In 1995, 189 countries came together for the United Nations' Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing to outline a Plan of Action to improve the conditions of women and girls worldwide. Seventeen years on, the State Department reports on the progress that's been made since that historic gathering.
This report includes an in-depth look at our partner organization in Honduras, COMUCAP. Women Thrive has worked with COMUCAP and its founder Dulce Marlen Contreras for years, to make sure that they have the tools they need to make their coffee cooperative a success and offer members of their community a path out of poverty.
Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, writes in the book's preface:
In the years since Beijing, advocates, activists and governments around the world have used that plan to advance opportunity and progress for women. The good news is that we have accomplished a great deal. More girls are enrolled in school, more women hold political office, and more laws exist to protect vulnerable populations.
Unfortunately, we have a long way yet to go. Sometimes by custom, sometimes by law, millions of women worldwide are still denied their rights. They are excluded from public life in their societies, subjected to violence or barred from getting an education, taking a job or driving a car...
At the State Department, we believe elevating the status of women and girls in their societies is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do. Women and girls are often a community’s greatest untapped resource, which makes investing in them a powerful and effective way to promote international development and our diplomatic agenda...
Women in the World Today shows how far we have come since 1995. Each chapter reflects one of the 12 points in the action plan we developed in Beijing. It also explores what we need to do now, so that all countries can fully benefit from the wisdom, compassion and energy women bring to every aspect of society.
I hope the stories you read here inspire you to take action in your community and help move us closer to that goal.