Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama hosted a White House Summit on Global Development to map the future of U.S. development efforts. The meeting took place just as the United Nations has begun to measure progress toward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an ambitious set of goals to eradicate poverty adopted by the United States and 192 other nations last year.
Populations throughout the developed world are aging and shrinking, with dire consequences. Yet decline is not inevitable. Even in the industrialized world, governments can encourage childbearing through policies that let women reconcile work and family.
Efforts to provide the world's women with economic and political power are more than just a worthy moral crusade: they represent perhaps the best strategy for pursuing development and stability across the globe.
Although women have made large strides professionally over the last century, politics remains a man's world. Significant barriers stand in the way of more women assuming positions of political leadership -- not least women's own attitudes. If serious efforts are not made to break down these barriers, the world will miss out on the benefits that women can bring to policymaking.
The ban on women in ground combat, which stood in some form ever since women were first permanently integrated into the U.S. military in 1948, has been lifted and all combat roles are now open to women. Since Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the new policy last December, the American military has also seen women ascend to positions in its highest ranks: Air Force General Lori Robinson became the country’s first female combatant commander, and Admiral Michelle Howard became the first female four-star admiral.
Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, Marine Corps infantryman. In December of last year, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that all combat roles in the U.S. armed forces are open to all service members, regardless of gender. And now some military job titles are changing to match the changing times.
This Memorial Day is the first in which the ban on women in ground combat is history. Last month, West Point celebrated 40 years of women in its ranks. And the first women to graduate from Army Ranger School last year have now become part of the new old guard.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »