CHANGE Reacts to USAID’S Proposed Anti-Gender Policy


CONTACT: Madison Donzis | [email protected] 

Global Health Experts React to USAID’s Proposed Anti-Gender Policy

Last week, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) released a draft of its revised 2020 Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy, a document that governs all of USAID’s programming and guides how the Agency plans to advance gender equality throughout its work across the world. The draft undermines the rights of people around the world and includes a number of attacks on human rights and science.

Serra Sippel, President of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), a leading global health advocacy organization, issued the following in response:

“USAID’s proposed anti-gender policy is out of step with the global community in its failure to recognize that sexual and reproductive health and rights are key to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. Furthermore, the use of ‘unalienable rights’ language and the removal of gender identity and sexual orientation is part of a concerted effort by the Trump administration to restrict access to reproductive health care and basic human rights for women, girls, and LGBTQIA+ communities.

“It is an outrage that a gender policy would leave out transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people who also experience gender-based violence and need access to a range of sexual and reproductive health services. Without human rights and bodily autonomy for all there is no gender equality.

“This is plainly and simply a fake gender policy.  It tells the world that USAID will not align its policies and programs with internationally-recognized goals and commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment. This is the difference between a survivor of gender-based violence getting critical health services or not. This is the difference between an LGBTQI+ individual getting critical health screenings or not. Sexual and reproductive health and rights matter, and people all over the world cannot afford for the Trump administration to use anti-gender policies to peddle their dangerous, radical agenda to attack gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. 

“This proposed policy will cost lives. Sexual and reproductive health and rights are human rights. The US needs to uphold them at every level for everyone. Period.”

In November 2019, CHANGE (the Center for Health and Gender Equity) rolled out its 2018 Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights Index grades. The SRHR Index grades the White House and Congress, as well as USAID, Department of State, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Defense. 

It assesses actors’ policies, investments, and actions across three domains of sexual and reproductive health and rights—family planning (FP), maternal and child health (MCH), and HIV and AIDS—for their gender-responsiveness, responsiveness to need, basis in evidence, and consistency with internationally recognized human rights principles. 

In the 2018 grades, the Index saw a massive drop in USAID’s score, declining from an A- (91.5) to a C (76). 


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