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In Brief

Why Women Are a Foreign Policy Issue

27 April 2012

Somali women using sewing machine, learning to sew for profit (AP Images)

The United States has put women's issues at the center of its foreign policy.

President Obama's administration has put women at the heart of its foreign policy, says Melanne Verveer, the State Department’s first ever ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues.

The reason? Because “the most pressing global problems simply won't be solved without the participation of women,” according to Verveer.

Women are crucial to the economic, political and social well-being of nations, Verveer writes in an article for Foreign Policy magazine.

Verveer cites the World Economic Forum in giving evidence of the benefit countries reap from women’s full participation in society: “Countries where men and women are closer to enjoying equal rights are far more economically competitive than those where the gender gap has left women and girls with limited or no access to medical care, education, elected office, and the marketplace.”

Advocating for women's full economic, social and political participation around the world, Verveer adds, helps protect U.S. interests in global peace, security and prosperity.

See Ambassador Verveer’s article, “Why Women Are a Foreign Policy Issue.”