by Madeleine Brecher, NCJW Honorary VP
Much to my surprise, I received an invitation from the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton inviting me to attend the launch of the Equal Futures Partnership last month. Needless to say, I was very excited!
The security at the Intercontinental Barclay Hotel was a maze of barricades and police – a navigational nightmare intended to protect the many heads of state, US political leaders, business executives and women’s civil society movement representatives all gathered for this event. Valerie Jarrett, special advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, spoke of the President’s challenge to the United Nations General Assembly one year ago – to break down barriers to political and economic empowerment that “stand in the way of women and girls.”
In response to the challenge, Secretary 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, Tunisia, and the European Union). All Partnership members commit to: open doors to quality education and high-paying career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields; promote civic education and public leadership for girls; strengthen support for women entrepreneurs; and ensure economic security for survivors of violence. While we certainly support such fantastic principles, NCJW, through its Higher Ground campaign, is particularly invested in economic security for domestic violence victims and is even more focused this month – Domestic Violence Awareness Month – on Congress’ Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
Secretary Clinton introduced the many world and private sector leaders, and each praised her unswerving dedication and support for the rights of women and girls globally. Long a friend to NCJW, Hillary Clinton was, as always, awe-inspiring to hear. As I looked around the room at the many national and international leaders in the women’s movement plus the Heads of State committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment, one had to feel somewhat optimistic that this is only the beginning for the Equal Futures Partnership. I was thrilled to be representing NCJW and ICJW at an event so closely allied to our missions.
Madeleine Brecher is an Honorary VP of NCJW, ICJW Representative to the UN Communications Secretary, and Membership Chair, UN NGO Committee on the Status of Women.