Tag Archives: women’s rights

As Obama Presidency Nears Finish, White House Continues to Work for Pay Equity, Announcing New Commitments to Equal Pay Pledge

Lily Ledbetter, for whom the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which made inroads to addressing the inequity of women’s pay, is named. Equal Pay has been an Administration priority since President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay into law as his first piece of legislation upon becoming president © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lilly Ledbetter, for whom the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which made inroads to addressing the inequity of women’s pay, is named. Equal Pay has been an Administration priority since President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay into law as his first piece of legislation upon becoming president © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

With the end of his presidency in sight, President Obama is working to accomplish as much progress as he could before the Donald Trump Administration comes in promising to undo it all. 

The White House offered this Fact Sheet Announcing New Commitments to the Equal Pay Pledge, a who’s who of the best places for women to work:

The White House launched the Equal Pay Pledge in June at the first-ever United State of Women Summit, encouraging companies from across the American economy to take action to advance equal pay. Today we are announcing new signatories to the White House Equal Pay Pledge and highlighting the critical role that businesses can play in reducing the national gender pay gap.

These 44 newly-committed employers bring the total number to more than one hundred companies and organizations that collectively employ millions of Americans. The new commitments are from a diverse range of employers, including AT&T, eBay, The Estée Lauder Companies, InterContinental Hotels Group, Mastercard, Yahoo, Square and Zillow Group.

Equal Pay has been an Administration priority since President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law as his first piece of legislation. Policies that ensure fair pay for all Americans and that help businesses to attract the strongest talent can not only narrow the pay gap, but also boost productivity and benefit our economy.

Today, women make up nearly half of the U.S. labor force and more women than ever are the breadwinners in their families. More women are also working in positions and fields that have been traditionally occupied by men. Yet in 2015, the typical woman working full-time all year in the United States earned only 80 percent of what the typical man earned working full-time all year. The pay gap is even greater for African American and Latina women, with African American women earning 63 cents and Latina women earning 54 cents for every dollar earned by a white non-Hispanic man. The gender wage gap continues to be a very real and persistent problem that continues to shortchange American women and their families.

EMPLOYERS FOR PAY EQUITY BUSINESS CONSORTIUM

This year on Women’s Equality Day, a group of White House Equal Pay Pledge employers formed an independent business consortium, Employers for Pay Equity—to help private industry players share best practices and develop better hiring, promotion, and pay policies. Today, Employers for Pay Equity is announcing a partnership with Simmons College to carry the consortium’s work forward. Simmons College will play a leading role in hosting the consortium to establish pay equity as a best business practice and a means to grow a more equitable workforce for all Americans.

These private sector companies and organizations share a commitment to equal pay and their pledges build on the Administration’s record of empowering women and girls.

By signing the Equal Pay Pledge, these employers are:

  • Acknowledging the critical role businesses must play in reducing the national pay gap.
  • Committing to conducting an annual company-wide gender pay analysis across occupations.
  • Reviewing hiring and promotion processes and procedures to reduce unconscious bias and structural barriers.
  • Embedding equal pay efforts into broader enterprise-wide equity initiatives.
  • Pledging to take these steps as well as identify and promote other best practices that will close the national wage gap to ensure fundamental fairness for all workers.

We thank all who have joined in this pledge and encourage the business community to continue to implement and uphold pay equity policies. 

*** 

WHITE HOUSE EQUAL PAY PLEDGE 

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first piece of legislation President Obama signed into law. Policies that ensure fair pay for all Americans and that help businesses attract the strongest talent can not only narrow the gender pay gap, but also boost productivity and benefit our economy. Yet, the typical woman working full-time all year in the United States only earns 80 percent of what a typical man working full-time all year earns. While the gap has narrowed slightly over the past few years, there is much more work to be done to ensure fair pay for all. 

Building on the Administration’s numerous actions to close the national pay gap, the White House challenged businesses to take the Equal Pay Pledge. Several U.S. private sector companies have come together in support of advancing equal pay. 

*** 

We received a very positive response to the pledge and welcome our new signatories, including the employers below. 

These signatories put forth their pledges as follows: 

Equal Pay Pledge 

  • Adobe is proud to join the list of companies committed to equal pay.  Paychecks are important, not only because they cover the needs of employees and their families, but also because they are an important indicator of fair treatment. Gender should have no part in driving pay decisions.

We have already reported our U.S. pay data relative to gender and race, and we will continue to report our pay data annually.  This equal pay commitment is part of a larger diversity and inclusion strategy with three key areas of focus:  building a diverse talent pipeline; broadening our recruiting efforts to ensure a diverse candidate pool; and helping all employees grow once they are part of Adobe.

Investing to bring out the best in everyone, regardless of gender or background, contributes to the success of the business and the most important asset – our people.

  • Amalgamated Bank is proud to take the White House Equal Pay pledge to keep compensation fair, to practice our own values of fairness, diversity and inclusion, and to never stop looking for ways to do better.  We believe that pay equality isn’t an accomplishment, it’s standard operating procedure.  For nearly 100 years, Amalgamated Bank has been the progressive bank for the progressive community.  We strive to lead by example among financial institutions and ensure equal access to financial services for all people, which also means that our own employees receive equal pay for equal work.  By helping those both inside and outside the bank who do good do better, we believe everyone benefits.
  • AT&T’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has been visible and steadfast for nearly half a century. It dates back to the establishment of our Supplier Diversity Program in 1968, and our first Employee Resource Group in 1969.  Today, more than 120,000 employees have active memberships in our Employee Resource Groups and Employee Networks.

Diversity and inclusion is essential to our culture and our success. It fosters big ideas, fresh perspectives and opportunities, and bold leadership.  It plays an essential role in innovation, and it helps us play a more vital role in our communities.  Engaging in practices that support diversity, inclusion, and equality is a basic part of how we do business.

Signing on to the White House Equal Pay Pledge reinforces and validates what we already deliver to our employees:  equal pay for comparable work, experience and performance, regardless of gender, race, religion, or age. We’re proud to continue the practices that have created our fair and equitable workplace.

  • Autodesk today announces that we are signing the White House Equal Pay Pledge. Autodesk looks at inclusion comprehensively—how we attract, retain and develop top talent; how we include the widest range of entrepreneurs and developers using our software in our ecosystem; and how we expand opportunity globally to underrepresented segments of society. Equal pay is at the foundation of inclusion—this means we consider all of our employees, with all of the dimensions of diversity that they bring, whole contributing members of our organization deserving of equal compensation.

We currently conduct an annual review our compensation packages based on gender and ethnicity, but we recognize there is still much more to do and that signing this pledge is a commitment to ongoing self-reflection and analysis as an organization, which is why we do not take this lightly. In addition to a commitment to equal pay, our signature is also a commitment to creating and maintaining an inclusive environment where people can contribute fully and achieve personal and professional success.

  • Colgate-US has long been highly committed to the principles of fairness and equity the White House Equal Pay Pledge serves to support and is proud to add its name to the number of organizations taking this pledge.
  • eBay – For more than 20 years, eBay has sought to build a company that supports Connected Commerce – commerce that is enabled by people, supported by technology, and open to everyone.  In accordance with our vision, we believe deeply that we must have a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace to ensure we reflect the perspectives of the tens of millions of customers that we serve globally.  That’s why eBay is proud to join with the White House in pledging to close the gender wage gap.We at eBay are committed to ensuring that we pay our people fairly based on their role, contribution and impact – not on factors unrelated to the work they do.  We have supported strategic initiatives, like our Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) and eBay Women in Technology (eWIT), that aim to support gender diversity in our workplace and the ability of women to build lasting, successful careers at our company.  Additionally, in early 2016, we undertook an extensive, global study of gender pay equity that considered the main components of compensation.  We are pleased to report that our study found pay parity between male and female employees.

    Going forward, we are committed to conducting on-going reviews of our compensation practices and, when necessary, we will take appropriate action to make sure that our employees continue to be paid fairly and equitably.  Ongoing commitment to equal pay principles is essential to ensuring we deliver on this pledge, and we will continue to review our practices globally to make sure we are creating the best possible workplace for all of our employees.

  • Edison International, we understand that diversity of thought is fueled by diversity of people engaged in an inclusive and fair work environment. We are committed to ensuring that gender pay equity is a part of the fairness experienced by all of our employees. Therefore, we are pleased to sign the White House Equal Pay Pledge.

We are a diverse company that succeeds when our employees are able to bring their best selves to the workplace. The ability to attract, retain, and develop a diverse workforce allows us to leverage our unique experiences, better reflect the communities we serve, and ensure equity and inclusion that benefits both our company and our customers.

As part of our pledge, we commit to continue our annual review of compensation, which is used to understand any potential gaps in pay and to take action when appropriate. In addition, Edison International aims to further increase equal employment opportunities and to break down employment barriers by continually seeking diverse representation in our hiring and promotional opportunities. We continue to analyze and evolve our pay practices and market demands for talent and to foster an inclusive work environment where our employees can fully contribute, find opportunities for advancement, and feel valued.

  • The Estée Lauder Companies is honored to partner with the White House in its effort to promote gender equality in the workplace.

As a Company founded by a pioneering entrepreneur, Mrs. Estée Lauder, we are proud to continue her legacy of empowering women, supporting families, and promoting equality.

Founded on strong family values 70 years ago, we have always believed that our people are our greatest asset. We take pride in maintaining a unique, creative and diverse workforce where everyone’s contributions are fairly rewarded.  We are proud that women constitute 85% of our employees worldwide, with 50% of our senior vice president positions and above in the U.S. held by women.

We understand that equal pay not only affects women but also their families, their communities, and our shared economy. By signing the Equal Pay Pledge, we are underscoring our commitment to ensure that all women and men are compensated fairly in terms of capabilities and experience.

We remain committed to providing a dynamic and supportive workplace for all our employees to foster their growth, success and well-being.

  • Exelon is pleased to sign the White House Equal Pay Pledge and we are committed to doing all we can to help close the national gender pay gap. Research shows that the typical American working woman makes 79% of what the typical working man makes – this translates to a loss of $500,000 over her lifetime. For Latino and African American women this cumulative loss nearly doubles. Diversity and inclusion is critical to Exelon’s success and our workforce programs must include transparency and fairness. As a result, we are joining other leading companies and conducting an annual audit of compensation, hiring and promotion practices. Through these efforts, Exelon is stating unequivocally that we value every worker, male and female. Advancing pay equity is not simply good business practice, but the right thing to do.
  • The Honest Company is honored to sign the White House Equal Pay Pledge and join the other companies who have taken on this economic and social imperative.  Our mission – to empower people to live a happy & healthy life – is at the heart of our business, and our company culture embodies our name: Honesty, Transparency, Openness. This applies both to how we treat our consumers as well as our employees. Diversity and gender equity are strategic pillars for our organization, and we are committed to ensuring all employees benefit from a workplace that is inclusive and fair. We are proud to stand with the White House and other companies who share these values.
  • InterContinental Hotels Group: Our ambition is to be number one for guests, owners and colleagues. A critical part of this ambition is our commitment to upholding equitable compensation practices regardless of race, gender or ethnicity. That’s why we are pleased to sign the White House pledge.
  • Mastercard: We believe that diversity and inclusion are essential to creating an inclusive environment for our colleagues, helping them to better serve our customers worldwide. At the same time, to ensure that our employees reflect the customers we serve and today, we source talent from numerous industries and backgrounds.

We are committed to this important pledge and will continue to review and enhance our policies and practices to ensure they reflect our values and connecting our employees to “Priceless Possibilities.” Our “Whole You” program is based on the premise of providing benefits to employees at different stages of life both at work and outside of work.

  • MWWPR was founded 30 years ago on progressive ideals that continue to fuel our vision, inspire our progress, and motivate our employees today. Our agency’s ethos of “Matter More” serves as our guiding principle – we strive to not only help our clients matter more to the people who matter most, but to ensure that all our employees feel valued for the contributions they make.

Engaging and retaining our incredible staff is our agency’s highest priority, and demonstrating fairness and inclusion is fundamental to our talent strategy. Our management committee is comprised of a majority of women, many of whom actively mentor junior female colleagues, and we regularly review our hiring and promotion processes to ensure we are evaluating and rewarding all employees equally.

For MWWPR, signing the Equal Pay Pledge is an important next step in demonstrating our commitment to our people, and we are honored to be the first public relations firm to take the pledge. We hope to inspire our colleagues in the industry to make a similar commitment, and are proud to stand with other leaders in the business community as we continue prioritizing equality and transparency across our agency.

  • Nestlé in the US: At Nestlé, we value our employees’ health and wellness, which includes the opportunity to work in an environment where one feels empowered, appreciated and respected.  Enhancing gender balance in our workforce is one of our company’s core societal commitments, globally and in the U.S., which is why each of our operating companies in the US is pleased to reaffirm our commitments by signing the White House Equal Pay Pledge.2016 marks Nestlé’s 150th year in business and we know that in order to be in business for the next 150, we must promote inclusive opportunities that respect the contribution of all of our employees.  Nestlé believes that striving towards equal pay, fair hiring, retention and promotion practices, and investing in leadership and professional development opportunities for women is good for our people, our consumers and our business.  We remain dedicated to enhancing gender balance in our workforce. To that end, we will continue to invest in programs including providing support for dual-career spouses as part of our International Dual Career Network, hosting networking events in conjunction with the Network of Executive Women Leadership Summit, continuing to find opportunities to publicly celebrate the accomplishments of our women executives throughout our businesses and encouraging eligible employees to take advantage of our Parent Support Policy, which offers up to 14 weeks of paid leave for primary caregivers with the option of extending unpaid leave up to six months.

    Each Nestlé business in the US will continue to review its hiring practices, assessments, and promotion decisions at the business level on an annual basis and work towards improving our ability to achieve gender balance and foster an equitable environment for all of our employees.

  • New Belgium Brewing is proud to sign on to the White House Equal Pay Pledge. As a 100% employee owned company, we know that when we take care of one another our workplace and our business are healthier. We’re proud to have women and men in every part of our company working side by side, earning wages that reflect our commitment to equal pay, advancement based on merit, and a spirit of community.
  • SoulCycle: Led by a female CEO and founded by two women, SoulCycle’s commitment to supporting and advancing women has always been part of the company’s DNA. The support and respect that we extend to each rider who walks through our 67 studio doors extends to our company-wide culture.  We’re committed to nurturing the health and happiness of all of our team members, and that includes our hiring practices and compensation.  As a company, we understand the importance of supporting and advancing women throughout their careers, and we know that our team thrives when they’re compensated fairly for their contributions.  We’re proud that women make up 86% of our studio leadership.

We applaud the White House for its efforts to eliminate the gender wage gap and promote equal pay.  We pledge to continue taking action individually and collectively as a team to pay equality.

  • Square is proud to sign the Equal Pay Pledge as a natural extension of our existing commitment to pay equity.  Square was built on the principle of inclusion which is reflected not only in the products and services that we provide to our sellers, but also in our internal policies and work environment.  We strive to recruit, retain, promote, and compensate our employees on the basis of their qualifications, performance, and potential.  We also work with our managers and employees in efforts to prevent gender-based bias from entering the workplace.  Most of all, we are committed to continually reviewing our policies and practices to identify and act upon further opportunities for improvement—we will always strive for inclusion, fairness, and equality.
  • Workday – Since day one, we’ve embraced diversity – including different experiences, perspectives, insights, backgrounds, and skills – because it fuels innovation, and creates a broader connection to the world. We believe that all employees deserve equal pay, and an equal chance to succeed. That’s why we’re proud to join the White House in signing the Equal Pay Pledge, as it supports our ongoing commitment to close the gender wage gap.As part of this commitment, we’ve developed reporting capabilities within our product that can uncover and potentially address the gender wage gap. We and many of our customers use these reporting capabilities to evaluate our pay practices to ensure our employees are compensated fairly. Knowledge is power, and we believe that technology can provide the information organizations need to create a more equal and inclusive workplace.
  • Yahoo, with more than one billion unique users across the world each month, has a distinct opportunity to leverage the power of our platforms to advance inclusion and diversity at the company, and across the tech industry. We recognize that building an inclusive and diverse workplace is more than a theoretical goal. It is a mission-critical business imperative that we must address with the same level of urgency and commitment that we apply to other strategic initiatives. And pay equity is a critical and inextricable component of this mission.

We are proud to have been recognized in 2015-2016 for our strides in paving the way for gender equality (Watermark Index Award winner), for being a best place to work for LGBT employees (scoring 100% on Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for the tenth year in a row), for being a best place to work for parents (named by Elle Magazine and Fatherly.com), and by being named as an employer whose work significantly impacts communication access for people with hearing loss (receiving the National Access Award by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)).

  • Zillow Group is honored to sign the White House Equal Pay Pledge and join other companies who are committed to this effort. Zillow Group evaluates pay equity twice a year, is building out training to be aware of our unconscious biases, and reviews hiring and promotion processes. We are constantly striving to ensure that our compensation and benefits package matches our values of inclusion and equity. In addition to our generous maternity and parental leave policies, Zillow Group offices have designated nursing rooms, fully equipped with hospital grade pumps and fridges. Since 2010, we have offered free overnight breast milk shipping for nursing mothers on business trips. As a company, we invest in our people since they are investing in us. We believe the private sector plays a critical role in reducing the national pay gap and are proud of our internal efforts to provide gold-star benefits and gender pay equity for all our employees.

WE ARE ALSO JOINED BY THE FOLLOWING BUSINESSES:

  • Association of Equipment Manufacturers
  • AttainIT
  • Avanade Inc.
  • Avila Retail
  • Branding Brand
  • Cava Grill
  • DCode42
  • GBD Architects Incorporated
  • Global Experience Specialists
  • Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc
  • Hired, Inc.
  • Margaux’s Bookkeeping, Inc.
  • Omada Health
  • Periscope Data
  • RizePoint
  • Robinson & Kardonsky, P.C.
  • Spottswoode Winery
  • Stanton Chase International
  • Teslights LLC.
  • Thrive Global
  • Venesco LLC
  • Vmware
  • Vonage
  • WP Engine

BUILDING ON A RECORD OF SUPPORTING WORKING FAMILIES

Since taking office, President Obama and his Administration have taken a number of actions to support working families and combat the pay gap, including:

  • Publishing a final regulation by the Department of Health and Human Services to implement the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014. The program provides subsidies to working families and last year provided services for roughly 1.4 million children aged 0-13, most of whom are younger than 5. The rule, which has not been comprehensively revised since 1998, will provide a roadmap to states on how to implement the new law and clarify ambiguities around provisions that deal with eligibility for services; health and safety requirements; and how best to support the needs of parents and providers as they transition to the new law.  It also clarifies that worker organizations can provide professional development to child care workers and contribute to discussions around the rates states set for subsidies.
  • Signing his first piece of legislation as President, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pair Act, in January 2009 making it easier for employees to challenge unfair pay practices.
  • Creating the National Equal Pay Task Force in January 2010 to implement his pledge to crack down on violations of equal pay laws, which included representatives from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, and the Office of Personnel Management. The Task Force has issued reports on its progress, including Fighting for Equal Pay in the WorkforceKeeping America’s Women Moving Forward, andFifty Years After the Equal Pay Act.  In addition, since the creation of the Equal Pay Task Force in 2010, the EEOC has received over 18,000 charges of sex-based pay discrimination, and through its independent enforcement efforts, the EEOC has obtained over $140 million in monetary relief for victims of pay discrimination on the basis of sex.
  • Calling on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, commonsense legislation that would strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 by closing loopholes in the defenses for equal pay violations, providing stronger remedies, and expanding protections against discrimination for employees who share or inquire about information about their compensation at work.
  • Signing a Presidential Memorandum in May 2013 directing the Office of Personnel Management to develop a government-wide strategy to address the gender pay gap in the federal workforce, leading to a report in April 2014 and new guidance in July 2015—which cautioned against reliance on a candidate’s existing salary to set pay, as it can potentially adversely affect women who may have taken time off from their careers or propagate gaps due to discriminatory pay practices by previous employers.
  • Issuing an Executive Order in April 2014 and publishing a Department of Labor rule in September 2015 prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees who discuss or inquire about their compensation.
  • Announcing a White House Equal Pay Pledge, with more than 50 leading businesses signing on to take action to advance equal pay.  By signing the pledge, these companies are committing to conduct an annual company-wide gender pay analysis, review hiring and promotion processes, embed equal pay efforts in broader equity initiatives, and identify and promote best practices that will close the wage gap.
  • Hosting a White House Summit on Working Families in June 2014, highlighting the issues that women and families face, setting the agenda for a 21st century workplace, and announcing of a number of steps to help working families thrive.
  • Hosting the United State of Women Summit in June 2016, highlighting the progress that has been made over the course of this Administration and discussing public and private sector solutions to the challenges that still lie ahead.
  • Signing a Presidential Memorandum in January 2015 directing federal agencies to advance six weeks of paid sick leave to federal employees with new children, calling on Congress to grant another six weeks of paid leave for federal employees, and calling on Congress to pass legislation that gives all American families access to paid family and medical leave.
  • Publishing a final Department of Labor rule in May updating outdated overtime regulations, expanding overtime pay protections to 4.2 million additional Americans, boosting wages for workers by $12 billion over the next 10 years, and allowing workers to better balance their work and family obligations.
  • Issuing an Executive Order in February 2014 requiring federal contractors to raise their minimum wage initially to $10.10 an hour, indexing it, and lifting the tipped minimum wage (which disproportionately impacts women)—and urging Congress, states, cities, and businesses to do the same.
  • Directing the Office of Personnel Management and federal agencies to enhanceworkplace flexibility for federal employees to the maximum extent practicable, including enshrining a right to request flexible work arrangements.
  • Signing into law the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, which requires agencies to support and establish policies for telework by eligible employees.
  • Calling on Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would require employers to make reasonable accommodations to workers who have limitations from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions (unless it would impose an undue hardship on the employer). The legislation would also prohibit employers from forcing pregnant employees to take paid or unpaid leave if a reasonable accommodation would allow them to work.
  • Finalizing a Department of Labor rule updating its sex discrimination guidelinesfor federal contractors for the first time since 1978, to align with current law and address barriers to equal opportunity and pay, such as pay discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environments, a lack of workplace accommodations for pregnant women, and gender identity and family caregiving discrimination.
  • Collecting summary employee pay data from certain employers to improve investigations of possible pay discrimination, which remains a contributing factor to persistent wage gaps. Starting March 2018, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will add the summary pay data to the annual Employer Information Report or EEO-1 report that is coordinated by the EEOC and the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
  • Announcing the Department of Labor’s award of $54 million in “Strengthening Working Families” grants to help low- to middle-skilled parents access the affordable, quality child care they need to earn an education, participate in training programs, and compete for better-paying jobs in emergency industries.
  • Expanding access for women to higher-paying jobs through a proposed rule updating equal employment opportunity requirements in registered apprenticeships and through a Mega-Construction Projects (MCP) Initiative at the Department of Labor.

Clinton Global Initiative Ends 12-Year Run with Global Impact Affecting 435 Million People

 

President Bill Clinton, at the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative, acknowledges the partners who have made commitments on behalf of Haiti © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Bill Clinton, at the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative, acknowledges the partners who have made commitments to rebuild Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake  © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

I am so sick of Donald Trump and his sleezy band of “surrogates” attacking the Clinton Foundation as if it were run in the same way and for the same purpose as the corrupt and self-serving Trump Foundation, rather than being the catalyst for sustainable development that has meaningfully lifted millions out of poverty, provided life-saving medications and vaccines, expanded health care and educational opportunities, fostered the cultural changes to lift up women and girls and reduce gender violence and inequality. And that’s just for starters.

At an emotional Closing Plenary Session of the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative – the annual meeting that brings together philanthropists, corporations, government leaders and non-governmental organizations to partner together on sustainable projects that actually help solve the intractable problems of the world, from poverty to gender inequality to conflict resolution -, President Clinton delivered a personal reflection on what the last 15 years of the Clinton Foundation have meant to him and discussed how CGI helped redefine philanthropy.

“It has been one of the great honors of my life. You are living proof that good people committed to create cooperation have almost unlimited positive impact to help people today and give our kids better tomorrows. I have spent the last 15 years of my life working to advance that idea,” President Clinton said at the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
“It has been one of the great honors of my life. You are living proof that good people committed to create cooperation have almost unlimited positive impact to help people today and give our kids better tomorrows. I have spent the last 15 years of my life working to advance that idea,” President Clinton said at the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“It has been one of the great honors of my life. You are living proof that good people committed to create cooperation have almost unlimited positive impact to help people today and give our kids better tomorrows. I have spent the last 15 years of my life working to advance that idea,” President Clinton said.

During the three days of the gathering, CGI “members” (who are obligated to make and implement commitments) discussed and announced 96 new Commitments to Action to continue driving progress on pressing global issues, including preventing the spread of Zika, addressing the refugee crisis in Syria, reducing violence against women in the developing world, peacebuilding in post-conflict areas, and strengthening business supply chains so that companies can do well by doing good.

What started with 600 commitments in 100 countries in CGI’s first two years has since grown to more than 3,600 commitments spanning more than 180 countries, which have improved the lives of over 435 million people. The impact of CGI will continue through the work of CGI members who are implementing their Commitments to Action.  When fully funded and implemented, commitments announced by CGI members over the past 11 years will ensure that:

  • More than 52 million childrenhave access to a better education.
  • More than 33 million peoplehave increased access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
  • More than 13 million girls and womenhave been supported through empowerment initiatives.
  • More than $1.6 billionhas been invested or loaned to small- and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Nearly 35 million peoplehave access to information technologies.
  • More than 50 million farmers or small-scale producers have gained access toinputs, supports, and markets
  • More than 8 million people have gained skills to cope with the risks of environmental stress and natural disasters.
  • More than 401 million acres of foresthave been protected or restored.
  • Nearly 4 million clean jobs have been created.
  • More than 114 million peoplehave increased access to maternal and child health and survival programs.
  • More than $318 million in research and development funds has been spent on new vaccines, medicines, and diagnostics.

“I started CGI in 2005 because I believed people wanted to come together and work together to solve big problems and seize key opportunities.,” said President Clinton. “It has changed the landscape of modern philanthropy. Putting ideas into action is no longer the exception but the rule. I look forward to seeing new Commitments to Action announced which will continue to improve lives long into the future.”

“Every year, CGI’s Annual Meeting has been a place where we see unlikely partnerships form – in the hallways, at a discussion table, or right on stage,” said Chelsea Clinton. “I’m excited to see what partnerships emerge this year to tackle challenges in education, global health and development broadly – and to look back and continue to learn from the impact of CGI partnerships through the years on pivotal issues like Ebola relief, disaster response, increased opportunities for girls and women, climate change, and sustainable economic development.”

CGI built a forum for government, business, and civil society to come together and turn ideas into action through the Commitment to Action model — the defining feature of CGI. Since the first Annual Meeting in 2005, CGI has brought together nearly 190 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of business, philanthropic, non-profit leaders, and influential civic voices. Timed to continue the dialogue on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the CGI Annual Meeting has guided members to expand and replicate proven solutions to pressing challenges.

At the meeting, several CGI members expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the work of CGI within their remarks, including:

Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women for Women International, said, “I have been a proud member of CGI since 2005. I have witnessed its unique, practical, and measurable contributions in the world, the opportunities it created for marginalized voices to be heard, and how it helped push social issues otherwise ignored to the limelight. This may be the last Annual Meeting, but the work and the spirit of President Clinton’s mission and the CGI committed community will live on forever.”

The theme of CGI is “Turning Ideas Into Action,” and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever noted, “the Clinton Global Initiative has done much more than that. It has been an enormous convening power to bring people together who otherwise would not have come together.”

“The question you need to ask them is it’s not just about how to innovate, but how to innovate and develop a business model which produces global access to that idea. Because innovation that nobody gets access to is not innovation,” said Andrew Witty, Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline

Madeleine K. Albright, chair , Albright Stonebridge Group chairs panel with Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of ONE Campaign; John R. Allen, Brookings Institution, Frederica Mogherini, European Union; Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Nigeria © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Madeleine K. Albright, chair , Albright Stonebridge Group chairs panel with Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of ONE Campaign; John R. Allen, Brookings Institution, Frederica Mogherini, European Union; Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Nigeria © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“The truth is you cannot find a more dedicated group of problem solvers, visionaries and altruists anywhere in the world than at CGI,” Madeleine Albright, Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group, said. “The Clinton Foundation had done more to help alleviate poverty and disease, and further global development than any platform I know.”

(See: Clinton Global Initiative Has Been Catalyst to Solving World’s Most Intractable Problems)

21 years after a heinous massacre in Sbrebrenica, Bosnia, Bill Clinton brings together Aleksander Vucic, Prime Minister of Serbia Camil Durakovic, Mayor of Sbrebrenica, to discuss how to reach reconciliation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
21 years after a heinous massacre in Sbrebrenica, Bosnia, Bill Clinton brings together Aleksander Vucic, Prime Minister of Serbia Camil Durakovic, Mayor of Sbrebrenica, to discuss how to reach reconciliation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The final CGI was a kind of valedictory, reflecting back on what has been achieved, and in some ways, ending up the way it started, with a strong focus on Women and Girls (because when women succeed, society succeeds), and conflict resolution, with extremely stirring presentations that featured Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister, Serbia, together with Camil Durakovic, Mayor, Municipality of Srebrenica who have managed to come together 21 years after the massacre at Srebrenica, and Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, President, Colombia, honored as with a Global Citizen Award for

Advija Ibrahimovic, Survivor of the Srebrenica Genocide © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Advija Ibrahimovic, Survivor of the Srebrenica Genocide © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

making peace after 50 years of civil war; Advija Ibrahimovic a survivor of Srebrenica, who presented a Global Citizen Award to Nadia Mura for the courage to tell her story of being kidnapped and exploited by ISIS who after her escape has become a voice for the thousands of women and children who have been trafficked in situations of conflict.

Nadia Murad, a survivor of ISIS terror, has dedicated herself to rescue the thousands of women and girls who have been trafficked in situations of conflict. Honored with a Clinton Global Citizen Award, she also has been named a UN Goodwill Ambassador. © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Nadia Murad, a survivor of ISIS terror, has dedicated herself to rescue the thousands of women and girls who have been trafficked in situations of conflict. Honored with a Clinton Global Citizen Award, she also has been named a UN Goodwill Ambassador. © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

(See: Five are Honored with Global Citizen Awards at Final Clinton Global Initiative)

 

What can the Trump Foundation show? It does not have a legal certificate to solicit the millions of dollars, does not spend Donald’s own money but takes credit for others’ contributions, uses contributions to bolster his business and his personal reputation. He went on TV to solicit funds for veterans groups (as an excuse to not show up at a Republican debate) but only actually gave up the money after being exposed by the press (illegal to do that). He used his contribution to sway the Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi from investigating the Trump University fraud. Donald Trump has launched a new personal attack saying “follow the money”. Well here it is:

Among the new commitment announcements from the 12th and final Annual Meeting were those addressing critical issues such as the refugee crisis and the containment of infectious diseases like Zika, and a score of commitments aimed at addressing violence against women and gender inequality.

Here are details of just some of the commitments, in the hopes they will provide models for others to follow after there is no more Clinton Global Initiative to catalyze such partnerships, to inspire and to monitor and bring them to fruition:

  • U.ME.WE Campaign 
    Commitment by: Ubuntu Education Fund
    Partner(s): Colin Cowie Events; De Agostini SpA; Eastern Cape Province Department of Health; Knowledge is Power Program; McKinsey & Company

    PROGRESS REPORT: In 2012, Ubuntu Education Fund committed to launch the U.ME.WE. Campaign, a three year, $25 million initiative to provide long-term financial stability and develop the Ubuntu Centre in Port Elizabeth, South Africa into a world class health and education campus, transforming the lives of 2,000 children and their families from cradle to career.  Led by an experienced and dedicated medical team, the organization’s health program offered comprehensive HIV/TB services from testing to adherence support, sexual and reproductive health interventions, primary care, and nutritional support. Ubuntu has provided well over 24,200 medical services to 2,000 of Port Elizabeth, South Africa’s most vulnerable children, as well as piloted an early childhood development program that has grown from 38 to 148 children, created a university preparation program for Grade 12 scholars, and enhanced household security through Ubuntu’s Family Support Specialists.  Through this Clinton Global Initiative commitment, the organization has ensured that the birthplaces of 2,000 orphaned and vulnerable children living in Port Elizabeth’s townships do not have to determine their futures.

  • Amplifying the Voices of Poor Women to Create Inclusive Cities 
    Commitment by: Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPARC)
    Partner(s): Arghyam; Cities Alliance; Shack/Slum Dwellers International; Tata Trusts; United Cities and Local Governments Africa

    NEW: In 2016, the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPARC) and their partners committed to amplify the voices of slum dwellers in Odisha and Maharashtra, India. Over the next three years, SPARC, in collaboration with partners and local governments, will train local informal residents and collect previously absent and unattainable citywide slum data, while developing projects to address the priority issue areas articulated by residents in seven towns with the greatest demonstrated WASH and vulnerable housing needs in India. The participation and leadership of slum dwellers is key to demonstrating inclusive and equitable city development planning, which should incorporate the participation of and reflect the needs of resident slum dwellers, from start to finish. Ultimately, this Commitment to Action will impact more than 1,300,000 slum dwellers in more than 1,000 slum communities throughout India.

  • Increasing Adoption of Clean Energy Technology in Mozambique
    Commitment by: Edp – Energias De Portugal, S.A.
    Partner(s): OIKOS – Cooperação e Desenvolvimento; Leigos para o Desenvolvimento; SAN-JFS

    NEW: In 2016, EDP – Energias de Portugal, S.A. committed to launch a program that will promote community adoption and integration of electricity in the village of Titimane in Mozambique. Titimane will gain access to electricity for the first time through the development of a renewable-energy powered mini-grid. While this new access to clean energy will promote sustainable economic development, EDP is well aware of the challenges off-grid villages face in transitioning away from previous energy sources and adopting new clean energy technologies. Working with two local NGO implementation partners, EDP will develop an integrated behavior-based economic development approach that will enable all 4,000 members of the community to leverage this new access to electricity by providing comprehensive outreach, training and community programming over 2.5 years in four focus areas: entrepreneurship, education, health, and community empowerment.

  • Haiti Commitment Cluster
    PROGRESS REPORT: Approximately 30 organizations who have made commitments through the Haiti Action Network will announce progress and celebrate the over 100 commitments that have been made to benefit Haiti, including commitments made by Habitat for Humanity, Heifer Project International, Heineken, Marriot International, Inc., The Timberland Company, and West Elm. New commitments will also be announced to improve Haiti’s education, expand economic opportunity, and increase sustainability.
  • Tackling Childcare: Good for Business and Development
    Commitment by: IFC
    Partner(s): Aeromexico; Afrifresh; Axiata Group; Bauducco; Care.com, Inc.; Danone; Dialog Axiata Plc; EY; Grupo M; HBL Bank; HCL Technologies Limited; Institute for Women’s Policy Research; International Labour Organization; Kidogo; MAS Holdings (Pvt) Ltd.; Pepsico; Safaricom Limited; Sumimoto Chemical

    Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
    Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

    NEW: In 2016, IFC (a member of the World Bank Group), brought together a group of private sector companies operating in a variety of different business sectors in emerging as well as developed markets to identify and implement childcare solutions that are good for business, employees, and communities. Private sector partners commit to at least three gender smart measures from a menu of options that focus on substantiating the business case for employer-supported childcare and putting this business case into practice. Strategic partners will provide knowledge, best practices, lessons learned, and data to help the private sector commitment members realize their commitments. The Tackling Childcare Secretariat housed in IFC will provide technical expertise, host learning events, provide communications opportunities, and compile the group’s learning on how employer-supported childcare can work in different regions, industries, and business environments in a global best practice “Tackling Childcare” report on employer-supported childcare. Ultimately, the commitment aims to directly impact the lives of working parents in participating organization, improve learning and awareness about the business case and best practices for employer-supported childcare, and encourage others to start or scale up their own employer-supported childcare efforts.

    Chelsea Clinton announces a commitment to help save elephants by curbing demand for ivory © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
    Chelsea Clinton announces a commitment to help save elephants by curbing demand for ivory © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
  • The New Luxury: Catalyzing Influencers to Curb Global Ivory
    Commitment by: Save the Elephants
    Partner(s): Tiffany & Co.; Marc Jacobs International; DNA Model Management; Edelman; Doutzen Kroes

    NEW: In 2016, Save the Elephants, in partnership with Elephants Action Network Members, the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, and leading industry influencers including Tiffany & Co., Marc Jacobs International, DNA Model Management, Edelman, and Doutzen Kroes committed to the creation of a multi-stakeholder campaign leveraging their global taste-making status to curb the demand for elephant ivory in key buying markets. Fashion influencers, those brands and individuals who create and steward the goods and preferences that are so central to consumers’ identities, will communicate out their commitments to ivory-free products and lifestyles via a range of media platforms. Influencers will simultaneously drive $1 million in donations to the Elephant Crisis Fund, which supports anti-poaching efforts facing immediate need, via the unified #knotonmyplanet campaign. This messaging overtly links the consumption of ivory with the killing of elephants, and along with tailored influencer-created assets, will target populations in the United States and high-ivory demand East Asian countries at strategic intervals.

  • Igniting Ideas for Greece’s Future: The Angelopoulos 100 (CGI Annual Meeting 2016)
    Commitment by: Gianna Angelopoulos

    NEW: In 2016, Ambassador Gianna Angelopoulos committed to scaling up her efforts to develop young Greek social entrepreneurs by recruiting, selecting, training, and supporting 100 Angelopoulos Fellows in implementing and sustaining projects that address Greece’s major challenges. Due to the financial crisis that has plagued Greece for almost a decade, career opportunities are limited and well educated young Greeks are quickly leaving the country. This commitment will connect young Greeks with relevant experts, mentorship opportunities, access to capital, and connections to international contacts and conferences to support them in their entrepreneurial endeavors. Creating an extensive, ongoing community network for the 100 Fellows will assist them in developing successful social enterprises that will positively impact communities across Greece.

  • Disabilities: Social & Financial Inclusion for Women & Girls
    Commitment by: Keystone Human Services
    Partner(s): Czech Development Agency; East European Foundation; Moldova, Republic of; National Agency for Employment; Soros Foundation; Step by Step Management, Inc.; Swedish Organization for Individual Relief; United States Agency for International Development; Winrock International

    PROGRESS REPORT: In 2013, Keystone Human Services committed to improve social and financial inclusion for women and girls with disabilities in the United States and Eastern Europe, specifically in Pennsylvania, Moldova, and Russia. Through this commitment, Keystone aims to deinstitutionalize young women with disabilities, moving them from state institutions to community homes, and provide them with the necessary, community-based support structures. A complementary program aims to establish an inclusive, family-oriented, workforce model that effectively reduces obstacles to employment for women with disabilities and women caregivers of children with disabilities. Initially, Keystone intended to impact that lives of 60 women and girls, but the program has seen incredible successful and far exceed expectations. In Moldova, The Equal Access to Education program, an inclusive education project, has been piloted in 22 schools, and is being promoted and replicated at the national level. This has benefited many girls who now have access to education, health services, orthopedic and optical items, rehabilitation centers, physical therapy, counseling, and psychological support.

  • Life Saving Healthcare for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
    Commitment by: Unipol Gruppo Finanziario SpA
    Partner(s): United Nations Refugee Agency

    NEW: In 2016, Unipol committed to provide humanitarian assistance to more than 300 refugees over two years in Lebanon, which is host to the highest number of Syrian refugees in proportion to its population size. Unipol will contribute a cash donation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which will provide treatment for emergency and lifesaving secondary and tertiary healthcare, such as normal and caesarian deliveries, as well as hospitalization costs and surgeries for emergency care. Rather than establishing new services, UNHCR will offset costs to ensure that Syrian refugees can access quality public healthcare. Complementing this donation, Unipol will raise awareness of the plight of Syrian refugees in host countries by implementing a communication campaign in Italy. With approximately 15,000 employees and over 16 million customers, Unipol will give UNHCR the possibility to reach a widespread audience. In addition, clients subscribing to Unipol life insurances will be given the option to indicate UNHCR among their beneficiaries, providing a key fundraising opportunity for UNHCR.

  • Building Peace: Higher Education for Syrian Youth
    Commitment by: Syria Relief and Development
    Partner(s): University of Idlib

    NEW: In 2016, Syria Relief and Development (SRD) committed to supporting the University of Idlib in northwestern Syria over a period of two years to ensure continued access to higher education and prevent brain drain as a significant percentage of the population flees the country due to the ongoing civil war. Recognizing the vital – yet underfunded – role of tertiary education during times of crisis, SRD will provide free tuition to over 1,300 enrolled students (focusing on at-risk populations) and provide the departments of pharmacy, mechanical engineering, education, and agriculture with financial support, consulting services, educational technology, and assistance with curriculum development. Additionally, SRD will introduce a job training and internship program for more than 300 students, as well as reproductive health, family planning, and skills building courses for 500 women. As a result, SRD will ensure that the education of the next generation of Syrian doctors, civil engineers, and teachers will not be placed on hold.

  • Business and Employability Skills in Jordan
    Commitment by: City & Guilds Group; Near East Foundation

    NEW: In 2016, Near East Foundation (NEF) and Building Markets committed to providing business development and employability skills training to over 6,000 refugees and Jordanians over two years, addressing the economic vulnerabilities that refugees and Jordanians alike face. NEF and Building Markets will focus on women and youth, thus contributing to their financial self-reliance, and will prioritize areas in Jordan with a high number of refugees and concentrated poverty. NEF will deliver training in livelihood support hubs, or “Siraj Centers”, where local Master Trainers will help women and youth refugees to build skills to either find employment or to start their own micro-enterprises and generate stable income. In addition, Building Markets and NEF will provide advanced support to at least 300 participants who demonstrate high business growth potential to scale their ventures, increasing income and creating job opportunities for Jordanians and refugees.

  • FARMS: Bridging the Humanitarian-Development
    Commitment by: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
    Partner(s): Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation; Jordan River Foundation; Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Jordan

    NEW: In 2016, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) committed to establish the Facility for Refugees, Migrants, Forced Displacement, and Rural Stability (FARMS) to raise $100 million in new funds for agricultural development targeted towards rural communities, refugees, and displaced individuals. FARMS will support agriculture-related training, financial access and adaptation technologies to increase the self-reliance of refugees and strengthen the resilience of host communities. The commitment will focus on countries with large proportions of refugee and displaced communities and the initial focus will include Jordan, Iraq, and Sudan, with planned expansion to the broader Middle East and North Africa region. In the long term, FARMS will support projects that focus on restoring agricultural productivity in origin areas from where refugees have fled so that people who have left are motivated to return to their native countries, and those who remain have a chance to rebuild their lives.

  • Transitioning Girls & Women from Cash to the Workforce
    Commitment by: Women’s Refugee Commission
    Partner(s): Danish Refugee Council; Mercy Corps; Norwegian Refugee Council

    NEW: In 2016, Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) committed to safely transition refugee women and girls in Jordan and Turkey from cash assistance to the workforce in order to provide economic self-reliance and support women and girls as they re-connect or enter into the formal workforce for the first time. This will help to address a common sentiment among refugee women of powerlessness, hopelessness, high stress, and various protection risks, all of which are tied to a lack of financial resources. Over the course of two years, WRC will conduct research that builds on its current studies that demonstrate how cash-based initiatives can prevent gender based violence, and will build the capacity of partners in the private sector and non-governmental organization service providers to prepare displaced women and girls of working age to safely obtain formal employment. WRC will also build global awareness on issues such as the right to work and decent work legislation for refugee women and girls.

  • Reinventing Refugee Employment and Integration in Italy
    Commitment by: Kairos Rainbow Srl
    Partner(s): Centro Astalli; Istituto Massimiliano Massimo; Italian Institute for Asia and the Mediterranean (ISIAMED); Jesuit Foundation for Education; Ristrutturazioni Italiana Srl; SCM Srl; Tras. Co. Italia

    NEW: In 2016, Kairos Rainbow committed to address the gap that exists in Italy between skilled refugees and a lack of job opportunities by providing 180 refugees, including from Somalia, Pakistan, and Syria, with language courses, legal counseling, and job placements to facilitate their social and economic integration in the country. To do so, over a period of two years, Kairos will partner with Italian companies who will create tailored training programs and offer internships which will ultimately make it easier for refugees to obtain full time employment, as well as partner with local organizations that will provide social services, such as assistance to renew residency and work permits. Through this commitment, Kairos aims to change the perception of refugees in Italy from scapegoats to integrated and empowered participants in the country’s economy and society. The commitment will pilot in Rome and, based on its success, will expand to other cities in Italy.

    Turning Landfills into Goldmines: Can We Make the Circular Economy a Reality? Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres moderates panel with Stacey Davidson, Redisa; Ron Gonen, Closed Loop Partners; and Paul Polman, CEO Unilever © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
    Turning Landfills into Goldmines: Can We Make the Circular Economy a Reality? Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres moderates panel with Stacey Davidson, Redisa; Ron Gonen, Closed Loop Partners; and Paul Polman, CEO Unilever © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
  • Turning Waste into Energy at Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan
    Commitment by: Solar CITIES
    Partner(s): Arava Institute for Environmental Studies; Blueprint for Survival, Tamera ecoVillage; Foam Tech Insulation Services; HomeBiogas Israel; Schools for Sustainability; Solar CITIES – Palestine/Jordan Chapter; UNICEF

    NEW: In 2016, Solar CITIES committed to installing two biogas hubs and educating 50 new biogas technicians and closed-loop farmers in Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp over the next three years. The biogas hubs will turn food and animal wastes into clean and safe fuel and fertilizer, while eliminating pathogens that cause illness and attract disease-carrying animals. The hubs will provide access to energy and opportunities for residents to learn, share and implement clean and renewable energy solutions within Zaatari, with future plans to expand to Greece, Lebanon and Turkey. The biogas technicians will become micro-waste management experts and closed-loop farmers will gain income by building farm- and community-scale biodigesters, selling the fertilizer and biogas, and working with Solar CITIES to schedule a series of workshops with local community members to scale biodigester construction. Increased access to renewable energy will reduce fossil fuel usage and indoor air pollution while controlling rodent and insect populations by better managing food waste at its source, ultimately impacting more than 11,000 residents and saving more than 100,000 KwH of energy.

  • SOS: Focus on Syrian Medical Students & Doctors
    Commitment by: Global Platform for Syrian Students
    Partner(s): American University of Beirut; University Dohok, Iraq; University Nova, Lisbon; The Hashemite University, Jordan; World Health Organization

    NEW: In 2016, The Global Platform for Syrian Students, established by former President of Portugal Jorge Sampaio, committed to providing scholarships to 200 medical students who are displaced by the Syrian Civil War and to support specialist training programs for 200 Syrian doctors still working within the country in order to allow Syrians to continue their medical residency or post-graduate specialist training. This approach will help to address the challenges that Syrian medical students face both within and outside of the country, whose education and training have been interrupted by the conflict, and will invest in critical capacity building for the Syrian medical profession. The commitment will take place over three academic years and will begin with a pilot in 2016 with scholarships for 75 Syrian students in partner universities in Portugal, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, which will be scaled to additional students over the next three years. The specialist training in Syria will commence in early 2017, and the goal is that at least 30% of the students and doctors will be women.

    Katja Iversen, President and CEO, Women Deliver, moderates panel with Kazuo Hirai, CEO Sony Corporation, and Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
    Katja Iversen, President and CEO, Women Deliver, moderates panel with Kazuo Hirai, CEO Sony Corporation, and Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com 
  • Zika Prevention & Care
    Commitment by: Direct Relief International
    Partner(s): 3M Foundation; Ansell Limited; Asociacoin de Salud Primeria de Puerto Rico (ASPPR); Batey Relief Alliance; Florida Association of Community Health Centers (FACHC); Fundacion Ruth Paz; FUSAL; Greenlid Envirosciences; Hopital Albert Schweitzer; International Planned Parenthood Federation; Jamaica; Medtronic, Inc.; Ministerio de la Primera Infancia, Argentina; Ministry of Health of Jamaica; National Association of Community Health Centers; Proyecto Aldea Global; Texas Association of Community Health Centers

    NEW: In 2016, Direct Relief, in partnership with International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR), Batey Relief Alliance, and others, committed to launch a multi-national response to the current Zika outbreak across Latin America, the United States, and the Caribbean. The multi-faceted response will focus on reproductive health and family planning, prenatal care, and the prevention of transmission through the distribution of essential commodities empowering communities to take preventative actions and make informed decisions about their health. This response will take the form of Zika Modules designed to protect against the transmission and the potentially devastating consequences of the virus. Direct Relief will distribute up to Zika Modules to partners involved in comprehensive, community-based Zika response efforts in Argentina, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, the United States (specifically Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas), and Venezuela. Modules will include: insect repellent, biodegradable mosquito traps, digital thermometers, ultrasounds, fetal dopplers, and contraceptives.

         Women Deliver Young Leaders Initiative

Commitment by: Women Deliver

Partner(s): European Parliamentary Forum; Global Fund for Women; Johnson & Johnson

PROGRESS REPORT: In 2012, Women Deliver committed to expand the youth component of its programming by scaling up its engagement with a diverse cohort of young people early in their careers. As a result of this commitment, young leaders will receive the following skills: basic and intermediate advocacy skills; information and communications technology skills; technical skills related to maternal health and sexual and reproductive health and rights; and networking and social media skills.  In addition to a first round of e-learning opportunities offered in 2012, Young Leaders participated in a second e-course focused on deepening their ability to design and implement projects in their communities.  The Young Leaders who successfully completed the e-course were eligible to submit a grant proposal to receive seed funding to implement a project in their community. Ten grants were awarded to Young Leaders in Mexico, Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Sixteen Young Leaders, including all 10 seed grantees, attended The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health Partners’ Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa as speakers, participants, facilitators, and bloggers, where they were able to share best practices, key learnings, and outcomes from their projects.  The work of the Young Leaders continues to receive media attention, particularly at the national level. All of this has led to the creation of the Young Leaders Program, which, apart from increasing the number of Young Leaders to 200, includes a robust recruitment process, advocacy training and opportunities, a Speakers’ Bureau, alumni network, mentorship network, and more.

         Global STEM Alliance (GSA) – 1000 Girls – 1000 Futures

Commitment by: New York Academy Of Sciences

Partner(s): AMIDEAST; AOL Charitable Foundation; ARM Holdings; British Council; Million Women Mentors; Motorola Solutions Foundation; Municipality of Barcelona; U.S. – Mexico Foundation; World Learning

PROGRESS REPORT: In 2014, the New York Academy of Sciences (the Academy) committed to launch a three-year, $2 million mentorship program to increase girls and women’s participation in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math).  The Academy developed a mentorship program that paired 1,000 high-school aged girls with mentors who study or work in STEM fields. The girls received year-long one-on-one mentor support, online training in foundational skills development, and the opportunity to attend an annual Program Summit.  All items in the Action Plan to date for the 2015 cohort were accomplished. More than 300 girls from 12 countries were nominated for the program’s first cohort, and in an overwhelming show of support, more than 500 applications were received from professional women seeking to be mentors.  As this first cohort of young women are now completing the online curriculum, Academy staff are actively preparing for the first Summit, scheduled to take place July 26-28, 2016, in New York City. Planning is also underway to offer the program to the second cohort of young women beginning in September 2016.

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Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, has confronted child marriage through a Youtube video, which she performed at the Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, has confronted child marriage through a Youtube video, which she performed at the Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

         Addressing Harmful Practices: FGC and Child Marriage

Commitment by: United Postcode Lotteries

Partner(s): Amref Health Africa; Girls Not Brides; Tostan

PROGRESS REPORT: In 2013, The United Postcode Lotteries (UPL) committed, together with its partners AMREF, Tostan and Girls Not Brides, to work towards bringing an end to harmful practices affecting girls and young women, specifically child marriage and female genital cutting (FGC), with a specific focus on East and West Africa.  This commitment brings together a donor focused on girls’ and women’s rights, a global partnership of almost 300 organizations based in 50 countries focused on child marriage, and two NGOs with a deep and proven commitment to working directly with communities in Africa to address these practices. A summary of key results so far (status bi-annual report year 3 implementation) include: 7,755 girls from Samburu, Magadi, Loitoktok, and Kilindi participated in one of the Alternative Rites of Passage; more than 100,000 girls, parents, and cultural elders were educated about the effects of FGC; 354 peer educators from the communities were trained in sexual and reproductive health, sexual and gender based violence, human rights, effects of FGC, Alternative Rites of Passage, and mobilization approaches; 850 Traditional Birth Attendants, who are often also circumcisers, were trained on the possible health effects of FGC. Many of them are now ARP ambassadors. The Alternative Rites of Passage is very mediagenic, especially in Kenya, USA, Canada, and the Netherlands, the project received attention in newspapers, magazines, online, television, and radio. Some of the projects key champion community leaders have been featured on national television. Nice Leng’ete, a campaigner/project officer, received international recognition from DFID as one of the most influential young campaigner, and Kenya’s first lady Margaret Kenyatta attended one of the Alternative Rites of Passage and has become a great supporter of Amref’s approach to tackle FGC. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Empowering Women Through Travel

Commitment by: Airbnb, Inc.

Partner(s): Global Fund for Women; Vital Voices Global Partnership

NEW: In 2016, Airbnb committed to accommodate the travel needs of Global Fund for Women and Vital Voices for convenings. The travel credits will be disseminated to more than 100 female entrepreneurs, small business owners, and human rights activists. Upon completion of the reports, Airbnb will explore a second phase of partnership with Vital Voices and Global Fund for Women. Airbnb will also focus on the economic impact of home sharing on female hosts and contribute to their broader strategy of economic empowerment. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Confronting

Commitment by: American Jewish World Service

Partner(s): The Kendeda Fund

NEW: In 2016, the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) committed to support 50 grassroots, capacity-building and research organizations to address child, early and forced marriage in India. Through strategic grant making and organizational meetings, AJWS will work on the local and national level in India and social movements to enable girls to have access to services in their communities. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Justice Institute on GBV

Commitment by: Avon Products, Inc.

Partner(s): Vital Voices Global Partnership

NEW: In 2016, Avon committed to support the creation of 10 new Justice Institutes in 2017 and 2018 in countries that represent top global markets, as well as in countries where previous Institutes are ready to expand. With a commitment of $1 million, Avon will support the training of 500 women throughout the expansion of 10 country Institutes over the course of two years from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Banking the Unbanked

Commitment by: CARE

NEW: In 2016, CARE committed to providing 500,000 women access to formal financial services in Africa and Asia by 2020. Presently, 1.1 billion women lack access to financial services, while many have access only to the informal financial sector. Given this deficit, CARE will widen women’s access to formal financial services through strengthening its Village Savings Loan Association network, identifying mature VSLA communities, leveraging its relationships with banks and mobile network operators, and developing culturally responsive digital products, where possible. Commencing in East Africa—where CARE has a large existing network—the commitment will expand to Western and Southern Africa and Asia from 2016 – 2020. Looking ahead, this commitment will contribute to CARE’s broader global strategy to provide 30 million women access to formal financial services by 2020. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Entrepreneurs & Tech

Commitment by: Cherie Blair Foundation For Women

NEW: In 2016, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women committed to giving 10,000 women entrepreneurs access to digital channels, mentoring, and the valuable information they need to grow their businesses. The Foundation has committed to developing an application through its Technology Program that will deliver information via SMS to women entrepreneurs that will have a networking component. The commitment will identify one country to implement the project and will work with local partners, including a local NGO as well as a mobile network operator to deliver this commitment. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: FITE Entrepreneur Accelerator

Commitment by: Dermalogica

Partner(s): City & Guilds Group; Operation Hope, Inc.; U.S. Small Business Administration

NEW: In 2016, Dermalogica committed to a two phase program to provide vocational training to women. Dermalogica has committed to creating industry specific business skills by building off of their FITE Entrepreneur Accelerator Program with free online classes to support vocational training education. The first phase will be the development of the online platform, which will then phase into marketing and distribution, as well as new courses added in 2017-2018. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Mining Communities

Commitment by: Freeport-McMoRan Inc.

Partner(s): Don Bosco Institute; Thunderbird School Of Global Management; WEConnect International

NEW: In 2016, Freeport-McMoRan committed to invest $5 million to promote women’s economic empowerment and address violence against women in four countries by 2021. Starting in 2017, Freeport-McMoRan will scale up its online platform DreamBuilder entrepreneurship training program for women to develop skills to strengthen their businesses. Broadly, Freeport-McMoRan will work to develop programs that will support women through resources, training, consulting services and mentoring. They will also offer at least $1 million in new capital to facilitate the growth of at least 60 women-owned businesses. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: A Multi-Sector Approach

Commitment by: Global Fund for Women

Partner(s): Clinton Foundation; Vital Voices Global Partnership; WEConnect International

NEW: In 2016, Global Fund for Women committed to investing $3 million over a two year period in partnerships that will raise the visibility of women-led organizations removing barriers to gender equality globally. Global Fund for Women will make grants averaging $40,000 to grantee partners through their annual open call for proposals. This commitment will further contribute to the mission of Global Fund for Women to change the systems in which women and girls live and work; and build movements that catalyze transformation for individuals and societies. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Buying from Women

Commitment by: WEConnect International

Partner(s): EY; Freeport-McMoRan Inc.; IBM; Ingersoll Rand Company Ltd.; Pfizer Inc; Procter & Gamble; Walmart

NEW: In 2016, WEConnect International committed to expanding upon a previous CGI commitment to track and measure global contract opportunities for women owned business based outside of the U.S. WEConnect will focus on making it easier for corporations to find and do business with more women as suppliers and to measure their progress from 2016 to 2021. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: McLarty Global Fellowship

Commitment by: McLarty Associates

Partner(s): Vital Voices Global Partnership

NEW: In 2016, The McLarty Global Fellowship committed to working with Vital Voices to contribute research to advance the research and advocacy for women and girls conducted by Vital Voices. The McLarty Global Fellowship will support two graduate students from the Clinton School at the University of Arkansas to spend a semester in Washington, DC advancing the work of Vital Voices. One Fellow will be assigned to the economic empowerment team at Vital Voices and the second Fellow will work directly with the Human Rights team. This commitment is part of the Girls, Women & the Global Goals coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Skills Training for Women

Commitment by: Nest

Partner(s): If Hummingbird Foundation Inc.; West Elm

NEW: In 2016, Nest committed to reaching 100,000 artisans by expanding its Nest Professional Program by growing brand partnerships over the next three years. Craft production enables women to work while caring for dependents and provides employment where gender discrimination is prevalent. Nest’s commitment will match artisan producers with high caliber industry experts by leveraging brand partnership to ensure the work is not only efficient and effective, but also sustainable. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Business Development

Commitment by: Procter & Gamble

Partner(s): WEConnect International

NEW: In 2016, Proctor and Gamble committed to implementing Women’s Business Development Programs in order to train 100 women business owners by 2017. P&G will initially target the following countries: China, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa, and the United States. Ultimately, this commitment will contribute to P&G’s goal of enabling women business owners to build their business and have a greater economic impact in the communities in which they operate. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: End Workplace Violence

Commitment by: Sodexo Group

NEW: In 2016, Sodexo committed to improve the quality of life of women in the communities it serves by focusing on gender equality and empowerment through operations in Latin America and India. By August 2019, Sodexo will: 1) Promote awareness of gender-based violence; 2) Provide in-depth training about gender-based violence prevention; 3) Provide economic opportunity for survivors of violence; and 4) Lead collaboration in the countries where they work to make a larger impact in the community. This commitment is part of the Girls, Women & the Global Goals coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

Chelsea Clinton, Vice chair, Clinton Foundation, with Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, and Memory Banda, Girl Leader and Advisory Board Member, Rise Up, addressing efforts to combat cultural practices of child marriage and female genital mutilation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Chelsea Clinton, Vice chair, Clinton Foundation, with Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, and Memory Banda, Girl Leader and Advisory Board Member, Rise Up, addressing efforts to combat cultural practices of child marriage and female genital mutilation © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Every Hour Matters Campaign

Commitment by: Together For Girls

Partner(s): Becton, Dickinson and Company; CARE; Child Helpline International; Cummins&Partners; Pan-American Health Organization; SafeTrek; Save the Children; United Nations Women; Women Deliver; World Health Organization

NEW: In 2016, Through its Every Hour Matters campaign, Together for Girls committed to assisting girls and women who have experienced rape or sexual assault. Sexual violence is a pervasive problem that leaves a proportion of survivors with only 72 hours to receive life-saving post exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV and 120 hours to receive emergency contraception. Together for Girls will increase awareness of the importance of rapid access to post-rape care by increasing the public’s awareness and building partnerships with leaders to improve survivors’ access to comprehensive services. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners: Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, high-fives Memory Banda, Girl Leader and Advisory Board Member, Rise Up © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Sonita Alizadeh, artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group, high-fives Memory Banda, Girl Leader and Advisory Board Member, Rise Up © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Ending Gender-Based Violence

Commitment by: United Nations Women

NEW: In 2016, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women committed to funding $1 million in grants targeting projects and supporting civil society organizations that empower refugee women and girls in an effort to address the issue of sexual and gender based violence experienced by refugee women and girls. Prioritizing countries that have been impacted by the ongoing refugee crisis. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Empowering Changemakers with Pond’s

Commitment by: Unilever

Partner(s): Vital Voices Global Partnership

NEW: In 2016, Unilever launched a fellowship program that will invest in 100 emerging global women leaders over the next four years through its brand Pond’s. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Dignified Jobs for India’s Poorest

Commitment by: Upaya Social Ventures

Partner(s): anant Learning and Development Pvt. Ltd; Krishi Star; Maitri; Open Road Alliance; Saahas; Tamul Plates

NEW: In 2016, Upaya committed to investing in more women led enterprises over the next three years to increase the total number of women in its portfolio by 50%. Upaya will invest in agribusiness, skill development, and labor intensive manufacturing businesses. These businesses will participate in a financial management program. Over three years, Upaya will work with 50 companies and invest in 10 of them. This new approach will allow Upaya to create new partnerships with industry experts and investors to empower women entrepreneurs. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Tech for Women’s Rights

Commitment by: WAKE: Women’s Alliance for Knowledge Exchange

NEW: In 2016, WAKE committed to investing in three to five NGOs from its Tech2Empower (T2E) initiative, a tech and communications training workshop for leaders of women’s rights organizations. WAKE’s commitment will focus on three expansions of T2E: expanding to two new regions (Central America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa); launching T2E Fellowships; and establishing Learning Hubs. In its expansion WAKE will hold T2E workshops to train NGO leaders in the two regions, which will provide a foundation for T2E Fellowships and Learning Hubs. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Delivering for Good

Commitment by: Women Deliver

Partner(s): Together For Girls

NEW: In 2016, Women Deliver committed to launching a four year global campaign, Deliver for Good, which promotes investments (political, programmatic, and financial) in girls and women, specifically focusing on violence against girls and women. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Empowering Women in Conflict Areas

Commitment by: Women For Women International

Partner(s): Kingdom of the Netherlands

NEW: In 2016, Women for Women International (WfWI) commits to supporting economic empowerment activities for socially and economically marginalized women over the age of 18 who are in the greatest need, through its comprehensive women’s empowerment program. Through this program, WfWI will focus on developing a curriculum reaching 25 women that would build empowerment skills and engaging men in activities that will address issues of violence against girls and women. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sectors. 

         Girls, Women & the Global Goals: Advancing Women in the Workforce

Commitment by: Women’s Funding Network

NEW: In 2016, Women’s Funding Network committed to build their Advancing Women in the Workforce program with up to 10 women’s foundations in the US. This one-year commitment will secure $30,000 in funding from its members to launch a women’s economic security digital storytelling platform that will drive engagement with women’s foundations and provide a valuable fundraising tool and 70,000 to work in target communities. This commitment is part of the “Girls, Women & the Global Goals” coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International. The coalition is working collectively to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, particularly focused on the areas of promoting women’s economic participation; addressing violence against girls and women; and advancing women’s leadership in both private and public sector. 

President Bill Clinton announces partners in a Clinton Global Initiative commitment © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Bill Clinton announces partners in a Clinton Global Initiative commitment © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

         Pathway to Social Entrepreneurship for Young Leaders

Commitment by: The Resolution Project

Partner(s): African Leadership Academy; Axiom Investment Advisors; Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation; DuPont Company; Echoing Green; General Electric; Gerson Lehrman Group, Inc.; Group 113; Harvard University; Hatzimemos Libby; Jim Mannino Public Relations; National Society of High School Scholars; Semester at Sea; The Geraldine y Gabriel Sunshine Foundation; The World Model UN Conference

PROGRESS REPORT: In 2014, The Resolution Project (‘Resolution’) committed to expand its Resolution Fellowship to support 400 college students from across the globe who seek to address an array of global challenges through social entrepreneurship. Resolution also launched new initiatives – the Resolution Institute, Pathway and Corporate Program Partnerships, the Fellow Resources System, and The Resolution SOLVE Summit – to provide a comprehensive ecosystem of resources for young social entrepreneurs.  More than 60% of Resolution Fellows report they would have been unlikely to launch their social venture without the support of Resolution, proving that they play a catalytic role in their Fellows’ development as socially responsible leaders.  Resolution Fellows report improvements in their adaptability, leadership, and organizational skills and note that Resolution has helped them respond to challenges and obstacles. Resolution Fellows have gone on to secure more than $2.5 million in additional funding through revenue, grants, awards, etc. More than 90% of Resolution Fellows report high satisfaction rates with the mentorship they receive from volunteer Guides.

         From Divisive Crisis to Inclusive Cities: Catalyzing Transformative Partnerships in Greater Monrovia

Commitment by: Cities Alliance

Partner(s): Comic Relief; Habitat For Humanity International; Ministry of Internal Affairs, Department of Urban Affairs, Government of Libera; Monrovia City Corporation (MCC); Paynesville City Corporation (PCC); Shack/Slum Dwellers International; StreetNet International; UN-Habitat; United Cities and Local Governments Africa; UNOPS; Women In Informal Employment: Globalizing And Organizing; YMCA Liberia

NEW: In 2016, Cities Alliance committed to improving the lives of 400,000 slum dwellers in Greater Monrovia, Liberia by empowering local residents to create lasting change in their communities through partnership with government, the private sector and civil society. Cities Alliance, in partnership with local and national government, UCLG, UN-Habitat, UNOPS, Habitat for Humanity International, Comic Relief, YMCA, WIEGO, StreetNet International, and SDI will mobilize communities and equip them to undertake comprehensive urban development solutions, enabling basic service improvements, affordable housing schemes, enhanced small business opportunities and resilience upgrades in existing slums and poor neighborhoods, including in hazard prone coastal and wetland areas. Empowering local communities and building capacity among civic leaders via neighborhood associations, Cities Alliances wishes to bridge the existing gap between slum dwellers and both local and national levels of government, improving strategic urban planning frameworks and enhancing national enabling environments, in order to develop and bring about meaningful change in the lives of the urban poor.

         MHNOW: Closing the Mental Health Treatment Gap

Commitment by: Global Development Incubator

Partner(s): Arogya World; Basic Needs; Children’s Health Fund; Clear Village; Falkora; Global Futures Group; Grand Challenges Canada; Hans Foundation; Harvard School Of Public Health; International Institute for Mental Health Leadership; International Medical Corps; Johnson & Johnson; Keystone Human Services; King’s College London; Many Minds Collaborative; Peter C. Alderman Foundation; Step Up on Second; StrongMinds, Inc.

NEW: In 2016, the Global Development Incubator, BasicNeeds, Johnson & Johnson, Grand Challenges Canada and 20 others committed to launch mhNOW (Mental Health Now), a Multi-Stakeholder Initiative (MSI) to catalyze, connect, and support cities committed to driving change in the field of mental health. mhNOW’s ambition is to activate leadership and empower cities to catalyze cross-sector collective actions to close the mental health gap in 30 cities by 2030. The mhNOW MSI will mobilize and channel resources and networks to city projects through a challenge prize and through technical assistance to 1) scale local innovations; 2) mobilize youth leadership; and 3) improve the evidence base for the return on investment in mental health and establish a monitoring and evaluation framework to aggregate city and global data indicators. During its first year, partners will engage communities as various as Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Vietnam, Singapore, and the United States and in cities that span from Nairobi and Chennai to Philadelphia and Flint.

President Bill Clinton at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Bill Clinton at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

CGI CEO Bob Harrison published a piece in the Huffington Post on the many ways CGI and its members have transformed modern philanthropy. In it, he notes:

  • CGI members have frequently come together to find unconventional partners—across sectors—for collective impact:“A 2014 analysis of CGI commitments reveals that the most successful Commitments to Action involve partnerships. Since 2005, members of the CGI community have worked together to leverage each organization’s strengths and expertise to achieve their shared goals for social impact.”
  • CGI members have helped define innovative investing for social good: “CGI members have created and scaled innovative investment models—pioneering methods that have become the new standard.”
  • CGI members have put girls and women at the center of every issue: “The unique challenges facing girls and women worldwide are at the forefront of CGI programming and are integrated across all our focus areas. Whether a commitment targets technology, health care, the environment, or education—members are encouraged to integrate the perspective of girls and women into both the design and implementation of their commitments. To date, CGI members have supported 11 million girls and women through empowerment initiatives.”
  • CGI members have responded quickly to disasters and have helped make our communities more resilient: “When disaster strikes, the CGI community is positioned to act fast—it comes together to assess needs and assist with critical resources.”
  • CGI members have advanced the approach of “doing well by doing good:” For the past 11 years, President Clinton has been a leading advocate for engaging the private sector to create positive change. This philosophy of “doing well by doing good” has been enthusiastically embraced by CGI members from the business community, whose commitments have transcended conventional Corporate Social Responsibility and have helped push modern philanthropy forward.”

Devex provided a preview of the program and will be exploring CGI’s legacy and the role it has played in developed in its coverage throughout the event.

In a New York Times piece that discussed recent developments in the ivory trade, CGI’s three-year long campaign to save the elephant population was highlighted. Progress on this commitment will be announced in the coming days.

CGI commitment-maker Ubuntu’s Jake Lief wrote in Quartz on how leadership lessons for charities often come from stories about failure.

CGI CEO Bob Harrison discussed the 2016 CGI Annual Meeting and how CGI has changed philanthropy on Bloomberg Radio.

Last week on CNN, Clinton Foundation President Donna Shalala discussed the Annual Meeting and CGI’s impact across the world.

AFT President Randi Weingarten highlighted CGI’s unique model of bringing unlikely partners together in an op-ed for the Huffington Post.

CGI staff also reflected on the magnitude of the Clinton Global Initiative and its legacy, watch the video here: https://youtu.be/YhhDzra5SuM 

To watch major plenary and breakout sessions, go to http://live.clintonglobalinitiative.org.

For a timeline of the Clinton Global Initiative over the years, visit https://www.clintonfoundation.org/sites/default/files/cgi_timeline.pdf.

For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org; follow on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

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© 2016 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

 

 

President Obama Marks Equal Pay Day by Designating National Monument Honoring Women’s Equality

Women's Suffrage Rally at Alva Vanderbilt Belmont’s Marble House, Newport, Rhode Island, 1914 (credit: The Preservation Society of Newport County)
Women’s Suffrage Rally at Alva Vanderbilt Belmont’s Marble House, Newport, Rhode Island, 1914 (credit: The Preservation Society of Newport County)

On this year’s Equal Pay Day, April 12, President Obama is designating a new national monument at a historic location in Washington, D.C., to honor the movement for women’s equality. The new Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument will protect the iconic house that has served as the headquarters for the National Woman’s Party since 1929. From this house, known in recent years as the Sewall-Belmont House, members of the Party led the movement for women’s equality, authoring more than 600 pieces of federal, state and local legislation in support of equal rights.

The designation will permanently protect one of the oldest standing houses near the U.S. Capitol and help preserve an extensive archival collection that documents the history, strategies, tactics and accomplishments of the movement to secure women’s suffrage and equal rights in the United States and across the globe.

The new monument is named for former Party president, activist and suffragist Alva Belmont (known also as Alva Vanderbilt), who was a major benefactor of the National Woman’s Party, and Alice Paul, who founded the Party and was the chief strategist and leader in the Party’s ongoing fight for women’s political, social, and economic equality.

After playing an instrumental role in the passage and ratification of the 19thAmendment guaranteeing women’s suffrage, Paul led the Party’s advocacy work from the house, including drafting updated Equal Rights Amendment text, writing provisions that were later included in the Civil Rights Act to prevent discrimination on the basis of gender, and working to get women’s equality language incorporated in the U.N. Charter. A fierce advocate for women’s equality her entire life, Paul died in 1977 at the age of ninety-two.

Efforts to protect the site date back to the early 1970s, and more recent proposals to include the site in the National Park System have garnered Congressional support – including bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Mikulski – as well as strong support from local elected officials, community leaders, women’s organizations, conservation groups and historians. The National Park Foundation will announce that David Rubenstein is contributing $1 million dollars to support the site and address immediate restoration needs.

In 1997, the National Woman’s Party became an educational organization and today, seeks to educate the public about the ongoing women’s rights equality movement.

In addition to protecting more land and water than any President in history – more than 265 million acres – President Obama has sought to protect places that are diverse, culturally and historically significant, and that reflect the story of all Americans. By honoring the history and accomplishments of the movement for women’s equality, tomorrow’s designation will build on this effort towards a more inclusive National Park System and tell the story of women’s fight for equality for generations to come. Our national parks and other protected sites that represent America’s diverse history and culture will continue to be an important priority for the Administration as the country celebrates the National Park Service Centennial this year.

About Equal Pay Day 

Equal Pay Day is the date in the current year that represents the extra days a typical woman working full-time would have to work just to make the same as a typical man did in the previous year. Since taking office, President Obama has made equal pay a top priority and has taken a number of steps to fight for pay equity. In addition to signing his first piece of legislation as President, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, President Obama has created the National Equal Pay Task Force, called on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, issued an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees who discuss or inquire about their compensation, and worked with the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to better target enforcement of equal pay laws though enhanced employer reporting of pay data.

To highlight key gender equality issues and set the agenda for the future, next month, the White House will host a Summit on “The United State of Women” together with the Department of State, the Department of Labor, the Aspen Institute, and Civic Nation. The summit will create an opportunity to mark the progress made by and for women and girls domestically and internationally over the course of this Administration and to discuss solutions to the challenges they still face. The Summit is being held with additional cooperation from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women, the Tory Burch Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Building on Steps to Help Women in the Workforce and Working Families 

President Obama has taken a number of actions to combat the pay gap, as well as other issues that affect women in the workforce, including:

  • Working with the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in January 2016 to publish a proposal to annually collect summary pay data by gender, race, and ethnicity from businesses with 100 or more employees, potentially covering over 63 million employees.  This step will help focus public enforcement of our equal pay laws and provide better insight into discriminatory pay practices across industries and occupations. The Council of Economic Advisers also released an issue brief,“The Gender Pay Gap on the Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,” that explores the state of the gender wage gap, the factors that influence it, and policies put forward by this Administration that can help address it.
  • Signing a Presidential Memorandum in May 2013 directing the Office of Personnel Management to develop a government-wide strategy to address the gender pay gap in the federal workforce, leading to a report in April 2014 and new guidance in July 2015—which cautioned against required reliance on a candidate’s existing salary to set pay, as it can potentially adversely affect women who may have taken time off from their careers or propagate gaps due to discriminatory pay practices by previous employers.
  • Issuing an Executive Order in April 2014 and publishing a Department of Labor rule in September 2015 prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees whodiscuss or inquire about their compensation.
  • Hosting the first-everWhite House Summit on Working Families in June 2014, highlighting the issues that women and families face, setting the agenda for a 21st century workplace, and announcing of a number of steps to help working families thrive.
  • Signing a Presidential Memorandum in January 2015 directing federal agencies to advance six weeks of paid sick leave to federal employees with new children, calling on Congress to grant another six weeks of paid leave for federal employees, and calling on Congress to pass legislation that gives all American families access to paid family and medical leave.
  • Issuing an Executive Order in September 2015 requiring federal contractors to provide employees working on federal contracts up to seven paid sick dayseach year—and urging Congress, states, cities, and other businesses to do the same.
  • Publishing a proposed Department of Labor rule in June 2015 updating outdated overtime regulations, which, if finalized, would expand overtime pay protections for nearly 5 million Americans, promoting higher take home pay, and allowing workers to better balance their work and family obligations.
  • Issuing an Executive Order in February 2014 requiring federal contractors to raise their minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and lift the tipped minimum wage (which disproportionately impacts women)—and urging Congress, states, cities, and businesses to do the same.
  • Issuing an Executive Order in July 2014 and publishing a Department of Labor rule in December 2014 prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating in employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Directing the Office of Personnel Management and federal agencies to enhance workplace flexibility for federal employees to the maximum extent practicable, including enshrining a right to request flexible work arrangements.
  • Calling on Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would require employers to make reasonable accommodations to workers who have limitations from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions (unless it would impose an undue hardship on the employer). The legislation would also prohibit employers from forcing pregnant employees to take paid or unpaid leave if a reasonable accommodation would allow them to work.
  • Publishing a proposed Department of Labor rule that, if finalized, would update its sex discrimination guidelines for federal contractors for the first time since 1978, to align with current law and address barriers to equal opportunity and pay, such as pay discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environments, a lack of workplace accommodations for pregnant women, and gender identity and family caregiving discrimination.
  • Increasing investments to expand access to high-quality early care and education, including efforts under the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge program, Preschool Development Grants, Head Start and Early Head Start, and a landmark proposal that helps all eligible working families with young children afford high-quality child care.
  • Expanding access for women to higher-paying jobs through a proposed rule updating equal employment opportunity requirements in registered apprenticeships and through a Mega-Construction Projects (MCP) Initiative at the Department of Labor.

Additionally, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers has continued to spotlight the pay gap and other challenges women face in the workforce as well as policy solutions proposed by the Administration to address these persistent challenges. Those materials include:

See also:

Women of Newport: Alva Vanderbilt Belmont turns Marble House into weapon of feminism

Newport’s Gilded Age Mansions Provide Narrative to Women’s Rights Movement

Hillary Clinton’s Woman Trouble

Hillary Clinton greets Aleatha Williams, who introduced Clinton at the NYC rally saying, "She kept her promise to me, a young girl from the Bronx. That's the type of person we need in the Oval office." © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Hillary Clinton greets Aleatha Williams, who introduced Clinton at the NYC rally saying, “She kept her promise to me, a young girl from the Bronx. That’s the type of person we need in the Oval office.” © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Barack Obama’s candidacy in 2008 got an extra dose of high-octane fuel by the history-making fact of becoming the first African-American president. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, seems more inclined to downplay her own history-making candidacy as the first woman to serve as President. Indeed, she’s gotten flack from younger women who are so liberated, they will vote against a woman just to show they can, asserting that they refuse to vote for a woman just because she is a woman (despite the fact that Hillary is the most skilled, experienced candidate who ever ran for the office). Running as a woman is a liability Hillary embraces at her peril, because her opponents will attempt to negate it as using the “gender card.”

Yet, at its core, her whole campaign is about the issues that are of concern to women, for as she says, she is running to break down the barriers that prevent every person from fulfilling their potential. The fact is women are part of each and every one of these marginalized groups.

And just as women’s reproductive rights are as much economic as they are about personal freedom, the long list of policies and agenda items Hillary is advocating for are as much women’s issues as they are matters of economic, social and political justice. But it takes a woman to prioritize them.

These issues include reproductive rights to be sure, but also universal health care, minimum wage, overtime pay, pay parity, paid family leave, access to quality, affordable child care and universal pre-K, student debt, protecting Social Security and Medicare, immigration reform and a path to legalization, gun violence prevention, clean air and water, climate change, clean energy. Add to this jobs creation and union rights, trade deals that protect American workers and the environment, investment in infrastructure, investment in Alzheimer’s research, medical research and innovation. Oh yes, and protecting voting rights, especially from Voter ID and other methods that disproportionately keep women from the polls.

As she said, at a Clinton Foundation “No Ceilings” event in 2015, “If we take bold steps to better the lives of women, we will be taking bold steps to better the lives of children and families too. Families rely on mothers and wives for emotional support and care. Families rely on women for labor in the home. And increasingly, everywhere, families rely on women for income needed to raise healthy children and care for other relatives.”

But 30 years of anti-Hillary propaganda have taken their toll, shaped an image and an argument. It is breathtaking that the question always posed to her – but not to the Republicans – has to do with “trust” and “honesty.” I am trying to figure out on what issue she has been less “trustworthy” or “honest”? Whitewater? Benghazi? Foster? A nurse in Florida told me that Hillary was responsible for 25 murders. I suggest that “dishonest” (or “shady”) is just a way around saying, “we can’t stand a woman who is competent and assertive” without admitting sexism.

Is she too cozy with Corporate America? In fact, that is the secret weapon to actually making progress. It is the strategy and the innovation that has been pursued since 2005 by the Clinton Global Initiative, which have forged partnerships among government entities, the private sector and NGOs that have funneled billions of dollars into 3400 constructive commitments that have benefited 430 million people around the globe. It’s a strategy that has been implemented by the Obama Administration in order to actually make social progress when Republicans just want to cancel programs aimed at uplifting people altogether.

But yes, the innovation that the Clintons have fashioned is to recruit as companies as allies, not enemies – getting Walmart, Coca Cola, The Hershey Corporation and others to invest in sustainable development, Goldman Sachs to create a new financing mechanism to save coral reefs, Proctor & Gamble to devise and distribute millions of packets that can purify water that saves millions of children from dying before the age of 5 from waterborne illnesses, and Monsanto Company to invest in revitalizing the honey bee population. CGI has fostered major cultural change within such massive multi-national organizations, and more than lip-service paid to social investing and economic sustainability. That’s not selling out, That’s converting the very entities that have the power to make real change.

Advancing rights and opportunities for women and girls has been a central focus of CGI and Hillary Clinton. There has been a recognition that if you improve education and family planning, create opportunities to be entrepreneurs or own businesses, you don’t just improve the lives of those women, you improve the lives of their children, their families, their villages and communities and their nations, with impacts far exceeding similar programs offered to men. That’s just fact.

When she was Senator, I recall Hillary Clinton sitting down with a woman’s panel that included the head of CARE, discussing how implementing micro-finance enabled a woman to borrow just $12 to buy a goat, so she could earn enough for school fees for her child.

“When more women enter the workforce, it spurs innovation, increases productivity, and grows economies,” Clinton said at CGI 2012. “Families then have more money to spend, businesses can expand their consumer base and increase their profits. In short, everyone benefits.”

She has brought on board the Buffet Foundation, the Gates Foundation, Nike Foundation, and a long, long list of powerhouses to address issues ranging from clean water and solar-powered lighting to training midwifes and creating the logistics to get vaccines to rural communities.

As Secretary of State, I recall Hillary Clinton’s commitment to CGI on behalf of the Obama Administration to sponsor millions of cooking stoves. Why was this so significant? Well it turns out that the method that women were using – burning carbon inside the house – was not only a leading cause of women dying, but also produced toxic, global-warming causing pollution.

In fact, First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” campaign uses the same CGI techniques of engaging important corporate partners to achieve a significant goal, including Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, JetBlue, Starwood Hotels.

It is stunning that Hillary is being held to account for policies from Bill Clinton’s presidency, when she was First Lady – DOMA, welfare reform, NAFTA and the Crime Bill (all of which were designed to fend off the incessant attacks from the right wing which were determined to undermine his presidency from Day One, just as they have to Obama. It didn’t work – they still impeach them.).

Indeed, she was pilloried for overstepping bounds of a wifely First Lady – how dare she! clearly forgetting how Eleanor Roosevelt was responsible for just about every progressive program FDR ever devised- in trying to achieve universal health care. Besides that, times are different than the mid-1990s, and certainly, we have learned from unintended consequences of legislation, even if initiated in good faith. More significantly, Hillary is not Bill Clinton. Hillary is her own person.

Overcoming the “woman’s issue” is also a factor in her more hawkish stance. She can’t afford to be seen as being a weak Commander-in-Chief. No such concern for Bernie Sanders.

Much like Obama had to downplay race, Hillary Clinton seems to have downplayed women’s issues in this campaign, lest she be attacked (as she already is, nonetheless), for playing the “gender card.

But she has been most constant in her sensitivity and advocacy of women’s rights and the plight of the marginalized.

On International Women’s Day, March 8, she issued a statement crystallizing “the unfinished work” toward insuring that women and girls achieve full equality:

“On International Women’s Day, we celebrate women around the world, in all stations of life — mothers, daughters, grandmothers, teachers, doctors, soldiers, artists, workers, employers, leaders of all kinds.  We celebrate their achievements and their humanity.  We celebrate the progress we’ve made to advance the full participation of women in economies and societies.  And most importantly, we recommit to finishing the unfinished work that remains, and ensuring that women and girls are treated as the full and equal human beings they are.

“Advancing the status of women is not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.  When women and girls participate fully, economies grow and nations are more secure.  When their rights are denied, the opposite happens. No country can get ahead if half its people are left behind.

“I’ve spent my career working to break down barriers that hold back women here at home and around the world.  As President, I will keep up the fight.  I’ll fight to close the pay gap; make paid family leave a reality; ensure families have access to quality, affordable child care; increase the minimum wage; protect women’s health and reproductive rights; confront violence against women; and promote women’s rights around the globe.  These issues ought to be core priorities of our government. They are not just “women’s issues”—they are family issues, economic issues, and they’re crucial to America’s competitiveness and security.

“This International Women’s Day, let’s take a page from the generations of women leaders around the world who never stopped working to make our world a better, more equitable place.  And let’s always remember that women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights, once and for all.”

Being a woman head of state is no longer an issue in places as diverse as Croatia and Pakistan to Germany and the United Kingdom.

As a woman, Hillary Clinton would prioritize and approach issues differently, even from Bernie Sanders who claims to be the great progressive. She has intimate knowledge of these issues from a grass roots level that even Bernie Sanders doesn’t have (while each one of the Republican candidates would certainly roll back progress to “take America back” to the halcyon days when white men ruled).

And if she does become President, she will become President Hillary Rodham Clinton, and hopefully, bring a woman’s touch to the most powerful position on earth.

See also:

Union workers rally for Hillary Clinton in NYC after Super Tuesday win and slideshow

Hillary Clinton proposes ‘New Bargain’ with American workers

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© 2016 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go towww.news-photos-features.com,  email editor@news-photos-features.com. Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

International Women’s Day: Obamas Point to Progress on ‘Let Girls Learn’ Initiative

First Lady Michelle Obama, discussing her "Let Girls Learn" initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
First Lady Michelle Obama, discussing her “Let Girls Learn” initiative © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Today, on International Women’s Day, we recommit ourselves to achieving a world in which every woman and girl enjoys the full range of rights and freedoms that is her birthright,” President Obama stated.

“Women and girls make extraordinary contributions every day across all fields of human endeavor, including in business, education, sports, art, science, agriculture, parenting, and governance.  Without these contributions, economies would collapse, communities would fail, and families would fall apart.  And yet, in too many places around the world, women still struggle to rise out of their status as second-class citizens.  They are denied opportunities for full economic and political participation.  Some are forced to marry and have children when they are still children themselves, while abusive practices, such female genital mutilation/cutting, still persist in too many places.  Moreover, secondary education-arguably the most powerful tool for helping girls escape cycles of poverty and abuse and take control of their lives–remains beyond the reach of tens of millions of girls around the world.

“That is why I am proud that my Administration launched the Let Girls Learn initiative, which is already helping adolescent girls around the world to surmount the barriers that stand between them and a quality education.   It is also why I am pleased to announce that, in the coming days, Secretary of State John Kerry will be releasing the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls, which lays out a whole-of-government approach to provide the next generation of women the tools they need to pursue their aspirations.

“We know that when we invest in women and girls, we are not only helping them, we are helping the entire planet.  A future in which all women and girls around the world are allowed to rise and achieve their full potential will be a brighter, more peaceful, and more prosperous future for us all.”

Meanwhile, the White House issued a fact sheet on the progress made after one year of the “Let Girls Learn” initiative.

FACT SHEET: FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA CELEBRATES ONE YEAR OF LET GIRLS LEARN, AND ANNOUNCES NEW COMMITMENTS TO THE INITIATIVE

 In March 2015, the President and the First Lady launched Let Girls Learn, a U.S. government initiative aimed at helping adolescent girls attain a quality education that empowers them to reach their full potential. The recently released FY 2017 President’s Budget has requested more than $100 million in new funds for the initiative, building on the $250 million in funds requested in the FY 2016 President’s Budget to launch the initiative. Additionally, foreign governments, including JapanSouth Korea and the UK, have collectively pledged nearly $600 million towards global girls’ education programming. Domestically, the First Lady is galvanizing students to become global citizens, from launching the #62MillionGirls social media campaign last September, to releasing the Let Girls Learn toolkit at last summer’s Girl Up Summit, to talking directly to girls at the Apollo Theater at last fall’s The Power of an Educated Girl town hall with Glamour Magazine.  Another key approach to making Let Girls Learn a success is through public private partnerships.  The independent commitments described below build upon commitments announced at last year’s Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit.  For the latest update on Alex and Ani’s commitment, click HERE. 

Private Sector Commitments to Let Girls Learn:

JOHNSON & JOHNSON will support global fundraising efforts in support of the girls’ education through Global Moms Relay and Donate a Photo App, totaling more than $200,000 over two years.  In addition, Johnson & Johnson will contribute $50,000 to the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund.

PROCTER & GAMBLE is making a $100,000 donation to the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund to enable adolescent girls’ education programming with a focus on Africa and Asia.  For International Women’s Day, Always will promote Let Girls Learn by proposing girls’ education-emojis, including a Mrs. Obama Let Girls Learn emoji. In addition, P&G and Peace Corps will explore expanding Always Confidence Teaching Curriculum to help more girls build and maintain confidence through education.

STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE, INC. will produce original promotional video content to run on SPG TV, an in-hotel TV network reaching upwards of 12 million consumers a month, as well as distribution across its many social media channels. Starwood will also designate Let Girls Learn as an official SPG charity partner, designing a promotion which allows members to donate Starpoints® to benefit Let Girls Learn.

JETBLUE will produce an original seatback video about Let Girls Learn for all flights during a key amplification month, raising awareness and inspiring all around international girls’ education. Additionally, JetBlue will provide a financial donation to the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund.

LYFT will drive donations to the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund through their tip-matching program, which will match funds when passengers tip their drivers. Lyft will identify key moments to activate this collaboration throughout the year.

J.CREW will support Let Girls Learn through their Garments for Good initiative and will design specific items to be released later this year. Garments for Good is a J.Crew initiative to lend support by selling items in their stores and online, with all profits being donated to the selected charity.

CSOFT INTERNATIONAL will translate Let Girls Learn materials, including the Peace Corps training literature, from English into multiple languages.

THE GIRLS’ LOUNGE is helping raise awareness around Let Girls Learn by commissioning a Let Girls Learn mural at Union Market and bringing a Let Girls Learn bus to Washington, DC to celebrate International Women’s Day. The Girls’ Lounge, in collaboration with partner Rubicon Project will also provide digital media campaigns to drive awareness and messaging for Let Girls Learn throughout 2016.

SALESFORCE.ORG will financially support Room to Read’s expansion of girls’ education in Cambodia and Sri Lanka. This commitment will support the work the First Lady has done to shed light on the importance of girls’ education in Cambodia, where she visited Room to Read’s work as part of the Let Girls Learn launch.

Public Sector and NGO Commitments to Let Girls Learn: 

DINING FOR WOMEN is a global giving circle dedicated to transforming lives and eradicating poverty among women and girls in the developing world. They will support the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund with a $100,000 grant to fund community projects that address barriers to girls’ education and promote empowerment. 

RTI INTERNATIONAL, a nonprofit institute that provides research, development and technical services worldwide, will donate to the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund.

CONNECTHER is raising awareness about access to education and schooling in the developing world through Girls Impact the World (GITW) Film Festival. Connecther is launching the GITW Global Chapters to screen short films from the Film Festival about the education of girls, economic independence for girls, redefining beauty and other critical issues.  Each screening will include a session about girls’ education.

AMY POEHLER’S SMART GIRLS, along with the Peace Corps, will share educational resources such as video and classroom correspondence activities to give “Smart Girls” the opportunity to learn about the world and connect with other “Smart Girls” eager to engage and support girls’ education.

See also:

First Lady Michelle Obama suggests will make ‘Let Girls Learn’ her work after WH and slideshow

White House Takes Steps to Advance Equality for Women, Girls of Color; Hosts Forum to Discuss Progress

 

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have worked to promote opportunities for women and girls © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have worked to promote opportunities for women and girls © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

FACT SHEET: Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color

Today, the White House Council on Women and Girls in collaboration with the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University will host a daylong forum on Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color, which will focus on empowering and increasing opportunity for women and girls of color and their peers. The forum will bring together a range of stakeholders from the academic, private, government and philanthropic sectors to discuss ways that we can break down barriers to success and create more ladders of opportunity for all Americans, including women and girls of color.  Forum participants will highlight a range of issues, including economic development, healthcare, criminal justice, vulnerability to violence, hip-hop, and images of women in the media. Today, the Council on Women and Girls will release a progress report, “Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color,” as a follow up to the 2014 report, and announce independent commitments to close opportunity gaps faced by women and girls, including women and girls of color.

As President Obama noted in his speech to the Congressional Black Caucus in September 2015, women and girls of color have made significant progress in recent years. The growth in the number of businesses owned by black women outpaces that of all women-owned firms. Teen births are down, and high school graduation and college enrollment rates are up.  However, opportunity gaps and structural barriers still remain. Today’s forum will address these challenges and ways to build on the progress we have already made as a country. You can watch the forum at www.whitehouse.gov/live.

Today the White House is announcing independent commitments which, include a $100 million, 5-year-funding initiative by Prosperity Together to improve economic prosperity for low-income women.  In addition, we are announcing an $18 million funding commitment by the Collaborative to Advance Equity through Research—an affiliation of American colleges, universities, research organizations, publishers and public interest institutions led by Wake Forest University—to support existing and new research efforts about women and girls of color. 

The Council on Women and Girls has identified five data-driven issue areas where interventions can promote opportunities for success at school, work, and in the community. Continuing research in these areas and exploration of new efforts can help advance equality for women and girls of color. Here are some initial steps that we are taking in collaboration with public and private stakeholders to address each:

#1: FOSTERNG SCHOOL SUCCESS AND REDUCING UNNECESSARY EXCLUSIONARY SCHOOL DISCIPLINE

Girls of color experience disproportionately high rates of school suspensions. Black girls are suspended at higher rates (12%) than girls of any other race or ethnicity and at higher rates than white boys (6%) and white girls (2%). American Indian/Alaska Native girls are also suspended at rates that exceed those of white students.  By adopting supportive school discipline practices, schools foster success for all students and increase the likelihood that students will stay engaged and stay in school. The Administration has taken the following steps to facilitate supportive school discipline policies:

Ø  Supporting school discipline practices that promote safe, inclusive and positive learning environments.

In order to create a positive learning environment the Administration has provided clear steps for school districts to follow to better support its students.

Ø  Enhancing public awareness about exclusionary school discipline, including how it disproportionately affects girls of color.

Until recently, scholarly research and public data on girls of color and school discipline was limited or difficult to access. The Obama Administration has been committed to making information generated by the Federal Government, including information on school discipline, accessible to the public.

  • In July 2015, ED launched a public awareness campaign, #RethinkDiscipline, which included story maps—disaggregated by race, gender, and disability status— aimed at making school discipline data comprehensible and easily accessible to the public.
  • In addition, ED has funded a $1 million data initiative, to be completed in the spring of 2016, which disaggregates K-12 data on school discipline, teacher equity, gifted and talented programs, and other metrics, broken down by gender and ethnicity/race. 

#2: MEETING THE NEEDS OF VULNERABLE AND STRIVING YOUTH

Girls and young women of color represent a growing share of juvenile arrests, delinquency petitions, detentions and post-adjudication placements.  Although African-American girls represent about 14 percent of the United States population, they constitute 32 percent of girls who are detained and committed. Native American girls are only one percent of the general population, but 3.5 percent of girls who are detained and committed. The most common infractions that girls are arrested for include running away and truancy— behaviors that are also symptoms or outcomes of trauma and abuse. Once in the system, girls may be treated as offenders rather than girls in need of support, perpetuating a vicious cycle that is increasingly known as the “sexual abuse to prison pipeline.”  The Administration has taken the following actions to improve outcomes in intervening public systems:

Ø  Enhancing programmatic responses by integrating evidence-based trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive perspectives into youth serving systems and organizations.

Addressing the root causes of pathways into those systems with sensitivity allows opportunities for meaningful second chances. To identify the issues and facilitate the development of new frameworks:

  • In October 2015, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed a rule to clarify protections for victims of harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status or disability under the Fair Housing Act. The proposed rule would provide for uniform treatment of quid pro quo harassment and hostile environment harassment claims under the Fair Housing Act.
  • In October 2015, DOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) released new guidance “Girls and the Juvenile Justice System.” Recognizing that many girls experience violence and/or bias leading to their involvement with the juvenile justice system, the guidance calls for a developmentally informed approach that acknowledges intersectional disparities and calls for the reduction or elimination of the arrest and detention for status offenses, technical violations of probation, simple assault, family-based offenses, running away, and prostitution-related charges.

Ø  Expanding disaggregated data initiatives.

In order to design interventions that address the needs of girls and young women, particularly those who have experienced trauma, we need to better understand the population of those affected, through research and through the release of data disaggregated by race, gender, and other variables.

  • In October 2015, the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ) released Juvenile Court Statistics 2013, a report that describes delinquency cases and petitioned status offense cases processed by courts with juvenile jurisdiction in 2013. Summaries are available from 1985 to present for more than 25 offense categories, and include separate presentations by gender, age, and race. 

#3: INCLUSIVE STEM EDUCATION

Significant opportunity gaps exist in STEM education and careers for women, especially for women and girls of color.  Although more women graduate from college and participate in graduate programs than men, women’s participation in science and engineering significantly differs by field of study, at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In 2012, for example, underrepresented minority womenreceived only 11.2% of bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering, 8.2% of master’s degrees in science and engineering, and 4.1% of doctorate degrees in science and engineering. The Administration recognizes implicit biases and stereotypes may play a prominent, if still often unrecognized, role in STEM and other disparities, and has committed to the following actions:

Ø  Enhancing pathways that engage underrepresented women in quality STEM programs and education.

STEM jobs are expected to outpace non-STEM jobs over the next ten years.  Engaging underrepresented girls and young women in STEM opens additional economic opportunity. Career and technical training opens access to high skilled, high demand careers, which provide a route to the middle-class.

  • In January 2015, at a White House convening on bringing marginalized girls into STEM and CTE careers, the National Girls Collaborative created a new STEM/CTE portal which centralizes resources on expanding girls’ access to STEM and CTE, including curriculum, research, and promising practices. The portal will include EmpowerHer—a new interactive map that will make it easier to locate STEM enrichment activities in underserved areas. Additionally, Time Warner Cable and local partners have committed $100,000 towards a small grants competition to link community STEM mentors and girls, which will launch in December of 2015.
  • In September 2015, The Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology (CGEST) at Arizona State University announced theNational Academic STEM Collaborative at a White House roundtable. This collaborative is a network of 10 academic partners and nine organizational partners who are identifying and scaling effective, evidence-based strategies to improve STEM diversity in the nation’s colleges and universities, with a focus on women and girls from underrepresented communities. Building on the finding that women are more likely to enter into STEM careers if exposed to entrepreneurial activity, the Collaborative will co-host a “Women of Color and STEM Entrepreneurship Conference” in the spring of 2016 in partnership with Arizona State University and the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

Ø  Encouraging STEM participation by highlighting accomplishments of girls and women from diverse communities and by encouraging academic institutions and programs to recruit and retain diverse talent in STEM fields.

Research indicates that diverse teams and organizationsoutperform those that are less diverse on a number of financial metrics.  Diversity makes good economic sense for America. The White House has been able to use its public platform to showcase opportunities for women and girls in STEM in the following ways:

  • In August of 2015, President Obama hosted the first-ever White House Demo Day, where entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, including women of color, showcased innovations. The President also issued a call to action to advance inclusive entrepreneurship, and highlighted independent actions by groups like Sabiola, who established a Women of Color Fellowship Fund that will give at least 100 women access to a 12-week coding bootcamp, job-interview prep, and ongoing professional development after completion of the program, and IBM, who expanded Girls Who Code to introduce the next generation of women software developers to cloud computing innovation.
  • In March 2015, the White House Science Fair had a specific focus on diversity and included students from underrepresented backgrounds who are excelling in STEM. This year’s participants included a record number of girls and young women from diverse communities.
  • To help address the lack of visible role models in STEM, the White House launched a website that highlights some of theuntold history of women in science and technology. The website uses the voices of prominent women to tell the stories of some of their female scientific heroes who have changed history. 

#4: SUSTAINING REDUCED RATES OF TEEN PREGNANCY AND BUILDING ON SUCCESS

Despite the steady decline of U.S. teen births over the past two decades, minority communities continue to have disproportionately high rates. Black and Latina girls remain more than twice as likely as white girls to become pregnant during adolescence, and American Indian/Alaska Native teen birth rates are one and a half times higher than the white teen birth rate.  We know that opportunity shrinks for teen parents and their children. Only half of all teen mothers receive a high school diploma by age 22. In the aggregate, the children of teen mothers are less likely to complete school and have higher rates of health problems and unemployment. Research by the Brookings Institution also shows that when teens delay birth, the average family income of their offspring increases.  The longer a teen birth is delayed, the larger the average family income of the offspring. The Administration has engaged the following strategies to work to end unplanned teen pregnancy and thus increase both educational and economic opportunity:

Ø  Ensuring that evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs reach communities with the greatest need.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) administers the Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program, an evidence-based teen pregnancy program, which enables grantees to replicate evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs in communities with the greatest need.

  • In July 2015, OAH awarded 81 new grants, totaling more than $86 million to programs across the country. The grants are focused on reaching young people in communities where high teen pregnancy rates persist. Programs grants were awarded in four categories: (1) community capacity building to support replication of evidence-based TPP programs (especially for populations serving youth in juvenile detention and foster care, homeless youth or young parents); (2) scaling evidence-based TPP programs in communities with the greatest need (including programs that focus on reaching especially vulnerable youth); (3) supporting early innovation to advance adolescent health and prevent teen pregnancy (including technology-based innovations and one grant focused on program innovations) and (4) evaluation of new or innovative approaches to prevent teen pregnancy.

Ø  Ensuring that developmentally appropriate information about pregnancy prevention reaches all teens, including in high-need communities.

The Administration recognizes that if information is provided to communities it must be effective for the intended audience.

  • In September 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Reproductive Health committed $9.75 million to enhance the capacity of publicly-funded health centers’ to provide youth-appropriate sexual and reproductive health services.  CDC has funded a $1 million innovation contractto finalize the development of a mobile app, Crush, which supports pregnancy prevention. 

#5: ECONOMIC PROSPERITY

Despite their driving growth in the workforce, women of color face persistent challenges to full participation in the economy. Although women in general face a continuing pay gap compared to their male counterparts, the gap is even larger for women of color. Additionally, black women face the highest rates of poverty for those 65 years and older (21 percent), followed by Hispanic women (20 percent), and Asian women (13 percent). Increasing the economic opportunity of women of color will also give more opportunity to their children and continue to increase opportunity for generations to come.  The Administration has been working to increase opportunities for economic prosperity in the following ways:

Ø  Lifting Families Out of Poverty by Making Permanent Key Provisions of Tax Credits for Working Americans.

Supporting tax credits that encourage work, boost incomes, and reduce poverty, thus helping working families make ends meet and improve opportunity for their children.

  • The President continues to push to make permanent key provisions to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), which are scheduled to expire after 2017. These tax credits boost income for 16 million families with 30 million children each year, including about 2 million African American families and about 5 million Latino families. The provisions allow more low-income working parents to access the CTC and provide a larger EITC for families with three or more children and married families.  They reduce the extent or severity of poverty for more than 16 million people – including about 8 million children. A growing body of research shows that helping low-wage working families through the EITC and CTC not only boosts parents’ employment rates and reduce poverty, but will also have positive immediate and long-term effects on children, including improved health and educational outcomes.
  • The President’s Budget proposes expanding the EITC for “childless” workers and non-custodial parents, who currently receive only a very small EITC and, as a result, are the only group the Federal tax code taxes into – or deeper into – poverty.  The President’s proposal would benefit more than 13 million low-income workers, including 2 million African American workers and 3.3 million Latino workers.
  • The President’s Budget proposes to triple the maximum Child and Dependent Tax Credit (CDCTC) for families with children under the age of five and makes the full CDCTC available to families with incomes up to $120,000, benefitting families with young children, older children and dependents who are elderly or have disabilities. The childcare tax reforms would benefit 6.2 million families. 

Ø  Encouraging outside stakeholders to commit to working in their communities to create opportunities for women and girls of color.

Today the Ms. Foundation and Prosperity Together, a consortium of 20 women’s foundations are announcing a $100 million, 5-year-funding commitment to improve economic prosperity for low-income women. Prosperity Together partners will use their respective experience and knowledge to fund programs that are proven effective in their communities and states, including job training programs that are customized to (1) address the cultural and educational needs of low-income women in order to secure a higher-wage job in a stable work environment and (2) enhance access for low-income women to culturally appropriate, affordable, high-quality childcare.

Ø  Investing in improvements to compensation, paid and sick leaveand other policies, which support working families: 

Approximately 40 percent of private-      sector employees work at a company that does not offer sick pay for their own illness or injury.  Low- and middle-income workers are much less likely to have access to paid sick leave than other workers. The Administration believes that working to improve baseline rates of compensation and expand access to leave, will expand economic opportunity for women and for families. Because of this we have taken the following approaches to increase economic prosperity:

  • Since President Obama called on cities and states to raise their minimum wages in 2013, 17 states have raised their minimum wage, resulting in higher wages for an estimated 360,000 Black women, 1.2 million Hispanic women, and 320,000 AAPI and American Indian/Alaska Native women.
  • In January 2015, DOL extended minimum wage and overtime protections to most of those who provide home care assistance. Nearly two million direct care workers, such as home health aides, personal care aides, and certified nursing assistants who provide home and personal care services – nearly 50 percent of whom are women of color – will have minimum wage and overtime protections to ensure they are paid fairly for their work.
  • In July 2015, DOL proposed a rule that would extend overtime protections to nearly 5 million workers—the majority of whom are women—within the first year of its implementation.
  • In January 2015, The President issued a memorandum directing agencies to offer six weeks of advanced paid sick leave to federal workers to take care of a new child or an ill family member, and in September 2015 he signed an Executive Order providing for employees on covered federal contracts to receive up to seven days of paid sick leave each year.
  • President Obama has sponsored unprecedented levels of openness in government. In keeping with this, DOL issued a final rule in September 2015 supporting pay transparency and prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees who choose to discuss their compensation. 

Ø  Increasing access to federal contracting opportunities including for minority women-owned businesses:

Women and minority businesses that contract with the U.S. government are more likely than their non-contracting colleagues to exceed $1 million in revenue and more likely to own larger firms than their non-contracting peers. Policies that link women of color-owned businesses to government contracts support entrepreneurs and enhance their capacity to expand employment within the communities in which they operate.

  • In September 2015, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced a new rule that authorizes federal agencies to award sole source contracts to women-owned small businesses eligible for the Woman-Owned Small Business Federal Grant Program or the Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses. 

Ø  Increasing the diverse participation in career and technical training, especially in areas of high growth demand:

Currently, most apprenticeships are in building and construction trades. However, fewer than seven percent of apprentices are women—and even fewer are women of color.

  • In September 2015, President Obama announced that DOL’sAmerican Apprenticeship Grant Program awarded $175 million in grants to 46 awardees. The American Apprenticeship grants increase opportunity by investing in innovations and strategies to scale apprenticeships — including by marketing to women and other Americans who have been underrepresented.
  • DOL will also open grant solicitations to fund programs that address childcare barriers that low skilled and unemployed workers face when accessing training opportunities for well-paying, high growth jobs in industries like healthcare, financial services, and other in-demand sectors. 

RESEARCH TO LEAD THE WAY 

Knowing what is necessary to create pathways for women and girls of color and their peers to achieve success is only strengthened when the proper research and data is available. We are encouraged that academic institutions are not only creating a space for people of all backgrounds to learn, but also studying and writing about these critical issues. With an initial funding commitment of $18 million, the Collaborative to Advance Equity through Research will play a key role in supporting this effort.

Creating opportunities for young women of color is also necessary to generate curiosity in the next generation of women.  In March, The Smithsonian Institution will theme its March 12, 2016 “Museum Day Live!” to “inspire women and girls of color.” Museum Day Live! includes 1,300 museums and attracts 250,000 visitors to museums and cultural centers across the United States. The National Endowment for the Humanities will fund a small grants competition to facilitate museums and other cultural centers to develop programming to create new bridges between communities and cultural institutions as centers of informal learning.

As President Obama has emphasized, America cannot afford to leave anyone behind if we are to maintain our competitive advantage globally. Our success in the years to come will depend in large part on ensuring that all our children, students, and workers have the chance to reach their full potential. The Council on Women and Girls will continue to work to ensure government policies appropriately consider these kinds of challenges and persistent opportunity gaps faced by too many disadvantaged, marginalized, or underrepresented girls—and inspire the private sector to do the same—to ensure that everyone who aspires to get ahead has a chance to succeed.