The top United States diplomat on women’s issues recently visited the International Center for Research on Women’s (ICRW) Asia Regional Office in New Delhi, India, to identify successful efforts that move societies to better value its girls. Such an approach is central to creating a more equitable, healthy world for girls and women, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer said.
She added that issues such as child marriage, feticide and violence against women are, at their root, about how girls are viewed by society. “How do we get the breakthrough,” Verveer said, “to bolster the value of the girl?”
The ambassador’s time in India was part of a week-long, multi-country September tour, in which she stopped at ICRW to learn more about its work on the ground, particularly efforts to change social norms that influence behaviors among adolescent girls and boys. ICRW senior staff and Ravi Verma, who directs the Asia Regional Office, spoke with Verveer about ICRW’s innovative programs that involve boys, such as the sports-based Parivartan program, and about potential solutions to delay marriage for young women.
During the two-hour visit, Verveer also learned more about how ICRW approaches its work. She said it’s one of the few organizations that measures and evaluates programs to ensure that they’re effective and sustainable, and praised ICRW’s collaboration with grassroots organizations, corporations and national governments.
The ambassador’s visit to India comes at a time when the U.S. and India have committed to partner in areas of common interest, such as technology and food security, as outlined in the ongoing U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue. ICRW President Sarah Degnan Kambou said she will stay in close touch with the Office on Global Women’s Issues to ensure that the needs of women and girls are integrated in all U.S. development efforts.
Roxanne Stachowski is ICRW’s external relations associate.
Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, visits staff in ICRW’s Asia Regional Office in New Delhi, India.