Today, President Obama issued an executive order directing the implementation of the United States’ first-ever National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. The plan was developed with collaboration across the U.S. government, and with the help of NGOs and civil society groups that support women and girls every day. It is a historic step toward a future where all men and women can reach their full potential.
The tangible commitments our government is making as part of the National Action Plan will weave perspectives of women and girls into the DNA of our foreign policy. These commitments include helping women engage in peace processes; providing assistance to NGOs focused on women’s participation; helping to integrate women into the security sectors of our partner nations; improving the UN’s capacity to combat sexual violence; holding development personnel and contractors to the highest standards for preventing human trafficking; and helping to ensure that humanitarian assistance is distributed equally to women as well as men.
These steps, and the others outlined in the plan and executive order, are part of President Obama’s broader commitment to promoting equal rights and opportunities for women and girls. Across the Middle East and North Africa, we’re helping women realize the political gains and the rights they fought for so inspiringly over the past year. In Afghanistan, we continue to push the government to include women and civil society in all aspects of the reconciliation process. We’re dedicating tens of millions of dollars around the world to combat violence against women. We’re addressing the root causes of conflict by investing in women’s economic empowerment, health, and education.
As the chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, I’m proud of the many steps we’ve taken, both at home and abroad, to help women and girls reach their full potential. As the President has pointed out, issues that affect women are not only women’s issues. When women have equal rights and opportunities, societies are more prosperous, peaceful, and secure. When women succeed, we all succeed.
President Obama will continue seeking new ways to make sure that every woman and girl is treated fairly and equally by her society. I look forward to working with leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors as we help promote peace and prosperity around the world.
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