USAID and Gender Equality

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USAID was established to help implement the Marshall Plan's reconstruction of Europe after World War Two and the
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Truman Administration's Point Four Program. In 1961, the Foreign Assistance Act was signed into law and USAID was created by executive order. Since that time, USAID has been the principal U.S. agency to extend assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms. USAID is an independent federal government agency that receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State.

Programmes and regions

USAID's work supports long-term and equitable economic growth and advances U.S. foreign policy objectives by supporting:

  • economic growth, agriculture and trade;
  • global health; and,
  • democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance.

They provide assistance in five regions of the world:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa;
  • Asia;
  • Latin America and the Caribbean,
  • Europe and Eurasia; and
  • The Middle East.

USAID and gender

The role of the Women in Development (WID) Office is to maintain and increase USAID's institutional capacity to address gender-related issues and to find new approaches and solutions for gender-related obstacles to development. USAID's commitment to the full inclusion of women dates back to 1973, when the United States Congress passed the "Percy Amendment", requiring that particular attention be given to integrating women into national economies to improve their status and to assist the overall development effort. The WID Office focuses on several broad issues:

  • Gender Integration
  • Economic Growth
  • Education
  • Legal Rights
  • Trafficking in Persons

Education for girls

USAID places major emphasis on female access to basic education. USAID emphasizes educational equity for girls and women as a strategy for achieving educational equality for all. The Office of Women in Development's approach to gender equality in education includes:

  • Testing innovative pilot programs to reduce school-related gender-based violence;
  • Developing practical tools for USAID staff and implementing partners to design, implement and evaluate education programs that address equitable access and quality with a gender perspective; and
  • Bringing attention to the norms and behaviors that perpetuate inequalities in schools and the effect gender dynamics have on educational success or failure for both girls and boys.


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