Washington DC, 24 December 2022 (TDI): The United States (US) Senate has passed a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package for the fiscal year 2023. Pakistan received $200 million for advancing democracy and promoting gender equality.

The $1.7 trillion omnibus bill includes $45 billion in Ukraine aid and election law revisions aimed at preventing a recurrence of last year’s assault on the Capitol.

It also includes $858 billion for defense, $787 billion for domestic non-defense programs, and more than $15 billion for other programs.

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“This is an essential piece of law. It will keep our government running and our people served. It will also demonstrate that the government of the United States of America functions.” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer stated ahead of the vote.

Notably, an omnibus bill is a single document that combines numerous measures into one and is the final piece of legislation to be passed this year. It will support the US federal government through September 2023.

Gender Equality Fund for Pakistan

US Congressman Dan Bishop tweeted about the bill. He said “My staff and I am looking through the omnibus bill today. It is $1.7 trillion and is 4,155 pages long.”

In one of the tweets in the long thread, he mentioned, “Gender programs in Pakistan and a $200 million for a Gender Equity Fund.”

The amount allocated to Pakistan for fiscal 2023 is 20 times greater than that allocated in 2020. However, the authorization of funding for advancing gender equality programs forbids the use of any of the $200 million for abortions.

The US Congress approved $10 million to address gender disparities & $15 million to improve democracy in Pakistan in December 2020. Pakistan received $25 million for the same reason in 2000.

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It is pertinent to note that Pakistan was rated 145th out of 146 countries in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2022. Afghanistan ranked 146th, whereas India ranked 135th.

Bangladesh and Nepal lead the area in gender equality, with over 69% of gender gaps bridged. Bangladesh came in at number 71, while Nepal came in at number 96.