Women's Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative

Advancing Women's Economic Empowerment: A Peace Corps pillar since 1961

For over 58 years, the Peace Corps has helped advance women’s economic empowerment as a pillar of development – recognizing that expanding opportunities for women can transform their futures and the futures of their families, communities, and countries.

Since President Kennedy founded the Peace Corps, Volunteers have been working with women counterparts and community leaders to find sustainable, culturally appropriate solutions to help women overcome the multitude of challenges they face in seeking economic opportunity. It’s inscribed in the Peace Corps Act, which established the agency in 1961.

The Peace Corps shall be administered so as to give particular attention to those programs, projects, and activities which tend to integrate women into the national economics of developing countries, thus improving their status and assisting the total development effort.

The Peace Corps Act, 1961, Section 2502(d)

The Peace Corps and W-GDP

The Peace Corps is proud of its long tradition helping women advance economically. In 2018 alone, more than 245,000 women participated in economic empowerment initiatives led by Peace Corps Volunteers in more than 60 countries.

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Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen with Founder and Chairperson of The Budala Women's Group in Malawi, Ella Zande, at the W-GDP Initiative launch in Washington, DC.

Launched by President Trump in February, the White House W-GDP is the first whole-of-government effort to promote global women's economic empowerment through the work of the U.S. Government and in concert with local and national partners around the world. W-GDP seeks to reach 50 million women in developing countries by 2025 and focuses on three pillars:

  1. Women prospering in the workforce
  2. Women succeeding as entrepreneurs, and
  3. Women enabled in the economy

W-GDP prioritizes the Peace Corps' efforts in these areas to dramatically change women's economic empowerment and help meet this ambitious goal by 2025.

Making news

Read Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen's statement on the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity initiative.


Read inspiring stories that highlight the strength, ingenuity, and perseverance of some of the women Peace Corps Volunteers are working with in communities across the globe.

Make a contribution to the W-GDP fund to support Volunteer and community projects.