One hundred twenty nongovernmental organizations have endorsed a statement calling on Congress to protect funding for foreign assistance in the FY18 appropriations process, specifically investments in women and girls. The statement comes on the heels of recent revelations that the executive branch intends to drastically cut funding for development, global health and women’s issues in its forthcoming budget proposal.
“Research shows that investing in women and girls – through education and training, through health and through violence prevention, for example – yields tremendous benefits for families, communities and nations,” noted Lyric Thompson, director of policy & advocacy of the International Center for Research on Women. “Such high-return investments are precisely what we need, as the world confronts four famines, record rates of migration from war and conflict and increased threats to women, girls and members of marginalized groups. Now is not the time to gut programs that promote economic growth and make the world more stable.”
“Through the years, both Republican and Democratic administrations have invested in girls’ education, women’s health, economic opportunity, political participation, human rights, education and much more,” the statement reads. It continues: “These initiatives have become core to our foreign policy, our response to humanitarian emergencies, and our efforts to fight poverty around the world. We have already seen that investments in women and girls makes U.S. aid more effective. Cuts to any part of the foreign assistance budget will necessarily mean cuts to critical programs for women and girls, and for many such cuts could be life-threatening.”
The range of organizations endorsing the statement demonstrating the broad understanding that women and girls must be at the center of global development efforts. The list includes organizations advocating for the rights of women and girls, such as ICRW and Girl Up, as well as health and development organizations such as CARE and World Education, and faith-based organizations such as the American Jewish World Service.
The statement will be shared with the Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate, as well as with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget. The full text of the statement can be read here.
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ICRW is the premier applied research institute focused on women and girls. In 2016, ICRW merged with the U.S. research organization Re:Gender (formerly the National Council for Research on Women) to create a global research platform.Headquartered in Washington, DC, with regional offices in India and Uganda, ICRW provides research and analysis to inform programs and policies that promote gender equality and help alleviate poverty.
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