WAND urges increased investments and commitments to global gender equality funding.
The United States currently ranks 3rd from last among our allies in our commitment to gender equality. COVID-19 has dramatically highlighted and exacerbated gender inequality around the world, including in the United States. The World Economic Forum estimates that it will take more than 135 years to close the gender gap at current rates. Something must be done to close this gap as soon as possible.
We join other organizations in urging the Senate and House Appropriations Committees to urge increase such investments in gender equality by fully funding the President’s request of $2.6 billion for the effective integration of gender equality into U.S. foreign assistance and the advancement of women’s and girls’ rights globally.
We, the undersigned organizations, are writing to urge you to increase investments and commitments to global gender equality in the FY2023 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations bill and Committee report. U.S. leadership in advancing gender equality furthermore requires maintaining robust funding for the International Affairs Budget (function 150). Proposed investments in gender equality should not come at the expense of poverty-focused development, global health, and humanitarian assistance.
Over the past 18 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already wide gap in gender equality and equity around the world. It is similarly clear that, unless the United States dedicates significant resources to closing those gaps, decades of incremental progress for women and girls globally will be lost. A lack of investment in gender equality has the potential to undermine national security, economic, development and health goals; hinder the effectiveness of foreign operations funding; and minimize the human rights of over half the world. The World Bank estimates that women only have three-quarters of the economic rights as men, the World Economic Forum estimates it will take over 135 years to close the gender gap, and research shows that these inequalities hurt peace processes, undermine food security, and stunt economic growth.
The United States needs to increase its commitment to gender equality to accelerate inclusive development gains and create more effective foreign policy. This means working to catch up to allies in our commitment to gender equality, where the U.S. currently ranks 3rd from last.
As such, we respectfully urge you to increase such investments and focus by fully funding the President’s request of $2.6 billion for the effective integration of gender equality into U.S. foreign assistance and the advancement of women’s and girls’ rights globally. This should include an increased investment in staffing and training on gender integration, which is critical to ensuring that foreign policy writ large is fit for purpose to most effectively spend U.S. taxpayer dollars for long-term global security and development.
Additionally, funding should support the implementation of the National Gender Equity and Equality Strategy, and specific gender sectoral issues – topline figures are highlighted below with specific requests, language, and justifications in the annex.
We understand you face difficult budget choices and there are many priorities you must consider, but our nation must be a leader in providing these essential resources. We look forward to working with you to secure the funding necessary to advance gender equality, which will not only support millions of women and girls, but will in turn promote sustainable development, strengthen national security, and reduce poverty around the world.