Celebrating Women's Empowerment in the Western Hemisphere

Posted by Matthew Rooney
March 30, 2013
Female Musicians Prepare for International Women's Day Concert in Mexico City

Last week, I met 17 dynamic women leaders from across the Western Hemisphere, while they were in the United States on the International Visitor Leadership Program "Women in Action" exchange. We discussed how increasing the active participation of women in the political and economic spheres is essential to increasing democratic stability, improving citizen security, and sustaining economic growth.

Women's political, social, and economic participation is a key ingredient to building effective and stable democracies. Investing in women entrepreneurs is smart business and one of the best ways to achieve economic, financial, and social impact. Women reinvest more of their earned income than men in the health and education of their families, increasing the human capital of their communities and creating the foundation for long-term, inclusive economic growth.

When we talk about promoting women's empowerment in the Western Hemisphere, we are talking about empowerment in all aspects of life. U.S. embassies' commemorations of Women's History Month throughout the Western Hemisphere demonstrate our commitment to women's empowerment. In March, our embassies have hosted events and activities showcasing women's contributions to sports, art, business, education, politics, science, and more to inspire and empower future women leaders.

In Honduras, the U.S. Embassy co-hosted a viewing party in honor of the 2013 International Women of Courage Award recipient Julieta Castellanos. More than 200 people attended the event that highlighted women who play leading roles in reducing corruption, strengthening democracy, reforming the justice system, and advancing social development. The U.S. Embassy in Brazil hosted "Women in Science," a six-day camp to encourage nearly 90 high school girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico held a two-day TechCamp in partnership with the National Autonomous University of Mexico to empower women through technology. In Bolivia, the U.S. Embassy held a webchat series encouraging women's entrepreneurship. In partnership with Soccer Without Borders and the Nicaraguan Soccer Federation, the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua involved 800 Nicaraguans in soccer clinics in three cities focusing on team-building, skill-building, practice design, and coaching strategies for female soccer players and coaches.

From speaker events to photo exhibits, flash mobs to roundtable discussions, and public marches, our embassies highlighted the importance of women's empowerment across the region to get the message across: women's empowerment benefits all of society. We encourage women and girls throughout the hemisphere to follow their passions, take leadership roles, improve their societies, and mentor others in doing the same.

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