President Obama knows that promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls at home and abroad is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do, as Secretary Clinton has famously said. A growing body of evidence- and our own experience- shows us that families, communities and countries are more prosperous and secure when, as President Obama said this month, “you unleash the power of everyone, not just some”. That’s why we’ve taken steps to achieve that simple and profound goal, from establishing the White House Council on Women and Girls, to launching a multilateral initiative to expand women’s political and economic participation, to developing a new strategy to prevent and respond to violence against women, to implementing a national action plan to promote the inclusion of women in conflict resolution and peace processes, to focusing on women and girls for greater impact in our global health and food security initiatives.
And Secretary Clinton’s leadership in integrating the advancement of women and girls into U.S. foreign policy has been indispensable. With the tireless assistance of our first-ever Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues, Melanne Verveer, she has elevated these issues in our diplomacy and ensured progress for women and societies for generations to come.
President Obama recognizes that in order to translate our commitment into impact we need dedicated professionals with the expertise and stature to lead our efforts and hold us accountable, which is why the Memorandum directs the Secretary of State to designate an Ambassador at Large reporting directly to the Secretary to head the office of Global Women’s Issues.