Women’s empowerment is a vital component of US foreign policy and moral leadership. Investing in gender equality not only advances US economic and national security interests, but also solidifies global consensus on the inviolability of human rights.

The Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues (GWI) leads the Department of State’s efforts to promote the rights of women and girls in US foreign policy. The Office of Global Women’s Issues has a long history of bipartisan support, and its ambassador, as the head of this office, has a duty to ensure the inclusion of women and girls in US diplomacy, partnerships, and programs. This Senate-confirmed position is the highest-ranking official with this mandate in the State Department, and holds immense power to shape the lives of women and girls worldwide.

The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC), together with 80 civil society organizations, believes that any nominee for this post must champion the right of women and girls to live free of violence, coercion, and discrimination. In order to truly fulfill the GWI mandate, any candidate for the ambassadorship must meet the rigorous set of qualifications outlined in this document, while having a proven track record of opposing all forms of discrimination and violence, and of empowering marginalized communities across the world.


Qualifications for the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, U.S. Department of State

Empowering women and girls is central to U.S. foreign policy. Investing in gender equality advances the U.S. Government’s standing as a moral leader, strengthens its national security, and creates economic opportunities
both abroad and at home in the United States. The Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues (GWI) leads the Department of State’s work to promote the rights and empowerment of women and girls in U.S. foreign policy. The Office of Global Women’s Issues, which has had long-standing, bipartisan support, leads the Department’s efforts to include women and girls in U.S. diplomacy, partnerships, and programs. This Senate-confirmed position is the highest-ranking official with this mandate in the State Department.

Any nominee for this post should, at a minimum, be a champion for the equality, rights, and empowerment of women and girls. Candidates for this important post should be carefully considered throughout the nomination
and confirmation process, and should have at least the following qualifications:

Qualifications and Experience

  • Commitment to gender equality and advancing the rights and opportunities of women and girls
  • Commitment to working with a broad range of governments, civil society, private sector, grassroots
    women’s and community-based organizations that represent various backgrounds and perspectives
  • Experience working in international affairs
  • Track record of advancing women’s empowerment
  • Commitment to opposing all forms of discrimination and violence, and to empowering vulnerable
    populations, including religious, racial and ethnic minorities; indigenous peoples; people with
    disabilities; LGBTQI; people living with HIV or AIDS; migrants, refugees and internally displaced people;
    older persons, married or unmarried adolescents and youth; widows; or people who are economically
  • Understanding of U.S. foreign policy and mechanisms used to implement commitments to gender equality
  • Knowledge of the Global Women’s Issues Office and a commitment to the Office’s mission and role
    within the U.S. Department of State
  • Understanding of the suite of current U.S. Government strategies for women and girls empowerment,
    such as the National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security, the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and
    Respond to Gender-Based Violence, U.S. Department of State Strategy for Women’s Economic
    Empowerment, the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls, and a willingness to implement
    and leverage those strategies within U.S. foreign policy
  • Commitment to U.S. government leadership in the global community and leveraging the UN system and
    other multinational institutions as a positive force for change for women and girls
  • Experience in applying non-partisan research, evidence and data as the basis of setting priorities and
    making decisions
  • Commitment to holistic and human-rights based programming approaches that advance the policy
    imperative of gender equality and female empowerment
  • Commitment to supporting and promoting women’s autonomous decision making over their bodies and
    their lives
  • Ability to bring about consensus to advance shared values and interests


Endorsing Organizations:
Action for Women and Children Concern (AWCC) Somalia
Advancing Girls’ Education in Africa
Advocacy, Research, Training and Services (ARTS) Foundation
Advocates for Youth
Alliance for Peace and Human Rights
American Academy of Nursing Expert Panel on Violence
ART WORKS Projects
Ba Futuru
Catholics for Choice
Coalition pour le Développement et la Réhabilitation Sociale, CODR UBUNTU
Collaborative Centre for Gender and Development (CCGD)
Council for Global Equality
Development Action Association
Equality Now
Femmes- Sante-Developpement (FESADE)
Forum for African Women Educationalist Kenya Chapter
Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria
Futures Without Violence
Girl Up
Global Rights for Women
Global Women’s Institute
Heartland Alliance International
U.S. National Committee for UN Women
Himiza Social Justice
Hope for the Needy Association (HOFNA) Cameroon
Human Rights Campaign
Human Rights Watch
The Hunger Project
Inclusive Security
Institute for International Law and Human Rights
International Action Network for Gender Equity and Law
International Center for Research on Women
International Rescue Committee
International Women’s Health Coalition
International Youth Foundation
Islamic Relief USA
Malkia Foundation
Men’s Story Project
Mercy Corps
National Organization for Women
OutRight Action International
Oxfam America
Peace is Loud
Plan International USA
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Population Council
Population Institute
Project Concern International
Regional Alliance for Fostering Youth – RAFY
Save the Children
Solidarity Center
Too Young To Wed
United States International Council on Disabilities
U.S. National Committee for UN Women
Vanuatu Young Women For Change
Vision Spring Initiatives
Vital Voices Global Partnership
VOICE 4 Girls
The Voices and Faces Project
Women for Women International
Women LEAD Nepal
Women-Concern Liberia
Women’s Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON)
Women Graduates-USA
Women’s Refugee Commission
Women Thrive Alliance
Youth Coalition Against Gender-based Violence – SEMERERA
Youth Empowerment and Leadership Initiative (YELI-Burundi)