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Council on Foreign Relations Women and Foreign Policy Update
March 28, 2012

Measuring Progress

The Value of Investing in Women

Despite growing concerns over the fate of women's initiatives after U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton leaves her post, U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women's issues Melanne Verveer tells a CFR audience that "women's issues are here to stay" and will remain an integral part of U.S. foreign policy. Listen to the Discussion »

Where Are the Women in Foreign Policy?

CFR Fellow Micah Zenko asks four prominent women from a variety of sectors why they think women are significantly underrepresented in foreign policy and national security positions in government, academia, and think tanks. Read More on Politics, Power, and Preventive Action »

The Unfinished Revolution

On International Women's Day, Minky Worden, director of global initiatives for Human Rights Watch and editor of a new book, The Unfinished Revolution, says that transitions to electoral democracy in several Arab countries present an opportunity not just to tackle proportional political representation for women, but also to confront harmful traditional practices. Watch the Interview »

United States Must Not Abandon Afghan Women to the Taliban

"No one is championing endless war in Afghanistan," CFR Fellow Gayle Tzemach Lemmon writes in an article for, "but how the international community gets out matters. And so does what it leaves behind." Read more »

Prospects for Development and Peace

The Fight for Afghan Women's Rights

On MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, Lemmon argues that protecting Afghan women's rights "isn't about American altruism, but about leaving behind a state that is stable so that America doesn't have to go back in." Watch the Interview »

The Women's Economy

During the Women in the World Summit, Lemmon spoke with Amanda Steinberg, founder and CEO of DailyWorth; Susan Lyne, chairman at Gilt Groupe; and Candace Browning, head of global research for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, about how women are faring in the aftermath of the global recession and what strategies can be used to create jobs and promote private sector growth. Watch the Discussion »

Honoring Women of Courage

"Supporting women is not about charity," write CFR Senior Fellow Isobel Coleman and U.S. ambassador Melanne Verveer. "It is a smart, strategic decision" because "in the twenty-first century, no country can hope to move forward if it is leaving half of its people behind." Read More on Democracy in Development »

Afghan Women Condemn Violence Surrounding Quran Protests

Lemmon interviews Afghan women leaders who say that while they deplore the burning of the Quran by U.S. troops, they also believe the bloody protests that followed will damage efforts to promote peace and stability in their country. Read More »

Must Reads

White House Places Perspectives and Needs of Women and Girls at “Heart” of U.S. Foreign Policy

"Because the peace and security of nations around the globe depend upon the education and advancement of women and girls," President Obama reaffirmed his administration's commitment "to bring economic and political opportunity to women at home and abroad." Read the Proclamation »

USAID Launches First New Gender Policy in Thirty Years

USAID's new Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy will work to "enhance women's empowerment and reduce gender gaps," says USAID administrator Rajiv Shah, by reaffirming "the critical role women play in accelerating progress in development and advancing global prosperity and security." Read the Policy »



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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