The Bahamas Weekly Facebook The Bahamas Weekly Twitter
News : International Last Updated: Jun 20, 2014 - 5:05:44 PM


Op-Ed: Why Women Are Central to U.S. Foreign Policy by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
By U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
Mar 6, 2013 - 2:20:31 PM

Email this article
 Printer friendly page
John-Kerry.jpg
During my first week as the United States’  Secretary of State, I had the honor of meeting with a group of courageous women from Burma.   Two were former political prisoners, and although they had all endured incredible hardship in their lives, each of them was committed to moving forward - providing education and training to girls, finding jobs for the unemployed and advocating for greater participation in civil society.  I have no doubt that they will continue to be powerful agents of change, bringing progress to their communities and their country in the years to come.

It’s opportunities like this that remind us why it is so vital that the United States continues to work with governments, organizations and individuals around the world to protect and advance the rights of women and girls.  After all, just like in our own country, the world's most pressing economic, social and political problems simply cannot be solved without the full participation of women. 

According to the World Economic Forum, 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.   Similarly, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that if women farmers had the same access to seeds, fertilizer, and technology as men do, they could reduce the number of undernourished people in the world by 100 million to 150 million. 

Yet in too many societies and too many homes, women and girls are still undervalued, denied opportunities to go to school, and forced to marry as children.   Too many lives have been lost or altered forever by gender-based violence.  As the father of two daughters, I cannot imagine the pain suffered by the parents of the young woman known as “Nirbhaya,” the 23-year old medical student murdered on a New Delhi bus simply for being a woman, or the anguish felt by the parents of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by extremists as she too rode on a bus, simply for wanting to go to school.  But I am inspired by Malala’s undaunted commitment to her cause, by Nirbhaya’s determination, while dying, to bring her assailants to justice, and by their fathers’ courage in speaking out on behalf of their daughters and women everywhere.

No country can get ahead if it leaves half of its people behind. This is why the United States believes gender equality is critical to our shared goals of prosperity, stability, and peace, and why investing in women and girls worldwide is critical to advancing U.S. foreign policy.

We invest in the training and mentoring of women entrepreneurs so they can not only lift up their own families, but also help their countries’ economies grow.   We invest in girls’ education so that they can escape forced early marriage, break the cycle of poverty, and develop into community leaders and engaged citizens.   Increasing girls’ and women’s education and their access to resources also improves the health and education of the next generation.

We work with partners around the world to boost maternal health, strengthen female farmers, and prevent and address gender-based violence because all societies benefit when women are healthy, safe, and can contribute their labor, leadership and creativity to the global economy.  U.S. diplomats everywhere work to integrate women fully into peace negotiations and security efforts because bringing women’s experiences, concerns and insights to the table can help prevent future conflict and build more lasting peace.

Today, International Women’s Day, is a day of celebration.  It is also a day when each of us must recommit to ending the inequality that prevents progress in every corner of the globe. We can and we must commit to this so that each of our daughters can ride the bus to school without fear, all of our sisters can fulfill their tremendous potential, and every woman and girl can live up to her full potential.


Bookmark and Share


© Copyright 2013 by thebahamasweekly.com

Top of Page

International
Latest Headlines
OAS Anticorruption Mechanism Holds On-Site Visit to The Bahamas
LPM Challenges Dr Kenny Anthony’s Claim of Economic Growth
High Commissioner Bethel and BMA Joins IMO Secretary General in Celebrating World Maritime Day
CDC confirms Dallas patient first Ebola case in U.S.
Caribbean Designers to Showcase at Dominicana Moda 2014
Caribbean Export contributes towards strengthening trade relations between The Caribbean and China
Hong Kong Tourism Board warns HK visitors to stay away from protest areas
Bahamian man missing in Florida has been Found
Travel Industry Veteran to Receive CMEx Leadership Award
Noted Caribbean Financial Services Expert, Dr Robert Mathavious to Address CRCA 2014 Delegates
Concluding Statement of the Meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group
Nassau chefs participate in Haiti Food & Spirits Festival
Grand Bahama hosts 2nd Annual Meeting of the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund
Bahamas High Commissioner to Canada hosts reception at TIFF
Bahamas High Commissioner in Toronto hosts Bahamian Meet and Greet
Four awarded Chevening Scholars in Bahamas and Jamaica
Bahamas Embassy makes Canada connections on business tour in Alberta and British Colombia
Producer Will Packer, Consul General Rolle, and Bahamas Tourism give Bahamian filmmaker opportunity to “Ride Along” on film set
Violence in the Caribbean data produced by CIM
The Cove, Eleuthera selected for the 2014 Fodor’s 100 Hotel Awards
Mrs Bernadette Christie given Surprise Party in Atlanta
Quotable Caribbean: Eric Adams, Earle Bethel, Karolin Troubetzky, and more...
High Commissioner Bethel Promotes Bahamian Culture in UK
Bahamas Consulate General New York Family Fun Day Picnic - Oct 11th
TCI Receives Final Country Poverty Assessment Report
Caribbean Export Launches the Regional Investor of the Year Award 2014
Justice Adderley calls on Ambassador Newry in Washington
Declaration of the OAS Secretary General on the Situation of the People Detained in Guantanamo
Founder of VIFF inducted into The BC Entertainment Hall of Fame
Fiji rejoins Commonwealth as a full member
$1 Million Grant to Support World’s 3rd Largest Fully Protected Area
Ministers of health of the Americas will meet to set regional health priorities
TCI Appoints Human Rights Commission Chairman and Board
OAS Secretary General Participates in Meeting of "Haiti Partners" in New York
OAS Receives PAHO Report on the Ebola Outbreak in Africa and the Impact of Chikungunya Virus in the Americas
OAS Anti-Corruption Mechanism Adopted Report on Haiti
Kontos Foods Focuses Expansion Efforts in the Caribbean
Saint Lucia to Host Second Annual "LOVE Elevated" Wedding Symposium‏
St. Maarten Invests in Destination's Economy by Hosting FCCA Conference & Trade Show
Pérez Art Museum Miami Receives Significant New Works for the Museum’s Permanent Collection from JPMorgan Chase