As an Australian woman living in the United States, and working with women globally to advance their human rights, it was a momentous week. In the US, President Obama signed a memorandum designed to accelerate, extend and strengthen government actions across multiple sectors to better promote gender equality and empower women and girls.
The President signed this memorandum into law in the presence of Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. In doing so, he said
“promoting gender equality and advancing the status of all women and girls around the world remains one of the greatest unmet challenges of our time, and one that is vital to achieving our overall foreign policy objectives.”
This Presidential directive includes the following:
Establishment of an interagency working group on international gender issues chaired by the National Security Advisor
Designation of an Ambassador-at-Large reporting directly to the Secretary to head the office of Global Women’s Issues
Formal recognition of the importance of women’s voices and actions to development
Commitment to a Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment at the U.S.
It’s timely that Australia has just appointed its first Global Ambassador for Women and Girls. With the convergence of world leaders in New York last week for the UN General Assembly and for the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, there was an opportunity for these leaders to make, or advocate for, a greater investment in women and girls, who comprise almost 70% of the world’s poor. Some important women leaders were present in person or via satellite link. Aung Sang Syu Ki spoke eloquently of the hopes and determination of the people of Burma to realize a democratic nation, and of the need for other countries to maintain their support.… Continue Reading