Empowering Half the World


There is no doubt that considerable progress has been made in the last decade to empower women and girls across the globe, but gender inequality is far from solved. Women perform 60% of the world’s work, yet their earnings fall below 5% of global income. The majority of children who do not attend school are girls and 75% of illiterate adults are women. Women in power are still rare; they hold only one-fifth of the positions in national governments.

Melanne Verveer, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, is an inspiring and dedicated advocate for women and girls here and around the world.  Verveer shared her considerable experience and insights at The Common Good on the importance of empowering women and girls for improvements in economic growth, foreign policy, healthcare, and poverty alleviation and how educating a girl is the single best investment possible.

Ambassador Verveer is currently the Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, which seeks to enhance national and global security by documenting the crucial role women play in peace-building and security through research and scholarship, and by engaging global leaders from government, civil society and the private sector in conversations on the urgent issues of our times.

Ambassador Verveer most recently served as the first U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, a position to which she was nominated by President Obama in 2009. She coordinated foreign policy issues and  activities relating to the political, economic and social advancement of women, traveling to nearly sixty countries. She worked to ensure that women’s participation and rights are fully integrated into U.S. foreign policy, and she played a leadership role in the Administration’s development of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.


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