As part of the U.S. government’s decades-long commitment to promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls around the world, the United States Agency for International Development is working to close the digital gender divide that locks women out of greater economic opportunities, prevents equal access to information, and hampers their ability to use crucial online services. To attract greater investment that will help close the gap, Vice President Kamala Harris launched the Women in the Digital Economy Fund (Wi-DEF) earlier this year, with initial funding from USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Today, we are proud to announce that our partners from Microsoft and the Government of the Republic of Korea have pledged an additional $11.6 million towards the Fund. The $10 million pledged by Microsoft and $1.6 million from the Republic of South Korea will be crucial to creating a more equitable digital world.
Building on the success of the Fund, and in response to an historic commitment from the Group of 20 Leaders to halve the digital gender gap by 2030, USAID is also launching the Women in the Digital Economy Initiative. This initiative convenes new partners from government, the private sector, philanthropic, and civil society organizations. USAID and our partners have already pledged contributions totaling over $515 million to further align efforts that will do even more to bridge the gender digital divide.
Among governments, Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, and the United Kingdom have all pledged their support. Their investments are aimed at developing innovative digital solutions to reduce the gender gap in mobile internet and mobile money services, drive digital financial inclusion and empowerment of women, advance digital skills and education for women, and ensure safety and security for women and girls when they engage with technology.
Private sector, philanthropic, and civil society organizations are adding their support as well. Amazon Web Services, Inc., the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CARE, Citi, G20 EMPOWER India Chapter, Global Digital Inclusion Partnership, GSMA, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, Microsoft Corporation, myAgro, Reliance Foundation, Viasat, Visa Foundation, and Visa Inc. have all made contributions that will enable even greater digital innovation benefiting women globally. They will help women workers in supply chains take advantage of digital financial services, provide connectivity and digital literacy training to women, help women farmers use phones to access the tools they need to be more productive and profitable, and create new opportunities for women entrepreneurs by facilitating access to affordable mobile devices and internet connectivity.
USAID and its partners are dedicated to closing the gender digital divide and empowering women in communities that are often left behind. USAID continues to look for new partners to contribute to the Women in the Digital Economy Fund and work through the Women in the Digital Economy Initiative.