On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was passed, giving American women the fundamental right to vote. Today, on this important anniversary, we celebrate Women’s Equality Day and all of the leaders who worked tirelessly to achieve this civil rights milestone.
Nearly a century later, promoting stability, peace, and development by empowering women politically, socially, and economically around the world is a central piece of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy. We know that when women and girls are empowered, educated, and equipped to contribute to their societies, their families and countries are more prosperous, more stable, and more secure.
Unfortunately, ensuring that women and girls are afforded the same rights as men around the globe remains one of the greatest unmet challenges of our time. That is why the Obama Administration is committed to advancing the status of women and girls through our diplomatic, policy and programming efforts around the globe. Women and girls must be able to live their lives free from violence, to fully participate as equal and respected members of their communities, and to have the opportunity to be active members in the workforce and economies of their countries. The United States works to achieve these goals through a variety of efforts, including through the:
- African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program
- Equal Futures Partnership
- Gender-Based Violence Emergency Response and Protection Initiative
- Global Women, Peace and Security (GWPS) Initiative
- International Women of Courage Award
- S/GWI-PEPFAR Gender-Based Violence Initiative
- Safe from the Start
- Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas (WEAmericas) Small Grants Initiative
Today, we honor those women and men who fought to ensure that women here in the United States have equal opportunities, and recommit ourselves to continuing this fight for every woman and girl around the globe.
As President Obama said, "In the 21st century, a mother should be able to raise her daughter and be her role model -- showing her that with hard work, there are no limits to what she can accomplish. On Women's Equality Day, we continue the righteous work of building a society where women thrive, where every door is open to them, and their every dream can be realized."
About the Author: Catherine Russell serves as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.