Today, Administrator Samantha Power launched the U.S.-India Alliance for Women’s Economic Empowerment during the Fourth Annual Leadership Summit of the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF). The Alliance, a public-private partnership between USAID, the U.S Department of State, USISPF, and George Washington University, aims to catalyze business, philanthropic, and civil society commitments to advance women’s entrepreneurship and workforce participation in India.

The Alliance is being launched in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted women in India and globally. Women experience disproportionate financial stresses and increased pressures while balancing unpaid care and domestic responsibilities while working outside the home. And as the pandemic endures, women in India face increased underemployment and business closures. The Alliance will work to create opportunities for women in the workforce as well as for women-owned and/or women-led micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to recover from the pandemic and thrive economically.

Administrator Power also announced the Alliance’s first two initiatives: Women@Work and India Million Women Mentors. Led by Alliance member Samhita-CGF, Women@Work will develop a coalition of businesses, philanthropies, and other stakeholders to drive the economic recovery and resilience of low-income women workers and small entrepreneurs, and enable them to grow and thrive.

Aspects of Women@Work are supported by the USAID-funded REVIVE Alliance, which launched in October 2020 to focus on economic recovery, predominantly for women and youth. The India Million Women Mentors initiative, led by Alliance member Pod, aims to connect one million women and girls in India with mentors over the next five years.

Participation in the Alliance aligns with the U.S. National Security Strategy, which confirms and elevates the need for inclusive and resilient growth as central to sustainable development and poverty reduction. This is needed now more than ever considering the devastating and ongoing secondary impacts of COVID-19 on the global economy.