Ivanka Trump unveils White House global women initiative

Ivanka Trump is unveiling an effort aimed at women's global economic empowerment

WASHINGTON -- Ivanka Trump is unveiling an effort aimed at helping 50 million women in the developing world get ahead economically over the next six years.

Ivanka Trump, who will attend the Munich Security Conference next week to promote the project, stressed that she sees this as a national security priority. "We think women are arguably the most under-tapped resource in the developing world for accelerating economic growth and prosperity," she told The Associated Press.

The effort will draw on public and private resources, with the U.S. Agency for International Development initially setting up a $50 million fund, using already-budgeted dollars. As part of the launch, USAID and Pepsi Co. will announce a partnership aimed at women in India, and USAID and UPS will sign an agreement designed to help female entrepreneurs export goods.

Trump has twice tried unsuccessfully to slash USAID's budget by a third, and his "America first" foreign policy has sought to limit the United States' role as an international leader. But his daughter said this effort was in keeping with administration goals, arguing it was a strategic investment that promoted security.

"We're proud of our legacy of being a generous nation, looking to uplift others around the world. But we want to do so in a fiscally responsible way," she said, promising "rigorous" efforts to track progress. Among those she has consulted for the project is former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

The initiative builds on previous White House efforts to help women internationally. The Obama administration established an Office of Global Women's Issues at the State Department and established an ambassador-at-large for global women's Issues. That position has been vacant since Trump took office — drawing criticism from some advocates — but the White House said it now has a candidate lined up for the job.

Ivanka Trump said her hope is that this effort has staying power beyond the current administration. Past global initiatives she has studied include the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, started under President George W. Bush in 2003.

"This is not an initiative that we think should stop at the culmination of the administration," she said. "We think it's something that should sustain itself over time, and we're going to work really hard to show that this is a great use of foreign development assistance."