Value Added: Women and U.S. Foreign Assistance for the 21st Century
Publication Date: July 2008
Special Collection: Presidential Advisory
Keywords: Presidential transition; Gender equality; Foreign aid reform
Coverage: United States
The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (M-FAN)1-- a group of U.S. think-tanks, academics and international nongovernmental organizations--recently called on Congress and the next U.S. president to reform U.S. foreign assistance for the 21st century. The M-FAN consensus argues that rather than subordinate global development to larger national security goals, the prototype for many years, U.S. foreign assistance must be realigned. M-FAN calls for global development and poverty reduction to be elevated to a level equal to diplomacy and defense, and to have the mandate and resources to be a principal instrument of U.S. engagement in the world. The consensus asserts that fighting global poverty is itself a contribution to long-term security because it addresses many of the root causes of political instability.
The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and Women Thrive Worldwide endorse this call for a new and expanded U.S. strategy for global development and poverty reduction, and we assert that the reform agenda will be even more effective if it takes women into account. This report proposes recommendations that add value to the M-FAN proposal by enhancing economic growth and reducing poverty through the promotion of women's empowerment and gender equality.