Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, and Carolina Cardona, Director of U.S. Peace Corps Program in Togo, with a group of women entrepreneurs, small enterprise business women, and local leaders, attending a women's event in Lome, Togo, January 17, 2012. Department of State
The Secretary's Office of Global Women's Issues (S/GWI), led by Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, Melanne Verveer, works with Department bureaus and interagency partners to ensure that the advancement of the status of women and girls is fully integrated into the development and execution of U.S. foreign policy. To this end, in March 2012 under the direction of S/GWI, the Department issued the first-ever gender policy directive, a roadmap for employing the full range of diplomatic tools to bolster women's leadership and participation opportunities in local and national government processes, civil society, and international and multi-lateral forums; and address barriers to unlock the potential of women to contribute to economies, and integrate women into peacekeeping and peace building.
Since the launch of the Secretary's International Fund for Women and Girls in April 2010, S/GWI has awarded $8.7 million in small targeted grants to local organizations for 72 projects in 41 countries through a combination of public and private funding mechanisms, including $5 million in U.S. Government funds and $3.7 million in private funds. The Office has also convened more than 400 women to engage in discussions at conferences and to participate in trainings to advance the status of women globally. Below are a few of S/GWI's key achievements for fiscal year 2012.
FY 2012 Key Achievements Timeline
- April. To strengthen women's economic participation and invest in women-run small and medium enterprises, S/GWI advanced regional initiatives, such as the Women Entrepreneurs in the Americas (WEAmericas) initiative, which leverages public-private partnerships to increase women's economic opportunities, business skills, and access to markets, finance, training, and networks.
- June. In support of the Women in Public Service Project (WPSP), a partnership with top U.S. women's colleges to identify, mentor and train emerging women public service leaders around the world, S/GWI facilitated the participation of 40 emerging women leaders from the Middle East and North Africa in the inaugural WPSP Summer Institute at Wellesley College.
- July. S/GWI convened about 200 women from throughout Southeast Asia for the first-ever Lower Mekong Initiative Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality Policy Dialogue in Siem Reap, Cambodia. S/GWI played a key role in facilitating the U.S. launch of the Pacific Women's Empowerment Initiative with the governments of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, which promotes multilateral cooperation on women's advancement in the Asia-Pacific and led to the Rarotonga Partnership for the Advancement of Pacific Island Women - a collaborative initiative to build capacity, support emerging women leaders, and establish networks for sustainable leadership development in the region.
- August. S/GWI played a key role in the development and coordination of the first U.S. National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) launched in December, 2011, as well as the supplemental implementation guidance released in August 2012, to ensure that women participate equally in preventing conflict and building peace in countries threatened and affected by war, violence, and insecurity.
- September. S/GWI stepped up efforts to engage with and provide opportunities to some of the most disadvantaged and rural women around the world. In this regard, the Ambassador launched the Grassroots Women's Political Leadership Forum, a South and Central Asian regional training program for 60 local- and village-level women leaders from 6 countries on the campus of the Asian University for Women (AUW) in Chittagong, Bangladesh. The program boosted attendees' leadership, political, and policymaking skills that are essential for emerging women leaders to become more effective agents of change and progress in their communities.