The Women and Foreign Policy program is a major component of CFR's Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy initiative. The objective of the Women and Foreign Policy program is to bring the status of women firmly into the mainstream foreign policy debate. Thanks in part to its efforts, there is now broad understanding of the importance of women's empowerment to a host of development, health, security, and other global priorities.
The program's current areas of focus include:
Improving maternal health in Afghanistan.
U.S. leadership in international reproductive health and family planning.
The role of technology and private sector resources in empowering women economically.
Entrepreneurs and market linkages in conflict and post-conflict environments.
Cherie Blair, founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, discusses the gender gap in access to mobile technology. Research conducted by Blair's organization has found that the gender gap is particularly wide in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
With the United States eager to withdraw from Afghanistan and reconciliation with the Taliban considered key to any peace process, Afghan women's rights are once again in question, writes CFR's Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon says that King Abdullah's granting the right to vote to Saudi Arabian women is another sign that the spirit of reform blowing through the region is making it increasingly hard to defend women's lack of basic rights.
Investment in maternal health in Afghanistan provides a cost-effective way to promote strategic U.S. foreign policy objectives. As part of a responsible drawdown, the United States should continue its commitments to improving maternal health programs.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon says that while Secretary Clinton's commitment to keeping women front and center in Afghanistan is clear, the White House's interest in deploying political capital on Afghan women's behalf is far less certain.
Scaling back the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan will yield a peace dividend, but only when Social Security and Medicare spending are controlled will the U.S. be able to refocus on domestic priorities, says CFR'S Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.