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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Women and Girls' Issues


Bureau of Resource Management
Report
May 10, 2010

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Photo showing First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Department of State ceremony honoring recipients of the International Women of Courage Award, Washington D.C., March 11, 2009.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Department of State ceremony honoring recipients of the International Women of Courage Award, Washington DC, March 11, 2009. Associated Press (AP) Image

For over three decades, the United States has recognized violence against women as a human rights problem. In September 2009, the United States led the UN Security Council in adopting a unanimous resolution to end sexual violence against women and children in conflict situations. As a result, the UN Secretary General will appoint a Special UN Representative on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict, and rapidly deploy teams of experts to armed conflicts.

U.S. international programs to combat violence against women have long been integrated into many of its aid programs:

  • Global Health. PEPFAR – a five-year, $15 billion global initiative – dedicates specific funds to combat gender-based violence. USAID missions in Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Mali, and Guinea support programs to prevent female genital mutilation.
  • Humanitarian Assistance and Refugees. U.S. humanitarian and refugee assistance incorporates programs to prevent violence against women. The Department of State’s refugee programs in Pakistan, along with USAID’s global programs through the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and the Displaced Children and Orphans Fund, contain elements aimed at protecting women and children.
  • Foreign Military Training. The Department of State cooperates with the Department of Defense to incorporate combating violence against women into training programs aimed at international military students and foreign militaries.
  • Trafficking in Women and Girls. The Department of State and USAID, in collaboration with other U.S. Government agencies, support nearly 140 global and regional anti-trafficking programs in 70 countries.
  • Legal and Political Rights. The Department of State funds initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa to empower women and youth. USAID supports programs to strengthen economic legal rights for women in Albania, Guatemala, Benin, South Africa, and Rwanda.
Photo showing Céline Nambi working with the Association of Mothers of Students to keep girls in school in Tabota, Benin.

Céline Nambi works with the Association of Mothers of Students to keep girls in school in Tabota, Benin. USAID/André Roussel Image

Women´s issues are a core factor in U.S. foreign policy. Secretary Clinton, a long-time champion of women´s rights, has inspired women worldwide with her declaration that “human rights are women´s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.” Her efforts have renewed the U.S. commitment to women as keys to progress and prosperity around the world. For further information about women’s and girls’ issues, visit the Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues website and USAID’s Office of Women in Development website.

 




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