Both the right and left have criticized Ivanka Trump in her role as Senior White House Advisor, but that has not deterred the first daughter from pursuing the policy objectives she finds the most important, specifically providing an economic boost to women across the world.
The Trump White House recently launched Ivanka Trump’s brainchild, the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) initiative. This initiative coordinates the State Department, the National Security Council, and US AID efforts to help cultivate better economic circumstances for women across the developing and third world. Of the $50 million invested, $27 provides grants directly for 14 projects in 22 different countries.
The goal of the W-GDP is to help 50 million women improve their economic conditions by 2025. The flagship projects include equipping 1,400 women to enter the fast-growing energy center in Rwanda, training 8,700 Latin-American women for jobs in tech across the region, and supporting 5,000 women working in Indonesia’s poultry industry.
Highlighting the W-GDP, James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation pointed out that,
“good programs offer a hand up, not a handout. They aren’t there to enrich bureaucrats and nongovernmental organizations. They are a catalyst for growth, not global welfare… Good programs target meaningful and cost-effective measures that serve the common interests of the U.S. and the host nation.”
Carafano is precisely correct and free-market based reforms, not mere alms, accomplish this growth. According to the Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of Economic Freedom, liberalized economies not only have higher levels of entrepreneurial dynamism, higher standards of living, larger economies, lower rates of poverty, and safer environmental standards, but also more democratic governance, more social progress, and more gender equality. Some are skeptical that the invisible hand can provide the resources necessary that enable people of all ages to better their stations on their own terms, especially women, even when prospects of advancement are grim in politically and economically repressive countries.
That the market can provide is historically demonstrable, though. In the past few decades, free-market capitalism has helped decrease extreme global poverty by 80%, increased income for lower- and middle-income brackets by 40%, decreased mortality rates for children under five by 49%, and has made the world 120 times better off today than it was in 1800.
By implementing smarter, more specialized programs for US economic diplomacy—like the W-GDP—America can help women become agents of change in their home countries that not only advance US interests but foster true economic development. Promoting economic freedom in developing or repressed countries is a crucial pillar of an “America First” agenda that will advance US interests, cement free-market principles, and defend democratic values.
Thank you to Anthony Kim for his contributions to this piece.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.