GRW Signs Joint Gender Community Statement on U.S. Foreign Assistance


Global Rights for Women (GRW), along with more than 100 organizations in the gender community, calls on Congress to support a robust U.S. foreign assistance budget. Each year when Congress budgets and appropriates federal spending to provide for our common prosperity and security, it makes important decisions about American values and reflects those values to the nation and the world. Typically, this includes investing in the long-held and cherished American tradition of supporting vulnerable people at home and abroad, including the most marginalized, with the critical assistance they need to build healthy, self-sufficient lives. Increasingly, the U.S. has shown bold leadership supporting women and girls to achieve their full potential, including those that make up 70 percent of the 1.3 billion people worldwide living in extreme poverty.

By spending less than one percent of the budget, our foreign assistance dollars provide lifesaving assistance and transform lives and economies for the better across the globe. It is worth the penny on the dollar to support women entrepreneurs, business owners, and small shareholder farmers to become more self-reliant because doing so helps them lift themselves and their communities out of poverty. Including women in humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts not only brings their perspectives to the table, but also makes America’s noteworthy assistance in conflict and emergency settings more efficient and impactful. Preventing violence against women – which affects an estimated 35 percent of women worldwide – helps women be more secure, productive members of their societies and builds lasting peace both abroad and for Americans here at home. Foreign assistance is such a small sum, yet it means the difference between life or death for millions of women and girls globally.

“Preventing violence against women – which affects an estimated 35 percent of women worldwide – helps women be more secure, productive members of their societies and builds lasting peace both abroad and for Americans here at home.”

For decades, foreign assistance has reflected and advanced American values globally. This strong bipartisan effort has helped people escape the cycle of poverty and oppression so they can lead secure and productive lives. Investments in women and girls bring high returns for economic growth, well-being, and democratic governance, which maximize the benefits gained from the investment of United States’ taxpayer dollars. In fact, research has shown that gender inequality is bad for economic growth. If women were able to participate in the economy equally, it would yield a 26 percent increase in global GDP, or $28 trillion in 2025. As history has shown, foreign assistance also helps America develop strong trade, political and military partners – for instance, 11 of America’s top 15 trading partners were once recipients of U.S. foreign aid.

In this work, the U.S. has been a model and beacon of hope to women and girls who survive violence, poverty, health threats and various forms of discrimination. Through the years, both Republican and Democratic administrations have invested in girls’ education, women’s health, economic opportunity, political participation, human rights, education and much more. For example, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) started under the leadership of President George W. Bush has now reached tens of millions of people through life-saving medications and one million adolescent girls via critical HIV prevention interventions. These initiatives have become core to our foreign policy, our response to humanitarian emergencies, and our efforts to fight poverty around the world. We have already seen that investments in women and girls makes U.S. aid more effective. Cuts to any part of the foreign assistance budget will necessarily mean cuts to critical programs for women and girls, and for many such cuts could be life-threatening.

The U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) – including through the leadership of an Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues at State and a Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment at USAID–have been strong partners in advancing the bipartisan goal of empowering women and girls. Increasingly, agencies like MCC, Peace Corps, Labor and Agriculture, have also joined in this effort. Together, their efforts have made the United States a global powerhouse in leading the advancement of women and girls worldwide. Yet this work could be lost if it is not prioritized with appropriations and political commitment.

This appropriations cycle, GRW, along with the following signatories, calls on Congress to remember the millions of women and girls who are counting on them to continue the proud, bipartisan and noble tradition of American goodwill and global leadership, leadership that they too often fail to see in their own countries. Congress must maintain funding for the international affairs budget at robust levels, including international development and humanitarian assistance, to provide lifesaving and impactful support for girls and women globally.

List of signatory organizations

  1. 1,000 Days
  2. Advancing Girls’ Education in Africa (AGE Africa)
  3. Advocates for Youth
  4. AFL-CIO
  5. Alliance for Peacebuilding
  6. American Association of University Women (AAUW)
  7. American Jewish World Service
  8. American Medical Student Association
  9. American University Washington College of Law
  10. Amnesty International USA
  11. AVAC
  12. Baha’is of the United States
  13. Breakthrough
  14. CARE USA
  15. Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
  16. Center for Inquiry
  17. Center for Reproductive Rights
  18. ChildFund International
  19. ChildVoice International
  20. Chino Cienega Foundation
  21. CORE Group
  22. Council for Global Equality
  23. Double Hope Films
  24. EngenderHealth
  25. Equality Now
  26. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  27. Feminist Majority Foundation
  28. Free the Slaves
  29. Friends of UNFPA
  30. Futures Without Violence
  31. Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Sciences
  32. Girl Determined
  33. Girl Rising
  34. Girl Up
  35. GirlForward
  36. Girls Rights Project
  37. Global Fund for Women
  38. Global Network of Black People working in HIV
  39. Global Progressive Hub
  40. Global Rights for Women
  41. GreeneWorks
  42. Handicap International
  43. Health GAP (Global Access Project)
  44. Heartland Alliance International
  45. Heifer International
  46. Human Rights Campaign
  47. Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University
  48. International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
  49. International Civil Society Action Network
  50. International HIV/AIDS Alliance
  51. International Justice Mission (IJM)
  52. International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
  53. International Rescue Committee
  54. International Women’s Health Coalition
  55. International Youth Alliance for Family Planning
  56. International Youth Foundation
  57. IntraHealth International
  58. IPAS
  59. IPPF/WHR
  60. IREX
  61. Islamic Relief USA
  62. John Snow, Inc. (JSI)
  63. Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
  64. Jubitz Family Foundation
  65. Management Sciences for Health
  66. Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
  67. Mercy Corps
  68. Mercy-USA for Aid and Development
  69. National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
  70. National Association of Social Workers
  71. PAI
  72. Pastoralist Child Foundation
  73. PATH
  74. Pathfinder
  75. Peace is Loud
  76. Peace X Peace
  77. Peaceful Families Project
  78. Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon
  79. Plan International USA
  80. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA)
  81. Polaris
  82. Population Connection
  83. Population Council
  84. Population Institute
  85. Population Media Center
  86. Population Reference Bureau (PRB)
  87. Promundo-US
  88. Protect the People (PTP)
  89. Refugees International
  90. Saferworld
  91. Sahiyo
  92. Save the Children
  93. Shadhika Project, Inc.
  94. Sierra Club
  95. Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces
  96. Smash Strategies
  97. Solidarity Center
  98. Tahirih Justice Center
  99. The Global Fund for Children
  100. The Hunger Project
  101. The United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
  102. The WomanStats Project
  103. Too Young to Wed
  104. S. National Committee for UN Women
  105. UN Association of the USA
  106. Unchained at Last
  107. USA-Mali Charitable Association of NYC
  108. Vital Voices Global Partnership
  109. Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA)
  110. Weill Cornell School of Medicine
  111. Winrock International
  112. Women Deliver
  113. Women Enabled International
  114. Women for Women International
  115. Women Graduates USA
  116. Women of Reform Judaism
  117. Women Thrive Alliance
  118. Women’s Action for New Directions
  119. Women’s Global Education Project
  120. Women’s Refugee Commission
  121. World Education, Inc.
  122. World Hope International
  123. ZanaAfrica Foundation