When women are economically empowered, they re-invest in their families and communities, producing a multiplier effect that spurs economic growth and contributes to global peace and stability. In February 2019, President Trump, established the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, the first whole-of-government effort to advance global women’s economic empowerment.

W-GDP seeks to reach 50 million women in the developing world by 2025 through U.S. government activities, private-public partnerships, and a new, innovative fund.

In July 2019, W-GDP announced the first round of incentive funding—14 new projects with more than 200 public- and private-sector partners across 22 countries! These partnerships, which include representatives from bilateral and multilateral donors, non-government organizations, universities, foreign governments, and the private sector, will enable W-GDP to reach more than 100,000 women over the coming years in support of its three pillars. Learn more. 

Continue reading: 1 - Women Prospering in the Workforce
Continue reading: 2 - Women Succeeding as Entrepreneurs

Women Enabled in the Economy

Remove Restrictive Legal, Regulatory, and Cultural Barriers

The Goal

Promote an enabling environment that increases women’s economic empowerment by reducing barriers and enhancing protections in policies, laws, regulations and practices (public and private) to facilitate women’s participation in the economy.

The Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative’s Third Pillar addresses the legal and regulatory barriers, employer practices, and social and cultural norms that preclude women’s economic empowerment in developing countries. Examining legal barriers specifically, W-GDP is focusing its efforts on five foundational factors that include women’s ability to access institutions, build credit, manage property, travel freely, and work in the same sectors and jobs as men.

Accessing Institutions:  Reduce restrictions on women’s authority to sign legal documents such as contracts and court documents.  Address unequal access to courts and administrative bodies for women, whether officially or though lack of proper enforcement.

  • 1 in 2 women in low-income countries do not have official personal identification cards as proof of legal identity, thereby limiting their access to critical services and participation in political and economic life.
  • 15% of all countries do not allow women to legally be “head of household” or “head of family” in the same way as men, 55% of these countries are located in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Building Credit:  Ensure women’s equal access to credit and capital to start and grow their businesses.  Prohibit discrimination in accessing credit by sex or marital status.

  • In 61% of countries, women cannot run a business in the same way as men.
  • 81% of countries do not prohibit discrimination by creditors on the basis of marital status.
  • 63% of countries do not prohibit discrimination by creditors on the basis of sex or gender.
  • In 5 Sub-Saharan countries, women are unable to legally open a bank account in the same way as men.

Owning and Managing Property:  Lift restrictions for women on owning and managing property, including limitations on inheritance and the ability to transfer, purchase, or lease property.

  • 40% of countries have at least one constraint on women’s property rights.
  • 41 countries do not let sons and daughters have equal rights to inherit assets from their parents, 18 of which are located in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • 36 countries grant widows fewer inheritance rights than widowers, 16 in the Middle East and North Africa and 13 in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Traveling Freely:  Address constraints on women’s freedom of movement, including restrictions on obtaining passports.

  • 37 countries do not allow women to apply for a passport in the same way as men.
  • 31 countries restrict women from choosing where to live in the same way as men.
  • 17 countries restrict women from traveling without permission.

Removing Restrictions on Employment:  Remove restrictions that limit women’s working hours, occupations, or tasks.

  • 104 countries (56%) restrict women’s employment in specific jobs, which limits the career choices of more than 2.7 billion women globally.
  • 28 countries do not allow women to work the same night hours as men, 10 of them located in the Middle East and North Africa.


In April 2019, Ivanka Trump visited Côte d’Ivoire and pushed for critical reforms to advance women’s legal rights. In July 2019, legislation passed in Ivory Coast to support women. “We are pleased to recognize and applaud the Ivorian government’s recent passage of the marriage law, which supports women’s equal management of household assets,” said Ms. Trump.


WGDP at the White House


Accelerating women’s economic empowerment around the world is integral to enabling developing countries to achieve economic self-reliance.

Read the Presidential Memorandum on Promoting Women’s Global Development and Prosperity 

Societies that empower women to participate fully in civic and economic life are more prosperous and peaceful.

President Trump’s National Security Strategy


The Trump Administration is excited to announce new and expanded programs and partnerships as part of the W-GDP initiative.

Learn more

“As the Trump administration launches W-GDP, we ask leaders everywhere to join us as we work toward a future in which women in every society can achieve their full potential and foster greater freedom, peace and prosperity around the world.”

More from Ivanka Trump on Empowering Women to Foster Freedom

Continue reading: 4 - Partners