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, while in some cases, boys are falling behind.
In agriculture, women make up more than 40 percent of the labor force, but only represent between 3 to 20 percent of landholders. In Africa, women-owned enterprises make up as little as 10 percent of all businesses--and in South Asia, only 3 percent. And despite representing half the global population, women compromise less than 20 percent of the world's legislators.
If we can erase these inequities--and put women on equal footing with men--we know that we can unlock human potential on a transformational scale. Just by empowering women farmers with the same access to land, new technologies and capital as men, we can increase crop yields by as much as 30 percent and feed an additional 150 million people.
For decades, USAID has been leading global efforts to achieve gender equality. While great strides have been made, gender inequality remains a significant challenge across every development initiative worldwide, from education to global health.
Today, we are accelerating efforts to advance equality and promote women's advancement by:
- Ensuring all our strategies and programs contribute to reducing gender gaps that impede development and slow progress;
- Developing frameworks and metrics that measure the gender impact of our program so we can measure women's participation, priorities, and needs; and
- Ensuring the composition of our work staff reflects our own principles so we reflect our commitment to equality and female leadership.
We have established a solid foundation to accelerate progress:
- We ensure that every strategy and project is shaped by a gender analysis and establishes common indicators for judging our success.
- We released a new Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy, which will significantly strengthen our capacity to support women and girls by ensuring our efforts are integrated and based in rigorous analysis.
- Educate Girls, Develop Nations
- Why Women's Leadership Matters in a Macho World
- Video of the Week: Empowering Women in Haiti
- Raising the Bar: Combatting Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies
- Shoulder to Shoulder: Delivering Real Results for Women and Girls
- In a Traditional Society, a South Sudanese Woman Becomes a Role Model
- Guatemala’s 24-Hour Courts: Changing the Way Women Access Justice
- Advancing Women's Potential Around the World by USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah
- Fact Sheet: USAID Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment (GenDev) Office (PDF, 185KB)
- Fact Sheet: USAID Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy
- Highlights of USAID's Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment Work
- Women in Development Featured in FrontLines
- White House Fact Sheet: U.S.-African Cooperation in Advancing Gender Equality
Last updated: November 10, 2014