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 today, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says 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.
“This is a matter of national security as much as it is an issue of morality or fairness.” – Ms. Clinton
She says 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.”
“That’s why I’m so pleased about the Presidential Memorandum that President Obama signed yesterday, which institutionalizes an elevated focus on global women’s issues at the State Department and USAID and ensures coordination on these issues across the federal government.” – Ms. Clinton
Ms. Clinton notes that it is so important that incoming Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed his support for the continued elevation of these issues in our foreign policy.
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.
“We have made great progress, but there is more to do.” – Ms. Clinton
She adds it is the unfinished business of the 21st Century of empowering women and girls, and it is essential that it remains central to US foreign policy for years to come.
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).