United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton kicked off the 100th celebration of International Women’s Day by announcing a new program to celebrate the future of women in the U.S. and abroad.
Clinton touted the “100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls through International Exchanges,” during an announcement on Monday. The initiative is designed to bring 100 female leaders from countries around the world to the U.S. during a year-long series of events.
“In the 21st century, statecraft cannot just be government-to-government. It has to be government-to-people, and most importantly, people-to-people. So we are always looking for opportunities to engage civil society, women, [and] youth,” Clinton said a written statement.
The 100 Women Initiative will highlight foreign policy issues that affect women and girls worldwide, according to Clinton.
“[T]his program represents just one of the ways that we at the State Department and in the Obama Administration are elevating the role of women and girls in our foreign policy,” Clinton said during the launch.
“We are working with the private sector to provide grants to NGOs in many countries in order to help women and girls. We are encouraging your governments and your own business sector to invest more in women and bring women into the financial system. We think that’s a good return on investment for those banks and other financial entities,” Clinton said.
The 100 Woman Initiative will include women from every corner of the world, according to the U.S State Department. The women will represent a number of backgrounds, including academia, law enforcement, media, government and the private sector.
The women will spend three weeks in the United States engaging with both political leaders and women on a community level. During the program, the women will travel around the U.S. with stops in Montana, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Louisiana, New York City, North Carolina, California, Florida and Washington, D.C.
“…This (program) is especially important for me because I believe strongly that every person — man and woman, boy and girl — has a God-given right to participate and to go as far as his or her hard work and talents will take them,” Clinton said.
The program is fitting for the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. Anything that promotes female achievement is positive, especially during times of economic and social uncertainty.
Meagan Morris is a freelance multimedia journalist who focuses her work around important cultural and women’s issues around the globe. Follow her on Twitter @upsidemeagan.