“Women are still the majority of the world’s poor, unhealthy, underfed, and uneducated. They rarely cause violent conflicts but too often bear their consequences. Women are absent from negotiations about peace and security to end those conflicts. Their voices simply are not being heard”
— Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2010
Women’s issues are central to 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.
U.S. international programs to combat violence against women have long been integrated into many of its aid programs:
Global Health: The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief dedicates specific funds to combat gender-based violence. USAID Missions in Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Mali, and Guinea support programs to prevent female genital mutilation and cutting.
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 antitrafficking 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.
The United States builds public-private partnerships with businesses, foundations, other governments, and nongovernmental organizations, and leverages external resources to empower women. 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.
Secretary of State Clinton with a group of girls from the Siem Reap Center in Cambodia, which provides rehabilitation, vocational training, and social reintegration for sex trafficking victims. ©AP Image