Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Good morning. I’d like to thank Secretary Blinken for his remarks, and for his commitment to women and girls around the world. And I’d especially like to thank him and the entire State Department for their work on the crisis in Ukraine.
Administrator Power, Jen – thank you both for your leadership.
I can’t imagine a better way to kick off International Women’s Day at the White House than to be with these incredible women from around the world.
I had the chance to really explore and fall in love with these issues while working for my longtime boss – Congresswoman Nita Lowey – on Capitol Hill.
Part of her legacy is her commitment to educate girls around the world by promoting basic education. And in fact – funding provided for basic education is now named in her honor.
President Biden often says: don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.
Our budget for the next fiscal year is going to show a lot about how the President – and the entire Biden-Harris Administration – values women and girls.
This $2.6 billion request will more than double last year’s budget request for foreign assistance programs focused on gender equality.
Never before has the U.S. government requested this much money for this vital work.
But we are doing it because we know how important it is
to advance the economic security of women and girls…
To get more women involved in conflict prevention, resolution, and recovery…
To prevent and respond to gender-based violence.
And we know that this work doesn’t happen on its own.
It takes resources and commitment.
This is especially true as the world continues to deal with COVID-19 and the devastation it’s brought to communities around the world.
We’ve seen it right here at home — women and girls have been uniquely affected by the past 2 years. The pandemic eroded 30 years of progress in women’s labor force participation. It created a “shadow pandemic” of gender-based violence, as rates increased around the world. And it did what every crisis does. It disproportionately hurt girls, especially girls of color and girls from low-income communities.
Why is why we’re particularly excited that the $200 million we will request for the Gender Equity and Equality Action Fund will advance economic security for women and girls globally. Especially those who have been impacted by COVID-19.
So we have a lot of work to do together going forward.
But gender equality is worth the investment. It’s not just how we lift up women and girls. It’s also how we reduce poverty and promote economic opportunity. It’s how we build stronger, healthier, and more stable societies.
Today’s historic announcement is just the beginning.
My team at the Office of Management and Budget will work to make this budget request a reality.
And we will continue our work with the State Department and USAID so that our teams around the world have what they need to make meaningful change.