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Value Added: Women and U.S. Foreign Assistance for the 21st Century

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Publication Date: July 2008

Publisher(s): International Center for Research on Women; International Center for Research on Women

Author(s): Kathleen Selvaggio; Rekha Mehra; Ritu Sharma Fox; Geeta Rao Gupta

Special Collection: Presidential Advisory

Topic: International relations (International relief and humanitarian assistance)
Population and demographics (Women)

Keywords: Presidential transition; Gender equality; Foreign aid reform

Type: Report

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.