The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Women’s Leadership Development program, Promote, awarded over 350 Afghan women certificates of accomplishment last week. By gaining these certificates, women are now more likely to be recognized internationally, and they will hopefully have better access to both the public and private sector employment.
The Women’s Leadership Development Program is one component of USAID’s ambitious Promote program, the largest women’s empowerment program in the world. Women undergo training and then aim to hold jobs in the government and in private institutions.
USAID announced Promote in the fall of 2014. Since then, 1,200 women have graduated; however, only 335 of them have been hired, a sign of how gender inequality can lead to a lack of opportunity for women in decision-making positions.
A five-year program, Promote will invest up to $416 million into the education, training, and promotion of Afghan women in civil society, government, and business. The program is geared to Afghan women between the ages of 18 and 30 who have had secondary education, and focuses on four areas: leadership training; increasing representation of women in decision-making roles within the government; women’s inclusion in the workplace, particularly in technology, finance, and administration; and strengthening the capacity of women’s rights groups and networks.
In budget proposals, President Trump has recommended cutting the State Department budget by nearly a third, eliminating funds to certain UN initiatives, and reducing funds to USAID humanitarian and development aid.
Media Resources: USAID 11/9/16; Tolo 7/10/18