UNESCO Director-General Joins U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Launch of a Global Women’s Leadership Initiative
Director-General Irina Bokova was a featured guest in U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s launch of the The Women in Public Service Project, an initiative to advance women’s leadership in policy, politics and governance worldwide on Thursday.
Speaking on a panel that included UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, French Minister of Health Nora Berra and the Liberian Minister of Agriculture Florence Chenoweth, Director General Bokova underlined UNESCO's work to advance girls' literacy through a global initiative launched earlier this year with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and Secretary Clinton.
"Gender equality starts in school,” said the Director General, adding, “the Millennium Development Goal on achieving Education for All will only be reached if we provide young girls and women the proper conditions for their development and for them to make informed choices for their own future." The UNESCO program to promote girls’ literacy is supported by the Packard Foundation and a number of U.S. private sector companies, including CISCO and Procter and Gamble.
In her remarks, Secretary Clinton spoke of the many benefits of bringing more women into government service. “Whether they are elected or appointed, whether they work in the public eye or more quietly for the public good. The World Bank has found that women tend to invest more of their earnings in their families and communities than men do. That in turn makes societies stronger and economies more likely to grow.”
The star-studded cast of women leaders participating in the event included International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer and U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities Farah Pandith.
The Women in Public Service Project is a partnership between the Department of State and five of the leading women’s colleges in the U.S. It will create training, mentoring and networking opportunities for aspiring women leaders in the field of public service.