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Council on Foreign Relations Women and Foreign Policy Update
February 29, 2012

Prospects for Economic Growth

Liberia’s Emerging Entrepreneurs

CFR Fellow Gayle Tzemach Lemmon addresses the myriad challenges faced by entrepreneurs in Liberia, a young democracy desperate for jobs and economic development. Read More on the Democracy and Development Blog »

Building Markets for Peace

Scott Gilmore, cofounder and executive director of Peace Dividend Trust—a nonprofit that links international investment to local enterprise in conflict zones—reported at a CFR meeting on the benefits stemming from the organization's creation of 118,000 jobs in Afghanistan, particularly for female entrepreneurs. Listen to the Event Audio »

Under the Radar

Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls

Reporter Mara Hvistendahl informed a CFR gathering that sex selection could destabilize developing countries where it is prevalent, sparking crime, human trafficking, and other broader conflicts. Listen to the Event Audio »

Education Is One of the Few “Bright Spots” in Afghanistan

Since 2001, net enrollment for girls in primary school has increased from 3 percent to 42 percent, but CFR Senior Fellow Isobel Coleman writes that "as international attention to—and resources for—Afghanistan will inevitably wane . . . whether it can continue to make educational gains will be a key determinant of the country's future." Read More on Her Blog, Democracy in Development »

The Battle for Justice in Afghanistan

Human rights litigator Kimberley Motley and filmmaker Tanaz Eshaghian explore why despite years of reconstruction and efforts to rebuild Afghanistan's fragile legal system, access to justice remains out of reach for many Afghans, especially women. Listen to the Event Audio »

Empowering Women: News of Note

White House Requests Over $50 billion for U.S. State Department and USAID Budget

President Obama's 2013 budget proposal demonstrates the administration's "commitment to elevating development as a core pillar of U.S. foreign policy," providing $4 billion in humanitarian assistance and $2.7 billion in economic and transition assistance, which could significantly benefit women. Read the U.S. State Department Budget Factsheet »

Pentagon Opens 14,000 Additional Military Positions to Women

In recognition of women's "courage, sacrifice, patriotism, and great skill," Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that the U.S. military will open more positions to women, but critics call this new policy a "baby step," as it will only open up "5 percent of the roughly 250,000 jobs that have been closed to women." Read the Full Report »

First Female Wins Bid for Mexican Presidential Candidacy

CFR Fellow Shannon O'Neil discusses how Josefina Vázquez Mota—the first female Mexican presidential candidate from a major political party—can be a "mantle of change" in the country. Read More on »

A Look Ahead

International Women's Day: March 8

March 8, 2012, will mark the 101st anniversary of International Women's Day, with this year's theme being the empowerment of rural women to end hunger and poverty. Visit the International Women's Day Website to Search for Events in Your Area »

Women in the World Summit: March 8–10

At the third annual Women in the World Summit, Lemmon will moderate a panel on women and the economy. Other conference participants will include Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, among many other women's rights leaders, experts, and activists from around the world. Visit the Daily Beast for a Preview of the Summit »


A Multimedia Look at the Human Rights Regime

This interactive guide uses video, interactive maps, and expert analysis to track progress on the protection of human rights around the world, including women's and children's rights. View the Global Governance Monitor.


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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