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State Dept QDDR Includes Unprecedented Focus on Women and Girls

Posted on December 15, 2010 by Women Thrive

Women Thrive Worldwide celebrates the unprecedented emphasis on the central role of women and girls in effective development and forward-thinking diplomacy.

Contact Anu Palan at 202.884.8399 or

December 15, 2010

Women Thrive Worldwide celebrates the unprecedented emphasis on the central role of women and girls in effective development and forward-thinking diplomacy, which is enshrined in the State Department’s long-awaited Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR). The QDDR is the first sweeping assessment and new blueprint for all of U.S. international assistance and diplomacy, and has long been a demand of the development community.

The QDDR recognizes that the integration of women and girls is basic to effective foreign assistance across all sectors: food security, health, climate change, economic growth, democracy and governance, and humanitarian assistance. Women’s rights advocates have been pushing for such a fundamental re-think of the roles of women and girls in development for over 30 years. Until now, the U.S government has never seriously implemented this kind of cross-cutting focus on gender, with the noted exception of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

“This common-sense approach is a fundamental game-changer for millions of women and girls in villages around the world. What this means is that all programs that the U.S. implements moving forward, worth tens of billions of dollars, have to take the needs and voices of women and girls into account. We have long advocated a move beyond the special, small, separate women’s projects,” said Women Thrive’s President and Co-Founder Ritu Sharma. Women Thrive has championed gender integration since its inception in 1998.

“The integration of women and girls into aid is truly historic and has been a major goal of the international women’s movement,” said Elise Fiber Smith, Co-Founder and Founding Chair of Women Thrive. “This is a turning point for how our country thinks about and delivers aid. There is no going back.”

The QDDR was released this morning by the State Department, and discussed at an earlier breakfast roundtable for select development community leaders, which was attended by Ritu Sharma, who is also a Principal of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), which has been pushing for overall reform of U.S. foreign assistance. The QDDR emphasizes increasing the resources and human capacity for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); reinstituting budget and planning authority for USAID; and increasing transparency and evaluation of all its programs.

Women Thrive will be watching closely to ensure that these good intentions are adequately resourced and really result in tangible changes in the lives of the poorest women and girls at the grassroots level. We understand that there will be big shifts and new capabilities to integrate gender at USAID, which will be essential to ensure that the U.S. indeed changes the way it does business on development.

 Learn More about the QDDR