The Bahamas Weekly Facebook The Bahamas Weekly Twitter
News : International Last Updated: Dec 5, 2014 - 10:25:14 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
NASA Announces Next Steps on Journey to Mars: Progress on Asteroid Initiative
Art Auction to Benefit Bahamian Artists
Multi-jurisdictional Conference Proves The Caribbean Region Can Work Together
New forum to tackle Commonwealth trade challenges
Barbados conference to boost small states’ access to development finance
NASA's Opportunity Mars Rover Finishes Marathon, Clocks in at Just Over 11 Years
OAS Begins First Edition of Fellowship on Open Government in the Americas
The Bahamas Commits to Achieving Full Equality for Women and Men in Constitution at New York High Level Meeting
Quotable Caribbean: Keith Chin, Dennis Morrison, Shomari Scott and more...
OAS Secretary General Meets with the President of Haiti
Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Suriname Communicate their Consent to Receive On-Site Visits
Small states to have say on rule of law and justice in post-2015 negotiations
Bahamas civil society expresses “unequivocal and unapologetic” stand for equal rights on international panel
Kraft Foods Group recalling Mac & Cheese boxed dinners
African human rights commission endorses the Human Right to Water in time for World Water Day!
Defense of Peace and Democracy through Political Dialogue are Principal Assets of the OAS
(Video) OAS IACHR hearing on the Bahamas immigration situation
Quotable Caribbean: Obie Wilchcombe, Bob Butler, Karolin Troubetzkoy and more...
GBHRA meets with U.S. State Department on Bahamas immigration policy
Bahamas: Amnesty International seeks clarifications to the authorities on migration reforms
Bahamian Innovator’s Next Phenom product advances to finals in international competition
OAS Elects New Leadership
Gomez addresses OAS Committee
GBHRA brief U.S. Senate on Bahamas new immigration enforcement policies
Caribbean Film Festival Launches in Hollywood for 10th Anniversary of Caribbean-American Heritage Month
Bahamians living in Canada asked to authenticate documents
OAS Member States Highlight the Importance of Alternatives to Incarceration for Drug Related Offenders
Winners of Commonwealth Youth Awards 2015 announced
1st Caribbean Safe and Secure Conference and Exhibition - June 18 – 20, 2015
Caribbean Film Mart and Film Database to Launch in September
New NASA Mission to Study Ocean Color, Airborne Particles and Clouds
Partnerships between Caribbean and EU businesses to be bolstered by 3rd CARIFORUM-EU Business Forum
High Commissioners of the Commonwealth Gather
Montel Williams and UN hail Bahamas Shark Conservation at Cape Eleuthera Institute
NASA Spacecraft Becomes First to Orbit a Dwarf Planet
International Women's Day: Changing the Status Quo
CWC and Facebook Collaborate to Offer Free Wi-Fi in the Caribbean
Bahamas wins Miss Spicy Caribbean
The Blue Economy offers rich rewards to Caribbean countries that seize the moment
Ukraine / Russia: Leaders agree that aid must reach eastern Ukraine