Have you heard about the seven women mountain climbers from Nepal, who climbed Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska? Together this all-women team has climbed six of the seven summits of the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. Yesterday, Secretary Kerry met with the Seven Summits Women’s team in efforts to promote women’s empowerment, education, and environmental awareness. http://go.usa.gov/5Yqw 

Raising the Profile of Women’s Issues in Papua New Guinea


"I am a woman, hear me roar," could have been the informal motto of the Papua New Guinea Women’s Forum — a two-day powerhouse event organized by the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby and the Papua New Guinean Ministry of Community Development. You can read more about this forum on DipNote.

Did you know that 50% of Papua New Guinea women have experienced sexual assault? How can we better support women leaders and empower rural women, particularly in an environment with cultural norms that foster gender inequality?

Afghan Women on the March

On my very first trip to Kabul as secretary of state, I met Roya Mahboob, and she’s changing Afghanistan. Roya is chief executive of the software development firm Citadel. Roya is chief executive of the software development firm Citadel. She’s one of Afghanistan’s most successful Internet entrepreneurs. 

“You have to show everybody that men and women are equal,” Roya told Newsweek last year. “Women can do something if you allow them. Give them opportunity and they can prove themselves.”

Pakistani Field Hockey Players Celebrate 41st Anniversary of Title IX in the United States

Title IX changed sports and education forever for American girls and women. Read about how this female Pakistani hockey player came to the U.S. and saw firsthand the effects of women’s equality in this DipNote article: http://go.usa.gov/jcTj

Colombian Sports Visitors: On the Fast Track to Empowering Girls

Despite the early hour, 12 female athletes and two coaches, bright-eyed and dressed in matching blue and yellow track suits, visited us at the Department of State last week. They were eager to listen, ask questions, and share their experiences as teenage female athletes and Afro-Colombian students. Although the athletes had just met and came from three different cities, they already acted like teammates. Sports have a unique way of bringing people together.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs developed this fast-paced program as part of our Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative, to inspire and empower more women and girls to become involved in all aspects of sports. During their exchange, the track and field athletes ran side by side with their American counterparts in Washington, D.C., at Woodrow Wilson High School, and then traveled to Portland, Oregon, to work with other female athletes at the 2013 NCAA Track and Field National Championships. MORE

Delegation to India Promotes Women and Girls in Technology

Last week, the Department of State led a delegation of technology executives from U.S.-based companies to India to explore the challenges we face in fully engaging the potential of women in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector to meet the demands of our global economy.  Headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alyssa Ayres, the delegation visited government offices, universities, local and multinational companies, and industry groups in New Delhi and Bangalore. MORE

Public and Private Investments in Women and Girls Through the Equal Futures Partnership

April 18, 2013 - Washington DC., 2013 World Bank / IMF Spring Meetings. Equal Futures Partnership: Breaking Down Barriers to Women's Political and Economic Empowerment with World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim; U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Senior Advisor to the President of the United States Valerie Jarrett, moderated by World Bank Group Managing Director Caroline Anstey. Photo: Ryan Rayburn / World Bank

About the Author: Wenchi Yu serves in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.

On April 18, 2013, President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim co-hosted the second Equal Futures Partnership meeting, along with the U.S. Secretary of Treasury Jacob Lew, Senior Advisor to President Obama Valerie Jarrett, and National Economic Advisor to President Obama Gene Sperling on the margins of the World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C. The 13 founding members issued a report on progress made thus far, while six new country members joined the partnership with new commitments, and three more signaled intent to join at the next convening. Some of the new country… more »

Women Light the Way for Future Generations

Children study under a solar lamp, undated. [Photograph courtesy of Solar Sister/ Used by Permission]

About the Authors: Rachel Kastenberg serves as a Senior Advisor for the Secretary of State’s Global Partnerships Initiative, and Justin Sosne serves as a Senior Advisor in the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.

Most of us in the United States don’t think twice when we turn on a light to work late into the night or cook dinner without inhaling dangerous smoke. Yet, these everyday tasks are still out of reach for the estimated 1.3 billion people around the world who lack access to electricity, and the estimated 2.7 billion people without access to clean cooking facilities — 95 percent of whom are in either sub-Saharan Africa or Asia.

During Women’s… more »

First @StateDept Tweetup Spotlights International Women of Courage

Participants of the first @StateDept Tweetup pose for a photograph with Secretary of State John Kerry, Terese Heinz Kerry, and special guest First Lady Michelle Obama during the International Women of Courage Awards ceremony at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., March 8, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Richard Buangan serves as Director of Digital Engagement at the U.S. Department of State.

On March 8, Secretary of State John Kerry honored nine extraordinary women with the Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award, which recognizes women around the world who have shown exceptional leadership in advocating for women’s rights and empowerment, often at great personal risk.

Since the 2007, the U.S. Secretary of State has recognized 66 women from 44 countries with this award, and the annual ceremony has become an occasion that encourages all of us who work at the U.S. Department of State. One of the reasons the ceremony inspires us is the powerful stories these women have to tell. We want to share their stories and spotlight their achievements, and the use of social media…more »

Shoulder to Shoulder: Delivering Real Results for Women and Girls

USAID staff host International Women of Courage Awardees in Washington, DC, March 7, 2013.  Back row, from left: Fartuun Adan, Somalia; Summer Lopez, USAID; Franklin Moore, USAID; Beth Hogan, USAID; Ambassador Donald Steinberg, USAID; Kathleen Campbell, USAID; Amber Ussery, USAID; Front row, from left: Dr. Josephine Odumakin, Nigeria; Roberta Mahoney, USAID;  Julieta Castellanos, Honduras; Sarah Mendelson, USAID; Malalai Bahaduri, Afghanistan; Yelena Milashena, Russia, Key Freeman, USAID. [Photo by Pat Adams, USAID]

About the Author: Ambassador Donald Steinberg serves as Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Working to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment around the world can be a challenge. There are difficult days when you wonder if your efforts are having a real impact on the lives of women and girls facing violence, deprivation, discrimination and disempowerment on a daily basis. But when you have the opportunity to meet individuals fighting to create a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities, it makes it all worthwhile.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Yesterday, USAID was proud to host the International Women of Courage awardees. These remarkable… more »