Islamabad, February 14, 2014 – Catherine Russell, U.S. Department of State’s Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, met with officials and advocates for women’s causes to discuss U.S. support for women and girls worldwide during her February 12-14 visit to Pakistan. During her visit, Ambassador Russell met policewomen, female entrepreneurs, beneficiaries of microcredit programs, female parliamentarians, survivors of acid-related violence, and women’s rights activists to explore ways the U.S. can partner with Pakistan to help promote the status of women and girls in society.
Russell told radio listeners on Pakistan’s National Women’s Day, “The women who marched peacefully for their rights 31 years ago are inspiring, as are the courageous women who continue to advocate for their rights today. The United States has made promoting women and girls a cornerstone of our foreign policy around the world, including here in Pakistan.”
Ambassador Russell spoke at the launch ceremony of the Pakistan Reading Project, a $160 million U.S-funded program that will improve the literacy of an estimated 3.2 million Pakistani children, on February 13. She explained that the United States considers the empowerment of women and girls vital to U.S. foreign policy, “because we recognize that the major security, economic, environmental, and governance challenges we face… cannot be effectively addressed without the participation of women at all levels.”
“I will continue to advocate at home and abroad that investing in women and especially their education – advancing and protecting their rights – is not just the right thing to do morally; it is the smart thing to do economically and strategically.”
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