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Council on Foreign Relations Women and Foreign Policy Update
April 2012

Warning Signs in Afghanistan

Precarious Crossroads for Women

Michelle Bachelet, executive director of UN Women, writes in the New York Times, that the "single most important recourse" the international community has to mitigate security risks in Afghanistan "is to ensure that women are engaged, that their voices heard, and their perspectives taken into account in the peace and reconciliation process." Read More »

Water Supply at Girls School Deliberately Poisoned

In a radio interview with PRI's The World, CFR Fellow Gayle Tzemach Lemmon discusses the challenges for girls' education in Afghanistan and the larger issues surrounding women's rights there. Listen to the Interview »

Washington’s War for Afghanistan’s Women

A battle is on for hearts and minds in Afghanistan—right here at home, argues Lemmon on Advocates, such as U.S. secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton and former first lady Laura Bush, are waging a lonely fight to keep women on the agenda as the increasingly unpopular war in Afghanistan winds down. Read more »

Change Agents

Implications of the Arab Uprising

Raghida Dergham, senior diplomatic correspondent for Al-Hayat, tells CFR Adjunct Fellow Mohammed Bazzi that women in the Arab world are "a very important undercurrent of change." Read the Transcript »

Islam and Politics

In a discussion on the relationship between Islam and politics following the Arab uprisings in the Middle East, Michael Willis, director of the Middle East Centre at the University of Oxford, tells a CFR audience that the way forward must include women because "the more you involve women, the more productive and the more dynamic the society becomes." Read the Transcript »

Emerging Economic Opportunities

Strengthening Entrepreneurship in Fragile States

Simon Winter of Technoserve and Eileen Hoffman of CHF International tell a CFR audience about the expanding possibilities for entrepreneurs, including women, to grow their businesses and encourage sustainable economic growth in some of the world's most fragile states. Listen to the Audio »

U.S. Department of State Launches Public-Private Partnership to Increase Women’s Economic Participation

Because "investing in women-owned small and medium enterprises is one of the best ways to simultaneously achieve economic, financial, and social impact," the U.S. Department of State has launched Women's Entrepreneurship in the Americas (WEAmericas) to address barriers women confront when starting and growing their businesses. Read the Press Release »

Global Entrepreneurs Need New Funding Models

Despite entrepreneurship's role as the new "silver bullet for a job-scarce, unemployment-saddled global economy still struggling to shake off recession," Lemmon argues in Harvard Business Review that many entrepreneurs, particularly women, still battle to find capital needed to launch and grow their businesses. Read more »

Building Small Business Amid Great Challenge

Shari Berenbach, director of microenterprise development at USAID, spoke to a CFR audience about the intense challenges female entrepreneurs face in the developing world, such as limited access to networks, markets, and capital. Listen to the Audio »



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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