This blog entry is written byNancy Brinker, Chief of Protocol at the U.S. Department of State.
On Tuesday, I was asked to attend a meeting about the Women Leaders’ Working Group, a group which was created in 2006 by Secretary Rice in order to ensure that women’s empowerment issues such as education, political and economic empowerment, and access to justice are international priorities. It is comprised of women Heads of State, Ministers, and high ranking female government officials from across the globe. They meet intermittently to discuss challenges women face and how to address these issues strategically. Having founded and built one of the largest cancer NGOs in America, I was invited to participate and make suggestions for future activities and growth.
This program is overseen by Ambassador Shirin Tahir-Kheli, who is Secretary Rice’s Ambassador for women’s empowerment issues. The meetings are rotated by country and usually a single issue is discussed at each. Ambassador Tahir-Kheli has extensive international experience addressing these important issues.
Afterwards, I hosted a luncheon for the female Heads of Mission in Washington. We had a lively discussion of the current issues and challenges we face as Ambassadors. The group was comprised of representatives from over 23 countries. They represent many different regions of the globe, but all have a common interest in healthcare, energy, security, trade, business and economic development for women.
We agreed to meet monthly to review issues of importance to those here in Washington as well as concerns specific to the member’s individual countries. We had a robust discussion and I appreciated the opportunity to share ideas with the group in this informal setting.