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Council on Foreign Relations Women and Foreign Policy Update June 2013

Child Marriage Report Follow Up

Launching the Ending Child Marriage Report

Last month, CFR released a report about putting a stop to a damaging practice that touches the lives of tens of millions of girls around the globe—child marriage. In May, the report's author, Fellow Rachel Vogelstein, hosted a roundtable at CFR in Washington, DC, with USAID Administrator Donald Steinberg and CARE CEO and President Helene Gayle. In June, Vogelstein presided over a general meeting at CFR in New York, which featured Geeta Rao Gupta, the deputy executive director of UNICEF, and Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and former United Nations high commissioner for human rights. The conversation focused on the causes of child marriage as well as promising strategies to end this practice.

The report, Ending Child Marriage: How Elevating the Status of Girls Advances U.S. Foreign Policy Objectives, has already reached a wide audience. Vogelstein discussed Ending Child Marriage on a Google+ Hangout with a representative from the advocacy organization Girls Not Brides and from the International Women's Health Coalition. Vogelstein also published an article on highlighting the main points of the report, and has briefed a dozen offices on Capitol Hill about the report. The report was covered by Newsweek and had nearly half a million impressions on social media in the first week of its release.

CFR's Women and Foreign Policy program recently received a grant from the Ford Foundation to continue its work on ending child marriage. Read the Report »

Land Rights for Women

Fighting to Ensure Women's Access to Inherited Land

In an Emerging Voices guest piece on the CFR Development Channel blog, Ashok Sircar, India program director at Landesa, a rural development institute, writes about the complexities of guaranteeing women's land inheritance rights in India. Discussing the 2005 legal amendment that extended equal inheritance rights to Indian men and women, Sircar stresses that a legal right is only the first step in a challenging process, and that implementing the right is far more difficult. "Since its passage, women are reporting a disturbing trend: families are pressuring their daughters and sisters to circumvent the law by relinquishing their claim to their inheritance in writing in favor of their brothers," Sircar writes. As he notes, educating women about their rights, training local officials on these issues, and establishing women's self-help groups offer some solutions. Read the Blog Post on the Development Channel »



CFR's Women and Foreign Policy program works with leading scholars to analyze how elevating the status of women and girls advances U.S. foreign policy objectives and to bring the status of women into the mainstream foreign policy debate. Among its areas of focus are global health and education, the role of women in peacekeeping, and women’s economic participation.

Rachel Vogelstein
Director and Senior Fellow, Women and
Foreign Policy Program

Catherine Powell
Fellow, Women and
Foreign Policy Program

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Senior Fellow, Women and
Foreign Policy Program

Hannah Chartoff
Research Associate, Women and
Foreign Policy Program

Valerie Wirtschafter
Research Associate, Women and
Foreign Policy Program


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