Strong Women Empowering the World's Women By Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Honorary Co-Ch airs, Vital Voices Global Partnersh ip
Women's equality-economic, political and social-must be a central component of any effort to address the world's pressing challenges. Simply put, no country can get ahead if half of its citizens are left behind. Although we sit on different sides of the political aisle, we are on the same side when it comes to recognizing that investing in the progress of the world's women is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing. As the honorary co-chairs of Vital Voices Global Partnership, along with Nancy Kassebaum Baker, we are pleased to lend our voices to those of women around the globe who are advancing economic opportunity and democracy, safeguarding human rights and creating a better and safer world for all of us.
Vital Voices was founded by women who want to help empower women around the globe so they too can take their place "at the table" as effective leaders contributing to their societies. The women who founded this non-profit organization are Democrats and Republicans. Today the Board includes leaders from business, academia and civil society like Debbie Dingell, Susan Davis, Samia Farouki, Marlene Malek, Judith McHale, Donna McLarty, Vicki Sant, Mary Yerrick, Amb.Elizabeth Bagley and Chair, Melanne Verveer. Recognizing that this is not just a women's cause, men like Amb. Craig Johnstone and Paul Charron also play a leadership role on the Board.
What Vital Voices does is so important. It invests in emerging women leaders who are the engines of progress in their societies and builds the capabilities, connections and credibility the women need to unlock their potential to make a difference. Emerging women leaders around the world are deeply motivated to safeguard democracy where it is fragile, to build strong economies where there is great poverty and to fight for human rights, especially to end the global scourge of human trafficking-modernday slavery. However, many women lack leadership proficiency, access to networks of experts who can serve as mentors or the special skills they need to enable them to be more effective in their work. The leadership development training programs that Vital Voices conducts in Washington and in many parts of the world focus on three key areas that can have the greatest impact for sustainable social change: generating economic opportunities, expanding political participation and protecting human rights.
We will be joining the awardees, as will Sally Field, Julia Ormond, Chr istiane Amanpour, Elizabeth Cheney, Diane von Furstenberg and Lisa Ling.
As we honor these voices who have been so vital in lifting up their societies, we know that there are so many like them around the globe who are relying on us to help them to lift their voices. As Mu Sochua of Cambodia, a 2005 honoree, said, "There is a saying that a bird does not sing because it has a song, it sings because it has a voice." Join in supporting the world's "vital voices."
On April 27, at a gala leadership awards ceremony at the Kennedy Center, Vital Voices
will honor several extraordinary women who are changing the world: