Highlighting that empowering women and girls as a cornerstone of US foreign policy, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today said subjugation of women is a threat to the common security of the world and to the national security of United States.
In her remarks at the TEDWomen Conference in Washington DC, Secretary Clinton says empowering women is important because women’s equality is not just a moral issue, it’s not just a humanitarian issue, it is not just a fairness issue; it is a security issue.
“It is a prosperity issue and it is a peace issue. And therefore, when I talk about why we need to integrate women’s issues into discussions at the highest levels everywhere in the world, I’m not doing it just because I have a personal commitment, or not just because President Obama cares about it; I’m doing it because it’s in the vital interest of the United States of America.” – Ms. Clinton
She notes that let women work and they drive economic growth across all sectors.
Send a girl to school, even just for one year, and her income dramatically increases for life, and her children are more likely to survive, and her family more likely to be healthier for years to come, she emphasized.
“Give women equal rights, and entire nations are more stable and secure.” – Ms. Clinton
She points out that denying women equal rights, and the instability of nations is almost certain.
In addition, also in the spirit of TED, Ms. Clinton cites they are creating solutions and partnerships, reaching out to all sectors government, NGOs, private business.
Through the Secretary’s International Fund for Women and Girls, the US is partnering with the private sector to provide small grants to local NGOs working to improve the status of women right where they live, Ms. Clinton said.
For example, the Avon Foundation made a contribution to fight violence against women which will support an award of 10 grants to nongovernmental organizations in Egypt, Turkey, Mexico, Argentina, Jamaica, Liberia, Cambodia, and India, Ms. Clinton cited.
“And we are focusing on what can you do right in your community and your country to combat the crime of violence against women.” – Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton also says a special word about the importance of girls.
According to Ms. Clinton, the low value that many families and societies place on girls makes possible many of the worst abuses they suffer.
But even among girls who are spared the worst, too often it is a girl who is still the first to drop out of school, the last to be fed, the last to receive medical care, she pointed out.
Ms. Clinton says there is a need to persuade families and nations to value girls and to teach the girls themselves to understand their own value and their potential.
“If we can convince societies to invest in girls, we will strengthen our efforts to fight poverty, drive development, and spread stability.” – Ms. Clinton
She notes there are more than 600 million girls in the developing world alone.
More than one-quarter of the population of Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa are girls and women between the ages of 10 and 24, she added.
“But the lesson goes beyond the human nature of the story. Even a small intervention can change a girl’s life.” – Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton says there truly are no limits to what the world can do together on behalf of girls and women.
She underlines that collaborative effort by all states can help make sure that every girl in the world has a chance to live up to her own dreams and aspirations as well.
Earlier this week, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum that promotes gender equality and empowering women and girls globally.
Reports say the new Presidential Memorandum will also help ensure that advancing the rights of women and girls remains central to U.S. diplomacy and development around the world.
In her remarks in Washington DC, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the Obama Administration has made it clear that advancing the rights of women and girls is critical to the foreign policy of the United States.
President Obama’s National Security Strategy explicitly recognizes that “countries are more peaceful and prosperous when women are accorded full and equal rights and opportunity. When those rights and opportunities are denied, countries lag behind.”
Ms. Clinton highlighted that protecting and advancing the rights of women are critical to solving virtually every challenge we face as individual nations and as a community of nations.
In May 2012, with the USAID launching a women’s leadership fund, Obama administration has reaffirmed its commitment to empower women and girls around the world.
The Obama administration is taking steps to do more to increase women’s participation.
The State Department has recently created an initiative for women in public service as well.
In 2011, Secretary Clinton also signed a new Declaration on Women’s Participation.
In his address to the 2011 UN General Assembly, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to increasing women’s participation. He called upon member states to formulate steps to break down economic and political barriers for women and girls.
The United States has introduced the UNGA Third Committee resolution on “Women and Political Participation,” which calls on all states to end discriminatory laws and actively promote and protect human rights for women to take a part in public life.
The resolution was adopted with over 130 co-sponsors.
The President intends to lead by example in the United States, by harnessing the extraordinary talents of women and girls, as we create an America that’s built to last, according to Ms. Jarrett.
To reaffirm the Obama’s administration commitment to empowering women in the 21st century, President Obama signed the very first bill when he came to office which was was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
The Bill helps protect women and their right to equal pay for equal work so that people like Lori have a remedy to discrimination.
The President has also taken steps to increase student loan awards, and reduce repayments, in order to make college more affordable for young people like Mahala.
President Obama has also invested in science and technology and engineering and math for young girls, so that more women have the capability to compete for jobs like Jackie, the jobs of the 21st Century.
President Obama also signed the Affordable Care Act that provides for health insurance for all people of the United States and it prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against women and provides women with the kind of preventive care that they need.
In addition, President Obama has placed women in many of the highest positions within his administration including the Secretary of State, the UN Ambassador, the Secretaries of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and Labor.
Nearly 50 percent of his appointees to district courts are women, by far the highest percentage of any President in American history.
Recently, President Obama has already appointed two women to the Supreme Court, including one first Latina. And he has recently nominated the first woman to be a four-star general in the history of the Air Force.
The United States was at the forefront in 2009 and 2010 in leading efforts at the UN to support the consolidation of the UN’s existing gender-related institutions into a single more effective women’s agency. Ms. Brimmer said it was their goal at the UN to elevate women’s issues to their rightful status.
United States is also playing a leading role, along with international partners, in supporting empowerment of women, within the UN system, through participation in the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).