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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Sidebar on Women's and Girls' Issues

Bureau of Resource Management
November 15, 2010


Photo showing Secretary Clinton greeting local business women in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Secretary Clinton greets local business women in Jakarta, Indonesia. Department of State

The Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI) works with interagency partners to ensure that women are integrated into all aspects of U.S. foreign policy. Strengthening women’s political, economic and social empowerment and security are important means to achieve stability, peace and effective economic development. The office was created in 2009 to ensure key administration initiatives, such as global health, food security, and climate change are addressed in terms of how these issues impact women and families globally; and engages in strategic bilateral and multilateral dialogues with nations, including India, Pakistan, and China – to achieve U.S. objectives. The Department is working with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries to put a first-time focus on women as drivers of economic growth – half of the 21 APEC countries have developing economies and it is calculated that the Asia-Pacific region is shortchanged in excess of $40 billion a year in GDP because of the untapped potential of women.

The Department’s efforts under GWI reach women and men to build support in key countries of concern to the United States, whether in the Middle East, South and Central Asia, Africa, Asia or Latin America. In conjunction with the 2010 AGOA Ministerial (African Growth and Opportunity Act), the Department created the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program to provide women with the tools and skills they need to more successfully implement AGOA and its benefits for building businesses and markets. The Department secured $200,000 from Exxon-Mobil to fund follow-up entrepreneurship training to support building businesses.

On behalf of the Department, the GWI Ambassador-At-Large has met with leaders, government officials, and women’s organizations, carrying the message that investment in women is a core pillar of U.S. foreign policy, development and security strategy. The Department manages the Iraqi Women’s Democracy Initiative through U.S. NGO partners working in Iraq to build the economic capacity of their women.

The Department’s GWI office builds public-private partnerships with businesses, foundations, other governments and NGOs, and leverages external resources to empower women. The Department established an International Fund for Women and Girls to fund local NGO projects to promote maximum sustainability and impact. Also, the Department’s small grants initiative funds projects promoting women’s political, economic, and social advancement in developing countries, funding 57 projects in 38 countries in 2010. The Department partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation to launch the Secretary’s Innovation Award program to fund promising innovations to help women at the local level.

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