Photo: William Moon

An on-the-record statement by Ivanka Trump today highlights a new women’s economic empowerment initiative to be announced at the Summit of the Americas in Peru.

The statement detailed Ivanka’s plans at the Summit, which includes a panel with OPIC CEO Ray Washburne, a visit to the Lima Stock Exchange to meet with female economic leaders, and a trip to the headquarters of Ecolina, a Peruvian woman-owned business specializing in organic products.

Senior Administrative Officials in a follow-up background briefing stressed that the statement and briefing were to provide context for the “substantial announcement” that is to come in Lima, Peru, and stress the urgency of female economic empowerment as a part of the Trump administration’s national security initiatives.

Ivanka went on to provide a few facts about female economic empowerment—first, that it led to “economic growth, peace, and stability”. She stated that women habitually reinvest 90% of their earnings back into their own families and communities, making female-focused economic directives uniquely beneficial due to their increased multiplier effect.

Ivanka then homed in on the importance of such an initiative in Latin America. Latin America, she stated, was making leaps and bounds in increasing female labor-force participation rates, from only 44% in 1990 to 54% present-day. However, the rate of female business formation, which typically goes hand in hand with female labor-force participation rates, was at 12%. Female business owners in Latin America, according to Ivanka, mentioned unique barriers to getting capital and credit as an obstacle for them. In fact, Ivanka suggests that women are at a 3-billion-dollar credit shortfall compared to male counterparts worldwide, with the largest credit deficit in Latin America.

Ivanka’s statement then referred to the various initiatives that the Trump administration has already enacted with regards to female economic empowerment. She first mentioned the Women Entrepreneur Finance Initiative (WeFi), a partnership between the United States and the World Bank announced at the G20 Summit to provide mentorship and capital to businesswomen. Then, the Canada United States Council for Advancement, and finally, the WomenConnect Challenge. The new initiative to be announced during the Summit of the Americas is in collaboration with Peru and is expected to be on the tier of these previous initiatives to “operationalize” the expansion of empowering women and youth as a tenet of national security strategy.

Senior Administration Officials were questioned regarding Trump’s decision to cancel his Colombia visit and whether it would conflict with this new initiative’s attempt to present strong connections between the United States and Latin America. The Officials mentioned that there would be a high level conference proceeding the summit to promote trade relations between Latin America and the United States. Ivanka Trump, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, USAID administrator and co-founder of WomenConnect Mark Green, OPIC CEO Ray Washburne, Deputy Secretary of State Sullivan, and Secretary of Commerce Ross will be leaving DC today to attend this conference. Later, they will be joined by Vice President Mike Pence and other executive officials, including Jared Kushner. Senior Administration Officials stressed that the arsenal of high-level representation at the summit would sufficiently make up for President Trump’s absence in Colombia, to restate the dedication the United States has to US-Latin American relations.

The Officials mentioned that there would be a high-level conference proceeding the summit to promote trade relations between Latin America and the United States. Ivanka Trump, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, USAID administrator and co-founder of WomenConnect Mark Green, OPIC CEO Ray Washburne, Deputy Secretary of State Sullivan, and Secretary of Commerce Ross will be leaving DC today to attend this conference. Later, they will be joined by Vice President Mike Pence and other executive officials, including Jared Kushner. Senior Administration Officials stressed that the arsenal of high-level representation at the summit would sufficiently make up for President Trump’s absence in Colombia, to restate the dedication the United States has to US-Latin American relations.

The background briefing was finished with a statement from a Senior Administrative Official admitting that these Summits, although important for rhetorical relations and building diplomacy, usually produced very little tangible legislation and change. This initiative, according to Senior Administrative Officials, will seek to offer tangibility alongside rhetorical engagement.

Grace Jin

Grace Jin is a student at Yale University. She’s a multi-time national champion in debate and is passionate about intersectional politics from the perspective of Generation Z.