WomenConnect Challenge

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  • WomenConnect Challenge

  • WomenConnect Challenge

  • WomenConnect Challenge

The Gender Digital Divide

Digital technology is revolutionizing the world by providing access to information, finance and networks—all of which are necessary for women to reach their full economic potential and create more self-reliant communities.

Today, 1.7 billion women in low- and middle-income countries still do not own mobile phones. The internet user gender gap is more than 40 percent in some countries. The persistent gender digital divide is reinforcing, and even exacerbating, existing socioeconomic gaps between men and women.

Advancing women’s digital connectivity is key to promoting their empowerment in an increasingly digital world.


Women's Global Development and Prosperity WomenConnect Challenge

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded $2 million in grant funding through the W-GDP WomenConnect Challenge (WCC). This Challenge was launched in support of the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, a whole-of-U.S. Government effort that aims to reach 50 million women in the developing world by 2025.

When women are economically empowered, they invest back into their families and communities, producing a multiplier effect that spurs growth and stability. The W-GDP WomenConnect Challenge seeks to bridge the gender digital divide so that women can fully participate in the global economy.

USAID selected three organizations that will advance women’s digital connectivity while supporting the three W-GDP Pillars:

  • Pillar 1: Women Prospering in the Workforce. Dimagi Inc., in partnership with Women for Women International (WfWI) and IDEO.org, will create “Coach Carene,” a chatbot that will provide vocational and financial literacy training and resources for women in Rwanda.
  • Pillar 2: Women Succeeding as Entrepreneurs. United Purpose, in collaboration with women community collectives in Senegal, will develop Tekki Jigeen, a digital program that provides rural women with entrepreneurial training, resources, and banking services to help them overcome barriers they face in agricultural value chains.
  • Pillar 3: Women Enabled in the Economy. Solidaridad will link women dairy farmers in Bangladesh to formal supply chains. In this project, women across five districts will have the opportunity to enroll in a mobile money program that includes financial literacy trainings, resources to improve joint decision making in the family, as well as access to modern dairy practices.

Ivanka Trump, Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick, and WGDP Grantees

Proven Impact

The WomenConnect Challenge was first launched by Advisor Ivanka Trump and USAID Administrator Mark Green on International Women’s Day in 2018. Since then, USAID awarded nine grantees that are working to address barriers limiting women’s access to technology and to connect nearly 1 million women in 12 countries.

We have seen how providing women with access to digital technology has effects far beyond a single individual. Women multiply the impact by reinvesting back into their families and communities. Advancing women’s digital connectivity therefore not only ensures their economic empowerment, but also builds global prosperity and peace.

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Last updated: April 09, 2020

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