Clinton Unveils New Public-Private Award to Empower Women
The blending of causes with government (especially under the Obama Administration) took another big step today when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled a new “Secretary’s Innovation Award for Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment” at the Summit on Entrepreneurship. Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Innovation Award seeks to find and bring to scale the most pioneering approaches to the political, economic and social empowerment of women and girls around the globe.
The award is part of the State Department’s continuing emphasis on public-private partnerships, and is administered by its Office of Global Women’s Issues under Ambassador Melanne Verveer and is “founded on the premise that the major economic, security, governance and environmental challenges of our time cannot be solved without the full participation of women at all levels of society.” A panel of jurors, co-chaired by Ambassador Verveer and Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin, will assist in the selection of two award winners in 2010. Jury members include Cherie Blair, Beth Brooke, Paul Farmer, Noeleen Heyzer, Anne Mulcahy, Sheryl Sandberg, Sheryl WuDunn, and Muhammad Yunus. Each awardee will receive a grant of up to $500,000 with which to expand the scope of their idea. Remarked Secretary Clinton:
President Obama is committed to promoting entrepreneurship to help seed conditions for broader and deeper economic progress. And this week’s summit has focused on our efforts in Muslim majority countries. I know and you know that women are essential to this effort. There isn’t any way we can increase peace, prosperity, stability, and security throughout the world unless women are full partners – full partners in the home and the family, full partners in the community and the country and the world.
I believe so strongly that talent is universal, but opportunity is not. And what we’re doing is trying to pry open those doors of opportunity for more people to walk through – more people in Muslim majority countries and more women, specifically. Because the fact is that women still have a harder time accessing loans and equity capital investments. Women are still saddled with unfair and untrue assumptions that they are less capable of starting and running businesses. And these obstacles exist in the United States and they exist in every country in the world.
But we are determined to change that. Making women a focus of our foreign policy agenda here at the State Department comes naturally to me, but it’s not only the right thing to do; it is also the smart thing as well.
More information can be found on the State Department site.