Launch of the U.S.-India Alliance for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Partnership with USISPF

Washington, D.C. –  Today, at the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) 4th Annual Leadership Summit, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power announced the U.S.-India Alliance for Women’s Economic Empowerment (Alliance).  The Alliance, a public-private partnership between the State Department, USAID, USISPF, and George Washington University, will help women-owned micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India gain better access to finance, technical skills, networking opportunities, and other tools to grow their businesses.

Mukesh Aghi, President and CEO of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, opened the session and commended the launch of the Alliance, saying, “We are thrilled to be a part of this important initiative to create more economic opportunity for women in India. We look forward to working with our member companies to boost entrepreneurship and job opportunities that will enhance economic prosperity and inclusion in India.”

In a conversation with Richard Verma, Executive Vice President for Global Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs at Mastercard, USAID Administrator Power noted that the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted marginalized populations. She highlighted the difficulties women have accessing financial services to increased pressures balancing unpaid care and domestic work while working, and increased underemployment and business closures.  This Alliance, supported by the U.S. Government, will create opportunities for women workers and women-owned/women-led Micro Small and Medium Enterprises in India to recover and thrive economically.  Both U.S. and Indian businesses, civil society, academia, and government will work together to accelerate women’s economic advancement, which is now more than ever crucial to boosting economic growth amidst the ongoing pandemic.

Administrator Power also announced the Alliance’s first two initiatives: Women@Work and the India Million Women Mentors Initiative.  Led by Alliance member Samhita-CGF, Women@Work will develop a coalition of businesses, philanthropic organizations, and other stakeholders to address the needs of marginalized women economically impacted by the pandemic. Women@Work   fosters access to finance and business digitization; accelerates women’s empowerment through supplier diversity; helps grow the care economy; and assists in the transition of women business owners in the informal economy to become formally registered. Aspects of Women@Work are supported by the USAID-funded platform REVIVE Alliance.

Led by Alliance member Pod, the India Million Women Mentors Initiative aims to connect one million women and girls in India with mentors over the next five years.

About the U.S.-India Alliance for Women’s Economic Empowerment

The U.S.-India Alliance for Women’s Economic Empowerment is a partnership between the State Department, USAID, USISPF, and George Washington University designed to catalyze transformational commitments to foster women’s economic advancement and inclusion in India. We focus on three areas of action: accelerating women’s entrepreneurship, fostering leadership in the workforce and providing access to career enhancing education and skills building opportunities.  The Alliance works with cooperating members in the private sector, civil society and academia to advance its mission.

About the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum:

The U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) is committed to creating the most powerful partnership between the United States and India. As the only independent not-for-profit institution dedicated to strengthening the U.S.-India partnership in Washington, D.C. and in New Delhi. USISPF is the trusted partner for businesses, non-profit organizations, the diaspora, and the governments of India and the United States.


Nina Anand