EMPOWERING WOMEN AND GIRLS AROUND THE WORLD: A CORNERSTONE OF U.S. FOREIGN POLICY
“Promoting gender equality and advancing the status of women and girls around the world remains one of the greatest unmet challenges of our time, and one that is vital to achieving our overall foreign policy objectives.”
- President Barack Obama Presidential Memorandum -- Coordination of Policies and Programs to Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women and Girls Globally,
Since 2009, the Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI) has managed a worldwide small grants program to complement U.S. policy advocacy efforts on behalf of women and girls. S/GWI grants target locally-based organizations working to advance progress for women and girls and to address some of the challenges and barriers to gender equality. The aim of the small grants is to provide organizations with seed money to help jump-start innovative projects that can lead to longer term and sustainable results.
Since the establishment of its small grants program, S/GWI has supported projects to strengthen the role of women in peace and security negotiations, promote women’s economic participation, engage women in mitigating climate change, expand girls’ access to education, and address gender-based violence.
Working in collaboration with U.S. Embassies and Missions overseas well as offices within the Department and USAID, S/GWI has programmed over $70 million in targeted grants to local organizations to improve the lives of women and girls in 85 countries around the world. Programming has included activities that empower expectant mothers with health literacy information and social services that provide rehabilitation, basic literacy, vocational skills training, and life skills education for survivors of gender-based violence, support broader economic empowerment and development for women-owned businesses and women entrepreneurs, and increase access to primary education for out-of-school children. The grants have been financed via three distinct funding channels: public funding allotted to S/GWI, partnerships with offices within the Department, and private donations to the Secretary’s International Fund for Women and Girls.