It is not a coincidence that countries are more stable and prosperous when women enjoy rights that are comparable to those of men, and when women participate in governance and in the formal economy. These countries are also less vulnerable to the impacts of violent extremism.
This is a phenomenon we see across the globe, wrote U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell in a recent blog post.
Economies are stronger when women are in the labor force and afforded the same opportunities as men."
“Economies are stronger when women are in the labor force and afforded the same opportunities as men. Outcomes from peace negotiations are better when women have seats at the table. Countries are more stable when women are valued and given opportunities to reach their full potential.”
In the global effort to prevent and counter violent extremism, issues that most affect women are frequently dismissed, and too often women’s rights become a bargaining chip. We know that women are key players in preventing violence. Over the years we have seen that women’s leadership and participation in their communities create stability and help build stronger communities that are less prone to conflict.
Strong, empowered women are the foundation of strong, prosperous societies. That is why under the Administration of President Barack Obama, advancing the status and empowerment of women and girls around the world has been integrated into U.S. Foreign Policy.
It is time for all of us to recognize that women’s empowerment is crucial to the well-being of every society. And it is long past due to recognize that women's issues are issues that deeply affect every society as a whole. The resolution of such issues, and women’s participation in the process, is crucial to every country’s prospects for peace, and economic stability.