When the ICRW got its start 35 years ago, the challenges facing women and girls were not high on anyone’s list of foreign-policy priorities. But thanks to many of you here tonight, the world is learning that women and girls aren’t just an issue to deal with on the periphery of more serious policy priorities—they are a serious policy priority. The greatest challenges we face as a nation, whether building stability and peace, countering violent extremism, or promoting democracy, depend on the full participation of women and girls.
That’s why I’ve put women and girls at the center of everything we do at the State Department. That means enhancing women’s civic and political participation, strengthening the role of women in their economies, and bolstering their efforts in peace and security issues. It means taking on discrimination and marginalization, and cultural attitudes that treat women as second-class citizens.
It also means building the partnerships and supporting the innovations that will help women around the world live up their God-given potential, whether developing new irrigation tools for women farmers in Tanzania or making clean cookstoves available to mothers in Indonesia. Much of that work begins with the research going on every day at the ICRW.
But we have more work to do. We need to keep meeting the challenges that stand in the way of advancing the lives of women and girls. I am proud to stand with the ICRW in this effort. Thank you.