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Council on Foreign Relations Women and Foreign Policy Update
January 25, 2012

On the Radar

Arab Women Rising: An Uncertain Future

In an NPR interview and in a piece, Isobel Coleman discusses future prospects for women as their countries undergo democratic transitions. Read more »

Trends to Watch in International Development for 2012

Coleman examines several up-and-coming interventions that will harness mobile technology and enhance agricultural outputs to improve development outcomes. Read More on Her Blog »

Justice Matters

Angelina Jolie's Film Bears Witness to Rape in War

In a review of Angelia Jolie's film In the Land of Blood and Honey, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon says that the movie paints an "unforgettable" portrait about the changing nature of war and "the cruelty meted out to women simply to send a message." Read more »

'Blue Bra Girl' Rallies Egypt's Women

On, Coleman writes that public uproar in response to the savage beating of an abaya-clad female protester by Egyptian military forces "may breathe life into a movement that desperately needs new energy." Read more »

Limited Rights and the Perilous Lives of Afghan Women

Lemmon calls on the Afghan government, the international community, and the Western media to decrease the gap between the law's promise to protect the rights of women and actual practice in Afghanistan. Read more »

Elections in Transition

Political Quotas for Women: A Snapshot of the Middle East

Coleman argues that political quotas for women are not effective in every country, nor are they guaranteed to increase women's meaningful and effective participation in governance. Nonetheless, quotas bring women's voices into political systems where they are otherwise excluded, shortcutting a process that can take generations. Read More on "Democracy in Development" »

Women Fare Poorly in Egyptian Elections

Coleman breaks down the final results of the Egyptian national elections and analyzes what the Egyptian public can expect from their newly elected female parliamentarians. Read more »

Must Reads

Obama Administration Releases First National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security

The White House says the new plan will make the engagement and protection of women "central to the United States' efforts to promote security, prevent, respond to, and resolve conflict, and rebuild societies." Read the Full Plan »

Hope Despite Economic Recession

In a groundbreaking speech last September, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laid out the economic arguments for gender equality, explaining that "narrowing the gender gap could lead to a 14 percent rise in per capita incomes by the year 2020 in several APEC economies, including China, Russia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Korea." Watch the Video and Read the Transcript »

Two Years Later in Haiti: Women Are Paying the Price

January 12 marked the two-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. A recent report, "Struggling to Survive," by MADRE—an international women's human rights organization—reveals that "women and girls in IDP [internally displaced person] camps and throughout Haiti generally, continue to face brutal rapes, attempted rapes, and other forms of sexual violence with little to no access to treatment, support, or remedy." Read the Full Report Here »



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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