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.
Curbing child marriage has become increasingly important to the global development discussion, but it has yet to become central to the discussion about security and stability. Senior Fellow Gayle Tzemach Lemmon reviews child marriage trends in fragile countries affected by natural disasters and/or armed conflict, and offers policy recommendation on how the United States can ensure that girls and women are still able to reach their full potential even in times of social instability and insecurity.
By developing a stronger understanding of what works and what does not in combatting child marriage, policymakers and civil society leaders will be better equipped to end child marriage. Senior Fellow Gayle Tzemach Lemmon and Research Associate Lynn S. ElHarake identify the drivers of child marriage and the factors that can curb it.
The pervasive practice of child marriage is stirring concern among U.S. foreign policymakers because it threatens to undermine U.S. interests in development, prosperity, and stability, says CFR's Rachel Vogelstein.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon argues that with the help of the private and public sector, women entrepreneurs are helping to combat global poverty, but more work is needed to overcome the challenges of access to finance, access to markets, and access to skills-building and networks.
Isobel Coleman says that while President Obama's State of the Union address focused on domestic policies, unpredictable events in the rest of the world are unlikely to allow his second administration to stay above the fray in its foreign policy.
Throughout Chuck Hagel's marathon confirmation hearing, America's decade-long war in Afghanistan was noticeably overlooked. But it is curious to see the next secretary of defense receive so few inquiries from senators about the war whose end he will presumably oversee in the coming years, says Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
ThePentagon's decision to allow women in combat elates female veterans, who say all they are asking for is not guaranteed spots, but a chance to meet the same standards and have the same opportunities as men, says Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
Despite the fact that Malala Yousafzai, the fourteen-year-old Pakistani women's rights activist, survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, similar attacks against women, like the one in India, are on the rise. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon says that these attacks are efforts to stamp out women's progress and the potential of women worldwide will not be realized if this type of violence is tolerated.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon says that the war in Afghanistan, which has spanned a decade and cost more than 2,000 American lives, has now faded to one key, albeit short-sighted, question: How many U.S. troops will remain after 2014?
Women have made strides in Afghanistan since 2001, but huge issues still remain. While the United States focuses on withdrawal, Afghan women are still in the fight and will be long after 2014, says Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
Author: Isobel Coleman United Nations Association of the United Kingdom
Women in the Arab world have certainly played a prominent role in their countries' transition, writes Isobel Coleman, but cannot take for granted that their activism will translate into political influence or legal gains in the emerging systems.
Americans want to see Congress and the president make a deal on the "fiscal cliff," but the incentives are strongest for policymakers to act only after the cliff has come and gone—and wreaked a great deal of havoc in the process, says Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
The female veterans who filed the lawsuit say combat exclusion is unfair and outdated, based on stereotypes, inhibits recognition and promotion of servicewomen—and ignores the realities of the modern battlefield, says Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
Bibi Aisha's gruesome maiming put her on the cover of Time. Now, years later, she's working on getting a new face and trying to exorcise the horror, restart her life—and reunite with family, says Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon says that Monday's debate displayed a rare moment of unity between Obama and Romney, who seem to have decided that, in this most domestic-focused of elections, dwelling on foreign policy would only lose voters' interest.