USAID Announces Shift In Gender Programming, Organizational Structure

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah this week announced the agency has transformed its Economic Growth, Agriculture, and Trade (EGAT) Women in Development Office into a new Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, Devex reports (Leonzon, 4/27).

According to a USAID statement, the office will focus on “building partnerships that can deliver results,” as well as “support to female entrepreneurship, scale up initiatives designed to enhance women’s ownership of key assets like land and housing and work to reduce gender gaps in access to new technology and infrastructure.” As part of the agency’s efforts to keep gender issues “at the forefront of … programming and policy,” Shah also announced that Carla Koppell will serve as USAID’s new senior coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (4/26). Koppell most recently served as director of the Institute for Inclusive Security and the Washington office of the Hunt Alternatives Fund, according to Devex (4/27).

“Strengthening human rights and fueling sustainable economic growth in developing countries both depend on empowering women and working toward gender equality. Eliminating hunger, mitigating the effects of global climate change, and drastically reducing maternal mortality relies on bolstering the role women play in their societies,” Shah said, adding, “Taken together, these steps will reaffirm our commitment to gender equality and help harness the power, creativity, and energy of women and girls to deliver meaningful results for the developing world” (4/26).