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.
One-third of the world's girls are married before the age of eighteen, limiting both their educational and economic potential. Child marriage is damaging to global prosperity and stability, yet despite the urgency of the issue, there remains a significant lack of data on the subject. Senior Fellow Gayle Tzemach Lemmon discusses both the factors that contribute to and strategies that have proved effective against child marriage.
Catherine Powell argues that the advances made by Afghan women since the 2001 U.S.-led intervention remain fragile. She recommends that the United States bolster gender equality before the drawdown is complete and continue working with Afghanistan to maintain these gains in the future.
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.