Peace Corps Director discusses importance of women’s empowerment on International Women’s Day

WASHINGTON – Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen spoke yesterday, March 7, about the Peace Corps’ role in the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity initiative (W-GDP) and the importance of expanding economic opportunities for women worldwide at an event held in recognition of International Women’s Day at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

“With this initiative, we are able to celebrate the enormous number of projects volunteers have that are empowering women to do more to strengthen their communities,” said Director Olsen of W-GDP. “It’s about helping them have a voice and helping them develop their own skills. One of the most important things I think we can give women is a voice to have the power to engage in their communities economically.”

Last night’s event is part of the Smart Women, Smart Power speaker series initiative that brings together women leaders in foreign policy, national security, international business and international development. The discussion was moderated by Nina Easton, a journalist and senior associate at CSIS.

Launched in February by President Donald J. Trump and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, W-GDP is an 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.

The Peace Corps has helped to advance women’s empowerment as a pillar of development for over 58 years – recognizing that expanding opportunities for women transforms their futures and their communities. In 2017, more than 230,000 women participated in economic empowerment initiatives led by Peace Corps volunteers.

As part of the Peace Corps’ commitment to supporting W-GDP, the agency will increase small-grant funding to specific Peace Corps volunteer projects eligible to receive funding from the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP). The new W-GDP fund will go directly to supporting community-initiated, volunteer-led projects in countries around the world.

Click here to read more about how Peace Corps volunteer projects are helping to empower women worldwide. Watch Director Olsen's full remarks at CSIS here.

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About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, the environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today's global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 235,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide.

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