December 23, 2016

For over three decades, IWHC has been working to achieve gender equality around the world, through programming, advocacy, research, and activism. Through our work, we have witnessed the transformative power of women’s and girls’ leadership. We have been privileged to see women and girls make their communities, countries, and the world more just, equal, peaceful, and healthy. From our years of experience, we know that all of this happens only when the human rights of women and girls are respected, protected, and fulfilled.

Recently, we celebrated as the world pledged to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls as one of 17 global Sustainable Development Goals. With political will and funding, we can achieve a world where women and girls everywhere can live free from discrimination and violence and have the opportunity, space, and resources to thrive and achieve their full potential.  When that leadership and funding comes from the United States Government—one of the most important donors in the world despite giving less than 1 percent of our budget in foreign aid—we see that world within our grasp.

Whether through specific programming on women’s economic empowerment, funding girls’ education initiatives, tackling child marriage, providing sexual and reproductive health care, or ending violence, the US has been a critical partner for women and girls. US funding and leadership has helped women and girls take control of their health, education, and lives and direct their own futures. It has made the world a better place. This week President-elect Trump’s transition team requested information from the State Department and USAID on “existing programs and activities to promote gender equality.” When they review this information, this is what they should take away.  To shut down, defund, or scale back US Government programs for women and girls, whether it be in the areas of health, education, violence prevention, or economic empowerment, would be devastating and deadly.

The US Government’s work to achieve gender equality and women’s and girls’ human rights must continue. Women and girls everywhere are counting on it.