effectively
to encourage entrepreneurship, push private enterprise, and increase innovation
while focusing on comparative advantage. Promoting economic freedom in
developing or repressed countries is a crucial pillar of an “America First”
agenda that not only will advance U.S. interests but cement foundations of free-market
principles and defend democratic values.

By
using U.S. economic diplomacy in this way, America has practical opportunities
to help women become agents of change in their home countries.

According
to The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, liberalized
economies not only have higher levels of entrepreneurial dynamism,
higher standards of living, lower rates of poverty, and safer
environmental standards, but also greater democratic governance, more
social progress, and more gender equality.

Highlighting
the WGDP, Heritage’s James Carafano pointed out:

Good programs offer a hand up, not a handout. They aren’t there to enrich bureaucrats and nongovernmental organizations. They are a catalyst for growth, not global welfare. … Good programs target meaningful and cost-effective measures that serve the common interests of the U.S. and the host nation.

When
women are empowered with more and greater opportunities as workers, innovators,
entrepreneurs, and investors, communities flourish and economies
expand. True empowerment is allowing individuals around the world to engage
autonomously in transactions as an exercise of their political and economic
rights. 

A McKinsey Global Institute study estimates that advancing women’s role in the workplace could add $12 trillion to global gross domestic product—an amount equivalent in size to the current  gross domestic product of Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom combined.

The
constraints on economic empowerment for women are complex. However, women’s
advancement and empowerment do not necessitate gender quotas or affirmative
action. 

What’s
needed, above all else, are free-market policies that allow women to make
their own choices. 

As outlined
in the presidential memorandum on promoting women’s global development and
prosperity, “accelerating women’s economic empowerment around the world is
integral to enabling developing countries to achieve economic self-reliance and
to become greater trading partners with the United States.” 

As The
Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom has documented, countries that
implement free-market policies enable women to make their own economic
decisions. 

The first
daughter’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative can be an
important tool in helping make that happen.

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