USAID and Gates Foundation Launch Consortium to Accelerate Closure of the Gender Digital Divide

CARE, Global Digital Inclusion Partnership, and the GSMA Foundation have been appointed to manage the Women in the Digital Economy Fund (WiDEF), and will identify, fund, and accelerate investment in proven solutions to close the gender digital divide – including women-led solutions, products, and tools – thereby improving women’s livelihoods, economic security, and resilience.

CARE, Global Digital Inclusion Partnership, and the GSMA Foundation have been appointed to manage WiDEF, and will identify, fund, and accelerate investment in proven solutions to close the gender digital divide – including women-led solutions, products, and tools – thereby improving women’s livelihoods, economic security, and resilience. 

Employing a strong localization approach, WiDEF will create opportunities for organizations and businesses at the forefront of equitable digital inclusion to receive financial, technical, and operational support to advance their work. Working together, the consortium will ensure that WiDEF advances evidence-based, effective and replicable approaches to transform digital ecosystems globally. The first application round for organizations to apply for funding will be announced in early 2024.

Beyond direct delivery, WiDEF will facilitate partnerships with diverse stakeholders, share insights through a community of practice, and incorporate a substantial policy and advocacy component to inform and influence action at every level of the development system.

With initial funding from the USAID’s Gender Equality and Equity Action Fund and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, WiDEF was first announced by U.S. Vice President Harris in Accra, Ghana, in March 2023. Since then, the United States Government’s commitment to closing the gender digital divide has attracted significant public, private, and civil society commitments. In response, the White House launched a broader Women in the Digital Economy Initiative (WiDEI), creating a platform for collaboration. In September, WiDEI partners announced US$ 515 million towards closing the gender digital divide as a response to the G20’s historic commitment to the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration to halve the digital gender gap by 2030.

This consortium brings a proven record of supporting innovation, women’s empowerment and advocating for greater digital rights and inclusion. They also offer an extensive network of key public and private sector stakeholders that are committed to closing the gender digital divide.

About CARE

Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading organization working around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty, and achieve social justice. CARE puts women and girls at the center of our work because poverty cannot be overcome until all people have equal rights and opportunities. This year, CARE and partners worked in 111 countries implementing 1,600 poverty-fighting development and humanitarian response projects and initiatives that reached more than 174 million people.

About GDIP

The Global Digital Inclusion Partnership (GDIP) is a coalition of public, private, and civil society organizations working to bring internet connectivity to the global majority and ensure everyone is meaningfully connected by 2030. Founded by a global team of experts who successfully championed affordable and meaningful connectivity around the world, GDIP advances digital opportunities to empower and support people’s lives and agency, leading to inclusive digital societies.

 About GSMA

The GSMA is a global organization unifying the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovation foundational to positive business environments and societal change. Our vision is to unlock the full power of connectivity so that people, industry, and society thrive. Representing mobile operators and organizations across the mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries, the GSMA delivers for its members across three broad pillars: Connectivity for Good, Industry Services and Solutions, and Outreach. This activity includes advancing policy, tackling today’s biggest societal challenges, underpinning the technology and interoperability that make mobile work, and providing the world’s largest platform to convene the mobile ecosystem at the MWC and M360 series of events.

For more information on the Women in the Digital Economy Fund, please visit USAID.gov/digital-development/gender-digital.