Economic security is the ability to consistently meet essential needs for oneself and one’s family through quality jobs and dignified, decent work. To be economically secure means having a stable income or enough resources to support an adequate standard of living now, for the foreseeable future, and during times of economic crises. Across the world, women are far less likely to be economically secure than men.
Advancing women’s economic security is both a moral and a strategic imperative of U.S. foreign policy. Women’s meaningful economic participation is integral to achieving greater security and stability around the world. When women are economically secure, they invest in their families and communities, spurring economic growth and creating more stable societies. Advancing women’s economic security is critical to ensuring that all countries can meet their full economic potential and that women are able to fully, meaningfully, and equally contribute to, and benefit from, global prosperity.
The first-ever interagency U.S. Strategy on Global Women’s Economic Security advances four lines of effort that aim to create world in which every person has equitable opportunities for job placement, advancement, quality of life, and leadership:
- Promoting Economic Competitiveness through Well-Paying, Quality Jobs
- Advancing Care Infrastructure and Valuing Domestic Work
- Promoting Entrepreneurship and Financial and Digital Inclusion, Including through Trade and Investment
- Dismantling Systemic Barriers to Women’s Participation
Each of these lines of effort are interconnected, and policy and programmatic actions taken to advance women’s economic security through these efforts will be informed by women and girls’ overlapping and intersecting identities.
Following the Strategy’s launch in January 2023, implementing U.S. government departments and agencies will formulate individual action plans to carry out the Strategy. Implementation will be informed by evidence-based, data-informed policy and program development, and will involve local partnerships and collaboration across governments, with civil-society organizations, and with private sector partners.
The Gender Equity and Equality Action (GEEA) Fund
The Gender Equity and Equality Action (GEEA) Fund advances economic security for women and girls by increasing their access to resources, services, and leadership opportunities and by addressing the barriers that limit their ability to participate fully in the economy. The Fund invests in partners around the world, prioritizing programs that address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19, climate change, conflict, and crisis on women and girls. The GEEA Fund aligns with the U.S. National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality and the U.S. Strategy on Global Women’s Economic Security . Additional information on the GEEA Fund’s priorities and guiding principles can be found on USAID’s website .
The GEEA Fund is managed by USAID’s Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Hub (GenDev) and implemented by USAID and the Department of State. The GEEA Fund’s priorities are guided by a U.S. Government-wide Steering Committee whose membership includes the USAID Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment and the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, with the Executive Office of the President in an observer role.
The State Department’s GEEA Fund activities complement the Department’s broader diplomatic engagement, programming, and public diplomacy efforts to advance women’s economic security globally.
Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi)
The United States is committed to increasing women’s economic security through investment, financing, and global economic partnerships. The United States initiated We-Fi, a new multi-donor facility, which was launched at the G20 Summit in 2017. We-Fi aims to engage private sector finance and catalyze increased lending and investment for women’s businesses. We-Fi combines that with complementary technical assistance, such as skills enhancements and market access, to enable women-owned and women-led small and medium enterprises to thrive. The U.S. government supported We-Fi with $50 million and with international partners has galvanized more than $354 million to advance women’s entrepreneurship around the globe.
Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE)
Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE) is a global programming consortium that addresses cross-cutting issues affecting women and girls and their ability to fully participate in their societies, including a women’s economic security initiative. To account for the deeply interconnected nature of women’s experiences, WAGE programs employ approaches that are highly collaborative, integrated, multidisciplinary, and inclusive, addressing women’s economic security in the context of legal and practical barriers such as gender-based violence, conflict, and insecurity. WAGE women’s economic security programming has three central goals: (1) Strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations to support women’s economic security; (2) Provide women with the resources they need to succeed as equal and active participants in the global economy; (3) Engage in collaborative research and learning to build a body of evidence on relevant promising practices. WAGE’s women’s economic security programming is active in Central Asia, El Salvador, Honduras, Moldova, and Timor Leste.