USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick's Remarks on the Women's Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative Announcement

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For Immediate Release

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

June 5, 2019
Global Entrepreneurship Summit Global Launch Lounge
The Hague, Netherlands

MODERATOR: Welcome to the Global Launch Lounge, part of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2019. My name is Jamila Aanzi, your host and moderator in this Lounge, where we announce deals, agreements, and have panel discussions. And, some subjects are closer to your heart than others, and women's economic empowerment is close to my heart as a former Dutch women's representative to the United Nations, so it's a very great pleasure and honor to introduce this following guest. Deputy Administrator Glick is announcing a new initiative that bridges the gender digital divide and promotes women's economic empowerment, which is part of the White House's Women Global Development Prosperity Initiative. Deputy Administrator Glick was most recently the Deputy Secretary of the Maryland State Department of Aging, and prior to that, she worked in the private sector at IBM in a variety of senior leadership positions. She has come to USAID to leverage her background as USAID confronts 21st-century development challenges around the world. Please give her a warm welcome. Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick.

DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR GLICK: Thank you, Jamila. Today I am proud to announce $1.5 million grant funding for the Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative. We call it Women's GDP. The Women's GDP's WomenConnect Challenge, round two. So, it's not exactly a new launch. This is round two of something that we launched last year. In February of 2019, the Women's GDP Initiative WomenConnect Challenge came up with the idea of extending what we had done successfully, and I'll tell you a little bit about that, last year. This was the first whole of government effort to advance global women's economic empowerment.

The WomenConnect Challenge is a key part of the Women's GDP effort, demonstrating how digital technology can catalyze women's economic empowerment. Led by the United States Agency for International Development, the challenge seeks to bridge the gender divide that so many women feel and does not allow them to fully participate in the global economy. Winning solutions to this challenge will support Women's GDP's three pillars: first, advancing workforce development in vocational education for women; second, providing access to capital markets and networks for women entrepreneurs; and third, removing restrictive regulatory, legal, workplace, and social barriers to enable women in the economy. By investing in women, USAID is investing in a future in which countries can be self-reliant by unleashing the potential of their own people.

Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump launched the first round of the WomenConnect Challenge with USAID's Administrator on International Women's Day in 2018. Since then, USAID awarded nine grantees who are solving the socio-economic and cultural barriers to connect nearly one million people in 12 countries. The next round of the challenge launched under Women's GDP will further advance women's economic empowerment through digital connectivity. Addressing the gender digital divide is a critical step for millions of women to reach their full economic potential. We need new ideas, and we need innovative thinking. We need your creativity and ingenuity. In 2018, the first round of WomenConnect awarded nine organizations with $100,000 each to implement a 12- to 18-month project and impact evaluation round.

We're excited to have three WomenConnect awardees with us here today. Dorcas Muthoni -- Dorcas is over there, everyone. Dorcas is part of the AFCHIX project; Rachael Alldian with Viamo; and Marie Berg with Bluetown and GAPI.

We're proud of their work that's already underway, and starting today you can submit your ideas by applying online at That's, and proposals are expected by July 26th, 2019.

Last updated: November 23, 2021

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