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Council on Foreign Relations Women and Foreign Policy Update April 2013

Women and National Security

Women Central to U.S. National Security

Framing women's rights as a national security issue, former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton said at the fourth annual Women in the World Summit that it is no coincidence the most volatile regions in the world are also the ones where women and girls are deprived of equal rights to men. In an article about the speech, CFR Fellow Gayle Lemmon writes that extremism and the suppression of women go hand in hand and that ignoring the latter is to be ignorant of the former. Read the Article »

Economic Change in the Middle East

Unequal Status of Arab Women Hinders Economic Development

At a CFR roundtable meeting, "Women's Empowerment and the Path to Democracy in the New Middle East," Nadereh Chamlou, senior adviser to the chief economist of Middle East and North Africa Region, World Bank, discussed the economic challenges facing women in the wake of the 2011 uprisings in the Arab world.

In a blog post about the roundtable, CFR Adjunct Senior Fellow Reza Aslan writes, "The bottom line is that simply the impression that women are being trampled by the boot of sharia in places like Egypt and Tunisia—whether accurate or not—has caused the entire region to lose its competitive advantage in the global market because it has denied women an equal place in the workforce. " Read the Blog Post on Democracy in Development »

Role of Women Uncertain in the Changing Middle East

At a panel discussion at the United Nations on women's struggle to play a more active role in shaping the new Middle East, Senior Fellow Isobel Coleman said, "We are experiencing an arc of history that will take a long time to play itself out. Overthrowing dictatorships is easy. Building something new in its place–creating–is the hard part. " Read the Article »

Equitable Economic Growth

Women in the Workforce Can Bolster Brazil's Economic Growth

A new World Bank study on economic growth in Brazil recommends addressing gender inequalities in terms of unequal pay and passing antidiscrimination laws. Lemmon writes that enhancing women's ability to participate in a country's economy and allowing them to get paid fairly for their work has clear benefits for economic growth in Brazil. Read the 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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