Strengthening USAID's Gender Programming and Organizational Structure

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, April 26, 2011
USAID Press Office

Washington, DC – Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), released the following statement on the establishment of USAID's new Office of Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment.

“Strengthening human rights and fueling sustainable economic growth in developing countries both depend on empowering women and working toward gender equality. Eliminating hunger, mitigating the effects of global climate change, and drastically reducing maternal mortality relies on bolstering the role women play in their societies. Secretary Clinton and I are both strongly committed to building the vision of gender equality and female empowerment laid out in the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. At USAID, we've taken important steps to address gender issues. President Obama's Feed the Future and the Global Health Initiatives both reflect a dedication to increasingly include women and girls as leaders, implementers and beneficiaries of our programs. We've also increased the number of missions carrying out assessments that incorporate gender into country planning and programming. And last month, I established a Policy Task Team to craft a new policy on gender equality and women's empowerment—our first in nearly 30 years.

To implement these objectives, we are transforming Economic Growth, Agriculture, and Trade's (EGAT) Women in Development Office into a new Office of Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, focused on building partnerships that can deliver results. This office will also give greater support to female entrepreneurship, scale up initiatives designed to enhance women's ownership of key assets like land and housing and work to reduce gender gaps in access to new technology and infrastructure. Recognizing that conflict affected environments pose a disproportionate challenge for women and girls, the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) will now be directly responsible for USAID's efforts at combatting sexual and gender-based violence and trafficking in persons. Two EGAT specialists will be transferred to DCHA to help support these efforts.

I've asked the Deputy Administrator to ensure that gender issues remain at the forefront of our programming and policy. To aid him in that effort, today we are welcoming Carla Koppell as our new Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment.

Carla will accelerate our efforts to integrate gender equality as cross-cutting throughout the agency. She will provide our leadership with expert advice and guidance, having most recently served as director of the Institute for Inclusive Security and the Washington office of the Hunt Alternatives Fund. Carla has worked extensively with women and civil society leaders from conflict areas around the world including Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, the Middle East, and Sudan. And she is also quite familiar with USAID, having previously served at the Agency from 1997-1999 as Special Assistant to the Administrator and Director of our climate change program.

Carla joins a growing number of gender experts, including Dr. Caren Grown whom we welcomed as our Senior Gender Advisor in PPL earlier this year. Caren is currently leading a new Policy Task Team established to craft the new gender equality policy.

Taken together, these steps will reaffirm our commitment to gender equality and help harness the power, creativity, and energy of women and girls to deliver meaningful results for the developing world.”

Last updated: January 28, 2015

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