WHITE HOUSE Fact Sheet: U.S.-African Cooperation in Advancing Gender Equality
“…[W]e support societies that empower women — because no country will reach its potential unless it draws on the talents of our wives and our mothers, and our sisters and our daughters… You can measure how well a country does by how it treats its women.” – President Obama, Cape Town, South Africa, June 30, 2013
In this fourth year of what the African Union (AU) has called the “African Women’s Decade,” the United States strongly supports the great strides and commitments many African countries and the African Union have made to increase women’s and girls’ empowerment through steps to promote good governance and rule of law, accelerate economic growth and enhance food security, advance respect for human rights, and improve access to services – from health care to education. Long-term development will only be possible when women and men enjoy equal opportunity to rise to their full potential.
As announced earlier today, the United States is committing new assistance to advance gender equality in Africa through:
- Support for up to three countries to develop or implement national strategies to advance women’s participation in peacebuilding and their protection from violence.
- New programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Mali, Rwanda, Somalia, and Uganda, as well as across West Africa, focused on increasing women’s participation in peacebuilding and constitution drafting processes, advancing women’s land rights, and mitigating election-related violence.
- Three new centers that will provide business development assistance to women entrepreneurs in East, Southern, and West Africa, through the Department of State’s African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) and the Women’s Entrepreneurial Centers of Resources, Education, Access, and Training for Economic Empowerment (WECREATE) project.
- Technical support to strengthen AU Commission and national-level efforts to address barriers to the equal participation of women in the agricultural sector.
- Support through wPOWER, working with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, for grants to organizations that promote the role of women entrepreneurs in selling clean technologies, as well as support for scaling up programs that educate adolescent girls on clean energy technologies.
- Increased assistance to the Inter-Parliamentary Union to build the capacity of African parliaments working to advance gender equality and to support parliamentary campaigns on specific gender equality issues.
More broadly, the FY 2015 budget request seeks more than $190 million to directly advance gender equality across Sub-Saharan and North African countries, which includes activities to promote political and economic opportunities for women, access to health and education services, and efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. We further leverage broader development investments to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment across Africa.