Why US Empowers Girls, Counters Gender-Based Violence— Vice Consul
Vice Consul, U.S. Consulate General, Lagos, Claire Ruffing, has stated the reason the U.S. dedicated so much time and energy to empowering girls and countering gender-based violence is because women have the ability to impact the world in big ways.
Just as she said that most of the world’s development challenges is hinge on investing in and including girls and women.
She told the over 200 hundred women at the conference which includes pilots, engineers, airport managers and other aviation professionals that this would happen only if women raise their collective voices, especially as women, loudly enough.
Women, he said have a responsibility to each other and to their families, communities and societies to support one another as they try to make the world a better place.
She spoke at the 2015 Women In International(WAI),Nigeria Chapter annual conference with the theme, “Connect, Engage and Inspire the Next Generation” in Lagos.
She posited that armed with facts and with a sense of solidarity, women make some of the most important contributions to societies generally and particularly in developing countries.
“Firstly, coming from the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, I should begin by saying we share your goals in promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls. That’s a priority for the United States Government.” She said
The diplomat stated that under the leadership of President Obama, the United States was working to combat discrimination, eliminate violence against women and girls at home and abroad, expand access to women’s health care, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, support women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, and encourage women’s economic and political leadership.
She said that from creating the White House Council on Women and Girls, the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women and an Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues, to appointing two women to the Supreme Court and a strong team of women leaders to his Cabinet and White House staff, President Obama has taken concrete steps to ensure that women of diverse backgrounds are involved in shaping policy at every level of our government and that their voices are heard throughout American society and all around the world.
She stated that in August 2012, the President issued the first-ever U.S. Strategy on Preventing and Responding to Gender-Based Violence Globally and a related Executive Order to address gender-based violence through its foreign policy, diplomatic and programming efforts.
Ruffing informed that in more than 40 countries worldwide, United States Agency for International Development(USAID) has reached more than five million survivors of gender-based violence with vital, sometimes life-saving services, and has awarded more than $17 million in dedicated incentive funds to support innovative pilot programs and research to address gender-based violence in 15 countries.
She also said that in 2013, the United States committed more than $22 million to launch the Safe from the Start Initiative, to better address the needs of women and girls and other groups at risk of gender-based violence in emergencies.
Vice Consul, U.S. Consulate General stated that in March 2015, the President and First Lady launched Let Girls Learn, which brings together the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Peace Corps, the Millennium Challenge Corporation and other agencies and programmes to address the range of challenges preventing adolescent girls from enrolling, completing and succeeding in school.
Ruffing said that the reason the U.S. dedicated so much time and energy to empowering girls and countering gender-based violence is because women have the ability to impact the world in big ways.
According to a 2015 study by USAID, countries where women hold at least 30 per cent of political seats are more inclusive, egalitarian and democratic.
That means more people have more access to services and a more equal distribution of power.