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Advice for Secretary Kerry on International Women's Day

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Global stability, peace, and economic prosperity, can never be achieved without the full participation and empowerment of women. There's a volume of research and data showing that greater investments in women's health and education can lead to greater economic growth and more robust societies. Experience shows that when women’s voices are fully integrated into peace negotiations and security efforts, conflicts can be avoided and peace is longer lasting. When women participate equally with men in political and civic processes, governments can be more representative and often more effective.

As Clinton has said time and again, strengthening women and girls around the world is not simply the right thing to do – it is the smart thing to do.

Already in his first month in office, Kerry has demonstrated both his leadership and commitment. At his Senate confirmation hearing at the end of January, he “committed to the ongoing significant efforts that Secretary Clinton has invested in” to integrate women’s issues into the State Department, and to advance the status of women around the world.

He pledged to maintain the Secretary’s Office of Global Women's Issues, and to support the work of an appointed Ambassador at Large who could lead the Department’s efforts. And he emphasized the vital importance of integrating women's issues into department’s key activities – especially when it comes to promoting peace in conflict regions.

Here are three areas where I believe Kerry could advance the work of the past four years – and make a lasting difference:

Women, peace, and security

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