By The White House
The Promise of Equal Futures
In response to President Obama’s challenge to other heads of state to break down barriers to women’s political and economic participation, on September 24, 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the Equal Futures Partnership on behalf of the United States along with 12 other founding members (Australia, Benin, Bangladesh, Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Jordan, the Netherlands, Peru, Senegal, and Tunisia; as well as the European Union). Each founding member made national commitments to policy, legal, and regulatory reforms to promote two mutually reinforcing goals: expanded economic opportunity for women and increased political and civic participation by women at local, state and national levels. Multilateral stakeholders including UN Women and the World Bank and leading businesses and non-profit institutions also pledged support for the partnership.
Moving from Promise to Progress
Following the launch of the initiative, Equal Futures members have worked to identify priorities for action through consultations with civil society and other stakeholders and by establishing coordinating bodies or steering committees to develop and oversee the implementation of Equal Futures commitments. Going forward, Equal Futures countries will report on progress within the Partnership, and evaluate and strengthen commitments to ensure real impact.
Highlights from progress on U.S. commitments:
As a founding member of the Equal Futures Partnership, the United States made commitments in four key areas, and has achieved significant progress in each of these areas. Highlights include:
Opening Doors to Quality Education and High-Paying Career Opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math: Federal agencies and private partners have made great progress on connecting young women to high-quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-related resources. In just seven months, over 20,000 students interacted with 500 women mentors via Harvey Mudd and Piazza’s online platform WitsOn, while the National Science Foundation, Office of Personnel Management, and non-profit partners joined forces to train Federal scientists and engineers on serving as a resource for girls interested in STEM.
Promoting Civic Education and Public Leadership for Girls: The Administration has advanced new efforts to promote girls’ leadership and civic education, including sponsoring an “app challenge,” hosting a conference on girls’ leadership and civic education at the White House with the Department of Education and the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), and advising on the development of a new initiative, Teach a Girl to Lead (TAG) – featuring online resources and a national speakers’ bureau.
Breaking the Cycle of Violence and Ensuring Economic Security for Survivors of Violence: To ensure that women who are victims of domestic violence are getting the support and tools they need to achieve economic independence, the Administration is now providing training on employment rights to lawyers and consumer advocates, working with state domestic violence coalitions and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to ensure that victims know about employment protections under federal law, and expanding research on domestic violence to include information about economic abuse.
Expanding Support for Women Entrepreneurs: The Administration has strengthened support for women entrepreneurs at