The lengthy coronavirus relief bill lawmakers agreed upon over the weekend – and are hoping to approve this week – includes a number of lesser-known provisions that have raised some eyebrows.
Among them are a pair of assistance programs in Pakistan, whereby $15 million will be put toward “democracy programs” and $10 million will be distributed to “gender programs.”
Some Twitter users were frustrated about the intent to distribute funds for such purposes in the midst of a pandemic where many American households are struggling to make ends meet.
While it is not made explicitly clear what is meant by “gender programs” in the legislation, gender equality is a central component to development in the country, according to the United Nations Population Fund.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) website also states that it works with Pakistan to improve women’s access to economic opportunities, increase girls’ access to education, improve maternal and child health, combat gender-based violence, and increase women’s political and civic participation in Pakistan.
Pakistan ranks the second lowest country in the world for gender equality.
The relief legislation was attached to a broader omnibus spending bill lawmakers were looking to approve to avert a government shutdown.