Pentecostal Leadership Series: Dr. Marcia Clarke

Marcia Clarke PDF Flyer

FRIDAY, April 22, 2016, 2:00 – 4:00 PM

HEATH LECTURE HALL 109, Vanguard University

Spring 2016 Pic 3

Pentecostalism in the Black British Female Experience

Dr. Marcia Clarke, Ph.D.

Assistant Director, School of Law, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA

Co-Pastor, Restoration Christian Fellowship, Virginia Beach, VA

Dr. Marcia Clarke completed her doctoral studies at the University of Birmingham (UK). Her research utilized practical theology and in particular the role of ordinary theology in the formulation of Pentecostal spirituality.  Her research seeks to gain an understanding of the spirituality of Black British women in a post-colonial era. Marcia has presented her research at conferences on Global Pentecostalism in Europe and the U.S. Marcia has also taught in Ghana, West Africa where she and her husband served as missionaries for ten years.  She holds ministerial credentials with the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) and co-pastors a church plant in Virginia Beach, VA.

When Passion Meets Purpose: Celina Chumacero

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

 

Student Impact Blog #4

Growing up, I always cared about social justice issues and women’s rights because of the culture I grew up in. I come from a very traditional Mexican family so I was always taught to believe that the men were the head of the household and it was the woman’s job to maintain work in the household and nothing else. I never agreed with my mother and fathers beliefs and because of that, I decided to major in Sociology and minor in Women’s Studies. I wanted to change the way society defines gender roles and the way various cultures see and portray women. These past two semesters I had the pleasure of being an intern for the Global Center for Women and Justice.  Being an intern has been an amazing experience and opportunity to learn more about women’s rights and how to combat injustices. I was able to work with director Sandra Morgan and gain more knowledge on how to educate others about human trafficking as well as child exploitation. Working in the Global Center has taught me to study the issue before I do anything else. In order to impact someone else’s life or educate others, I need to know the issue that I am discussing. Once I fully comprehend what I am advocating for, then I can work on being a voice and making a difference.  Being a women’s studies minor and an intern for the Global Center has helped me discover my passion and what I want to do with my future career. I would like to be a social worker for sexual assault victims as well as rape victims. I want to work with this specific area because I believe many times victims of this crime do not receive the justice they deserve and are often blamed for the crime done to them. Rape culture has become something that is not taking seriously and because of this, I want to change the way society treats men and women who experience this trauma and loss of innocence. Various classes I have taken for my minor have taught me about rape culture and the process of victimization. My women’s studies classes have prepared me to work in this specific field and have empowered me to fight for this injustice. The Global Center for Women and Justice has not only helped me find my passion, but it has also taught me to always speak for those who cannot. In order to truly make a difference, we must be a voice for the voiceless and know to never lose hope. When we have hope, then we can fight for social change.

global center

The Importance of Action: Morgan Stacy

Student Impact Series: Part 3

12802713_1713861705523736_99525177522592012_n (1)

If I could sum up what I’ve learned as a student worker for the Global Center for Women and Justice in two words I would use the words compassion and community. The meaning of compassion is to recognize the suffering of others, then take action to help. The Global Center for Women and Justice accomplishes this task in a unique way by giving a place for those who feel a stirring of compassion for those affected by injustice and want to make a change, but also by guiding the individual in the important first step, which is to study and learn the issue to better equips them to take realistic and appropriate action for change. The Global Center teaches its students and interns that by studying the issue, we can be more effective in fostering change.  Community also plays a huge part in this process. As interns in the Global Center we learn and practice community as we work together on projects, ideas and even everyday tasks such organizing the office. Outside of the Global Center for Women and Justice, that value holds true even as staff, students, members of the Orange County and surrounding county advocates come together to brainstorm and find new ways to combat and prevent human trafficking and other social injustices. Just this year at the Ensure Justice conference I was amazed as I hosted one of the breakout sessions and watched complete strangers come together as a whole to come up with new ideas and offer one another suggestions and personal help.  Witnessing that aspect of the Global Center at the Ensure Justice Conference was very valuable for me as I learned that when we stand together we can do more than each individual striving alone.   I am excited to continue learning from Dr. Morgan and the Global Center for Women and Justice.

global center

A Word from our Intern: Vanessa Lopez

IMG_5424

Vanessa Lopez has been an intern with the Global Center for Women and Justice for the past 2 semesters and has been a great assets to our endeavors. She is a very smart student and involved with a lot of different groups on Vanguard’s campus, including the VU L.E.A.P. environmental club, of which she is the president. She is very professional and helped us work on two big events this semesters, the Frontline Summitt III and the Ensure Justice Conference. Read about what her internship with GCWJ means to her.

When planning for my Senior year at Vanguard University, I knew it would be best to have an internship. I am a History and Political Science major with a minor in Cultural Anthropology. Most students in my major have internships at political offices or with nonprofits of some sort. I do not own a car so my options were limited. When making my schedule with my close friend, I noticed she was interning with the Global Center of Women and Justice as well as getting credits. I did not need the credits but was immediately captivated by the idea of interning on campus with an organization I fully support.

            Though I am not a Women’s Studies minor, my time at Vanguard has exposed me to the realities of human trafficking. Before interning with the Global Center, I had attended the two past Ensure Justice Conferences. I learned so much just from those two events alone. Not only did I learn from the speakers about human trafficking but from my fellow peers as well. My main takeaway from the conferences was the fact that human trafficking is local. It is as big of a problem in America as it is in third world countries. With this knowledge, I was eager to intern for the Global Center as they do an amazing job of informing the greater public about such problems. They also do a great job at discussing preventative measures that such a reality as human trafficking can diminish in practice. Knowing I may want to work with nonprofits later in my life, I knew interning at the Global Center would be a great opportunity.

            During my time as an intern, I have learned a lot of the ins and outs that go into making a nonprofit function. It is more than you would think. I was able to assist with administrative tasks, putting information into excel spreadsheets and such, assist with marketing, sending out important emails, and organizing major events. It definitely was a good amount of work but it was a great learning experience. I learned what is needed to put on events that students like me can learn from. I learned of the many little details there are to consider. I learned that as an organization, there is always room for improvements and how that it not a bad thing.

            Finishing my time here at Vanguard and planning for my future, I cannot help but look back on my internship experience. Majoring in History and Political Science, I plan to soon go off and earn a Master’s Degree in Public Policy. With a Masters in Public Policy, I want to partake in working with nonprofits as well as government institutions in analyzing the effectiveness of laws and collaborating with many people and groups as possible to develop new laws if possible. I look back on my internship with the Global Center because it was during my internship that I realized the importance and lack of collaboration among groups fighting for the same cause. It is sad to see that nonprofits are being created left and right instead of working together to create a stronger coalition against human trafficking. I have developed a stronger interest in social rights issues and now human trafficking is at the forefront of my interest. The Global Center has definitely shaped my aspirations and for that I am thankful.

 

global center

Jessica Jimenez: A NEW Women’s Studies Minor Perspective!

12496153_1003919929655442_8748922516945284779_o

When I first started attending Vanguard I had really no idea of what the Global Center for Women and Justice was all about. Now being a sophomore and going into my junior year, I have gotten the chance to become more involved and see what this organization is all about. I first really got introduced to GCWJ when I attended a panel that they  were hosting. The panel was about Women in Business and they had the owner of Chick-Fil-A down on Harbor Blvd share her story, along with some of the employees. My intentions were only going for the chapel credit but in the end it sparked an interest in me that made me think of becoming more involved with GCWJ and becoming a Women’s Studies Minor. I was looking for an on campus job not to long after that, so I asked around and was told about a possible open position to work in the Global Center. That immediately excited me and I went for it. During my time being a student worker here at GCWJ, I have learned many valuable skills along with new knowledge that I will be able to bring to my future endeavors. I got the chance to help out at this year’s Ensure Justice Conference and I learned a bunch of new things about Human Trafficking and how it can better be prevented and handled. Although I have yet to take an actual class towards the Women’s Studies Minor, I look forward to learning about how I can be more effective for Gods kingdom as a woman in Christ.

 

 

 

 

Podcast 120: Hotels and Human Trafficking

During this episode 120, Hotels and Human Trafficking, Sandra Morgan and Dave Stachowiak discuss how the hotel industry can be involved in human trafficking and what the hotel industry can do to make better changes.  Sandra Morgan looks at the risks of sexual exploitation of sex trafficking happening in a hotel where the owners of the hotel have no idea what’s going on. Sandra talks about a program called ECPAT where hotels can sign up to learn how to create a plan to stop sexual exploitation in their own hotels. This starting point helps hotels decide what their strategy will be to help find a solution in ending child sex trafficking. ECPAT also gives suggestions for hotels to create their own policies and procedures. In order to end child sexual exploitation, we must recognize the value of every child and educate staff to understand the control mechanisms that the pimps use, and to not blame the victim. Hotels are uniquely positioned to also educate travelers; they can provide information on children’s rights and the prevention of sexual exploitation of children. Hotels can also teach travelers on how to report suspected cases. A community can also develop an engagement strategy and make it a goal to get every hotel in your city to sign on to some form of hotel initiatives to work on this mission to end human trafficking. The first step of interacting with hotels is to connect hotels with law enforcement to develop a working protocol, and then create training that is mutually respectful and engaging so you can teach how to identify signs of sexual exploitation.  First study the ECPAT Code and then find out what is happening in your own community.

Please take a moment to rate the Podcast on ITunes!

Resources:

ECPAT CODE  The Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct is the only voluntary set of business principles travel and tour companies can implement to prevent child sex tourism and trafficking of children. The Code is a joint venture between the tourism private sector and ECPAT.

OCHTTF/ROYCE/CSUF Seminar Nov 2015   Oree and  Deputy District Attorney Bradley Schoenleben

PROMISE – TSA Frank Massolini Chicago: Hotel And Law Enforcement Training initiative

PROMISE has launched ( HALT), the Hotel And Law Enforcement Training initiative, (through the Elgin Illinois Convention Bureau) This initiative provides hotel operators with training on how to identify human trafficking, establish local protocols for reporting the incidents to local police, assists in making law enforcement aware of the commercial implications in making arrests in hotels and creates a network between local hotels to exchange information on traffickers moving victims from hotel to hotel.

Salvation Army’s Anne’s House

Dr. Sandra Morgan’s new blog

Global Center for Women and Justice

Like us on Facebook!

Haven’t been receiving our monthly newsletter? Head over to our homepage and subscribe today using the box in the bottom left corner!

Contact us with questions, comments, or suggestions:

(714) 966-6360
gcwj@vanguard.edu

For updates about the Global Center for Women & Justice at Vanguard University, please LIKE us on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/VUGCWJ

CLICK HERE for FAQs about podcasts and how to subscribe

global center

Pentecostal Leadership Series: Dr. Beth Grant

Every semester the Lewis Wilson Institute for Pentecostal Studies puts on seminars that seeks to encourage and support the study of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. The theme for this semester’s seminars is “Your Daughters Shall Prophecy: Women of the Spirit.”

LWI_Beth.slider

At 7pm on Thursday, March 31st, Dr. Elizabeth Grant will be speaking at Newport Mesa Church as part of the 7th Annual Pentecostal Leaders Series. Dr. Elizabeth Grant is  Executive Presbyter on behalf of The General Council of the Assemblies of God. She is also an Associate Professor of Intercultural Education at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri.

Dr. Grant and her husband serve as Assemblies of God World Missionaries. While their 32 year career has focused on India, their heart for people has carried them to over 30 nations of the world. Dr. Grant is the co-founder of Project Rescue, an AGWM ministry to survivors of sex slavery. She has co-authored “Hands that Heal” (2007), an international curriculum to help train caregivers to provide transformational care to victims of sexual exploitation. Dr. Grant’s calling and passion is that of a teacher. She has served as faculty and guest lecturer in missions in colleges and seminaries in India, Europe, South Africa and the US. She earned her Ph.D. in Intercultural Education from Biola University School of Intercultural Studies.

We welcome you to hear Dr. Beth Grant speak on Pentecostal Women in Ministry: Spirit Empowerment for Courageous Leadership in a Spiritually-Dynamic World.  It will be on Thursday, March 31st at Newport Mesa Church at 7pm.

Ending Human Trafficking Podcast logo

Podcast 119: Ensure Justice: Vulnerable Children

During this episode, Sandra Morgan and Dave Stachowiak speak with Deputy Chief Derek Marsh about the importance of not just studying how we can rescue victims but also how we can prevent children from becoming victims. In 2004 Derek Marsh helped start the Orange County human trafficking taskforce. He explains that victims usually become victims because of environmental factors. At our 2016 Ensure Justice conference, Derek spoke about how people also become victims due to lack of resources and quality of education. Because of the lack of access, those who live in poverty become more vulnerable to people who can exploit them. Many people in poor communities are just trying to survive because of conflict and there not being enough infrastructure to support them.  Children become vulnerable because of migration. About 1.4 million children are those of undocumented immigrants and 2 out of 10 of these children are in greater risk because of poverty.  Because of their immigration status, pimps are likely to manipulate young women and children. They take advantage of their vulnerability and also threaten to report them to authorities. Our goal is to stop this from happening before they have been victimized and exploited. If we’re going to approach this issue proactively, we have to identify the vulnerable people and create programs that are collaborative. We need to create programs across the nation that help identify the boys and girls at risk and provide them with resources so they can provide for themselves and to prevent their future children from continuing this cycle.

Please take a moment to rate the Podcast on ITunes!

Resources:

Derek Marsh Bio

Dr. Sandra Morgan’s new blog

Global Center for Women and Justice

Like us on Facebook!

Haven’t been receiving our monthly newsletter? Head over to our homepage and subscribe today using the box in the bottom left corner!

Contact us with questions, comments, or suggestions:

(714) 966-6360
gcwj@vanguard.edu

For updates about the Global Center for Women & Justice at Vanguard University, please LIKE us on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/VUGCWJ

CLICK HERE for FAQs about podcasts and how to subscribe

global center

Violence Against Women in the Americas – Remarks by Under Secretary Sewall on International Women’s Day

 

Remarks

Sarah Sewall
Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights 
Organization of American States
Washington, DC
March 8, 2016

Good morning everyone! Thank you to all of our partners from the Organization of American States (OAS), the Canadian Mission to the OAS, and the United States Mission, for organizing this event.

Today is about recognizing the contributions of more than three-and-a-half billion women around the world – including nearly a billion women in the Americas.

In our hemisphere, women serve as heads of state, command space shuttles, and head top global companies like General Motors and Yahoo. Renowned female authors like Isabel Allende push the boundaries of literary convention, while artists like Shakira record the best-selling tracks of the century. Strong women leaders – like Chilean President Michelle Bachelet – win reelection in a landslide while championing gender equality. Countries like Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador, and Nicaragua lead the world with their number of women in elected office. Our collective progress as a region is undeniable.

But so too are the many obstacles that remain to full equality – and today we recognize those as well. Of these, perhaps most appalling is the widespread violence against women in the Americas.

In the United States, one in five women is sexually assaulted during her college years, though just one in ten incidents are ever reported. In 2014, there were over 19,000 sexual assaults in the U.S. military, 86 percent of which went unreported. A staggering 53 percent of all women in Latin America have suffered some form of domestic violence. In Guatemala, thousands of girls have been raped by fathers and family members, many becoming mothers before they turn 15. Many Latin American countries rank among the worst in the world for the number of women killed each year – like Colombia – where ten women are murdered each and every day.

These numbers are sickening. They are unacceptable. And we must call this violence what it is: a pervasive human rights abuse in our own countries and communities, against our own daughters, sisters, and mothers. President Obama has said that, “one of the best indicators of whether a country will succeed is how it treats its women.” By that measure, we all have much work to do.

That work starts with preventing violence against women in the first place. That means everyone, private citizens and public leaders – and especially men – speaking out against violence and for equality. President Obama has said that, “it is on all of us to reject the quiet tolerance of sexual assault and to refuse to accept what’s unacceptable.”

Preventing violence against women also means addressing the deeper imbalances – in education, employment, and politics – that reinforce a culture where women are valued less than men, where they are somehow seen as less worthy of equal respect, opportunity, and protection.

Many countries in the region have made great strides in addressing those imbalances. Some have all but closed the gender gap in education and health; yet significant disparities remain. On average, women in the region are still paid less than men for the same work. And women remain dramatically underrepresented at the highest levels of business and government. Of the top 500 companies in the United States, women lead just twenty-four. They hold a mere 20 percent of all seats in our Congress.

We have to close these gaps between men and women in all manner of public life. And we have to hold up the principles of equality and inclusion to build an environment where it’s never okay to look away, or to stay silent, when women are attacked.

But when women are subjected to violence, they must have a clear path to justice. Thanks to the Inter-American Human Rights System, the region has set high standards for countries to protect women’s rights. Yet clearly, in the pervasive violence against women we see year after year, the region is falling far short. To meet them, countries have to consistently enforce the law and ensure a fair and responsive judicial process.

They must also address the reality that, for women, the path to justice is often obstructed by the broader barriers they face in society. Barriers like unequal access to quality education and stable employment, gender stereotypes and outright discrimination, and a system of laws and statutes written mostly by men and for men.

Those barriers and biases take many forms. For example, when women in Mexico and Chile bring allegations of violence to court, the system allows judges to suspend legal action and require an alternative resolution process that often has no penalties. That is a double standard; and it feeds a culture of impunity that enables violence against women. And in all our countries, when women do face perpetrators in court, they often face a judge and jury laden with biases that discount their testimony or allow gender norms to impact their application of the law.

All of these barriers combine to impede justice for women in the region. And of course, those barriers are even higher for women who face other forms of discrimination because of their class, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or ethnicity. These women face a form of double and even triple discrimination that puts justice far out of reach – undermining the notion that all our people enjoy equal rights and protections under the law.

The poorest in our societies are often more vulnerable to violence. Unequal access to education, healthcare, and stable employment make them easier to exploit. That is especially true for poorer women, who also face greater rates of domestic violence and sexual assault. Some of the poorest are trapped in a web of forced labor and prostitution. Women from poor communities more often bear the sole burden of raising children and earning an income. So even if they know how to seek justice, they have precious little time and even fewer resources to pay for effective legal support. Adding to the burden – they must often contend with corrupt police, lawyers, and judges who exploit their lack of education and resources.

Exploitation is also widespread for women with disabilities, who are two to three times more likely to suffer physical violence and sexual abuse. Similarly, women of different sexual orientations and gender identities in the region face higher rates of violence and a harder path to justice. South of here in Fredericksburg, Virginia, a lesbian student was strangled to death just one day after she took part in a vigil to oppose bullying and harassment against the LGBTI community. In Brazil, more transgendered people are murdered than anywhere else in the world. No one should fear for their life because of who they love – or how they identify.

I recently learned the story of a trans woman from Honduras. After a long struggle to find work, she landed a job at a local restaurant. Then the death threats started coming in. We’ll find you, and we’ll kill you – the notes read. The restaurant owner decided to fire her because it was “too dangerous” to keep her around. Stories like this are all too common in the region.

Across the Americas, women from racial and ethnic minorities are also more vulnerable to violence – which is made worse by the legacy of repression and racism pervading our societies. A legacy that, in a cruel twist, often makes minority women less likely to seek justice from authorities they do not trust.

This issue has taken center stage here in the United States after a series of incidents where police seemed to use violence – including rape – against black women. Even though incidents of domestic violence against black women are 35 percent higher than for white women, many do not report these cases to the police because they fear their partners will be mistreated and abused. We have documented similar trends for minority groups across the Americas – highlighting the twisted ways that gender, racism, and violence intersect to put minority women in harm’s way and justice out of reach.

The same is true for indigenous women across the Americas, who also face greater violence and a long road to justice. Here in the US, women from native communities are two-and-a-half times more likely to experience sexual violence than other women. In remote areas across the region, militias, criminal networks, and private contractors have subjected indigenous women to all manner of sexual violence to terrorize, traffic, and displace them. Governments across the region have also been complicit, and there have been many reports by independent human rights groups of members of the military perpetrating violence and rape against indigenous communities.

Justice for all of these crimes remains elusive. Many incidents go unreported because indigenous women fear backlash and condemnation for taking the issue outside the community. Others stay silent because they fear retribution by the perpetrators, whether they are in or out of government. More don’t seek justice because they were never taught how.

Violence against women of all backgrounds remains one of the most pervasive but underreported human rights in the region – one that demands not only our attention, but our urgent action.

And fortunately, there are signs of progress as countries across the Americas begin to act. Colombia recently joined 15 other countries in Latin America to classify the murder of women as a separate crime with a stiff prison sentence. El Salvador established special courts to make it easier for women to seek justice when they are subjected to violence.

And in a historic decision last month, a Guatemalan court convicted two former military officials of crimes against humanity, including sexual violence against indigenous women – the first time the crime of sexual slavery has been heard in a domestic court in relation to the armed conflict.

Here in the United States, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013 strengthened the ability of native tribes to prosecute those who commit sexual violence, regardless of whether they are a tribal member. It also expanded resources to law enforcement to investigate rape, provided incentives for colleges to educate students about sexual assault, and increased assistance to vulnerable immigrant and LGBTI victims of domestic violence.

At the Department of State, we’ve expanded efforts to combat sexual violence against women around the world. In 2012, the Department developed a global strategy to tackle all forms of violence against women through a holistic, government-wide approach to protect and assist survivors, broaden access to justice, and help women across the globe understand and exercise their rights under the law.

Since the strategy was announced, funding to tackle gender-based violence around the world has grown to more $150 million – an increase of 60 percent. Many U.S. embassies are developing plans to prevent violence against women and girls. The Department is also strengthening how we use data to ensure that new programs to prevent and respond to gender-based violence are more targeted and impactful.

These efforts go hand-in-hand with the State Department’s broader efforts to empower women in all manner of public life and integrate gender perspectives in our work. Along with partners like the Inter-American Foundation and the OAS, the Department is helping women across the Americas to lift their voices and build their talents to move entire region closer to parity. In Colombia and Guatemala, the United States assists indigenous and African descendant women to participate in local government and advocate against violence and discrimination. Throughout the region, we train female entrepreneurs to reach new markets; we support women in politics to rise to positions of leadership; and we partner with local law enforcement to train more female police officers, prosecutors, and judges.

We do this not only because gender equality is inherently worthwhile; the experience of many nations, including ours, shows that when you broaden participation and emphasize inclusion – in business, in arts and culture, in politics – it enriches us all.

I mean this quite literally. When ten percent more girls enroll in secondary education, the economy increases by three percent. A recent study by McKinsey Global Institute found that advancing women’s equality could add up to $12 trillion dollars to global GDP by 2025. So this is not only about parity for its own sake, but also building strong economies for the 21st century.

It’s also about building stable and robust democracies. When women, or any group for that matter, fail to see themselves in the halls of power year after year – that can lead many to conclude that government does not care about their interests or futures, producing alienation and detachment from public life.

But more immediately, when policies overlook the perspectives of women, they inevitably miss a huge part of the picture. Just look at the Zika virus, whose dangers could be mitigated if more women were able to decide their own reproductive health. Yet on this issue like so many others, women are shut out of the debates shaping their lives.

That hasn’t stopped many brave women in the region from making their voices heard – often at great peril.

Brave women like Berta Cáceres. For years, Berta spoke out against powerful interests for the rights of the Lenca people – her people – to protect the rivers and streams and forests from exploitation. She began receiving threats, but as a woman, those threats began to take on a more gruesome tone. Typical warnings of murder and torture were laced with horrific promises of rape and attacks on her family. The message was clear: Be quiet woman, go home – or else. The violence they threatened would have silenced us all. But not Berta – she kept speaking up and speaking out. “Let us wake up! Let us wake up!” she told anyone who would listen.

Last week, gunmen broke into her home and shot Berta to death. Her loss is devastating, but we still have her words; we still have her example, and we must all of us wake up. Wake up to the violence against so many women, like Berta, full of passion and purpose to contribute.

So today, on International Women’s Day, let us together demand justice for Berta’s murder, and for the violence against all the sisters, daughters, and mothers of the Americas.

http://www.state.gov/j/remarks/254080.htm

global center

International Women’s Day

 


Press Statement

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 8, 2016

On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the world’s women—past, present, and future—and recognize their many contributions and reflect on what more needs to be done to empower over half of the world’s population.

We remember the extraordinary achievements of women throughout history, and we applaud the women of today who lead, inspire, and work to improve their communities, seek solutions to conflict, cure disease, and build peaceful and prosperous societies. We pledge to young girls that equal opportunities for success will not be limited by gender.

My daughters and granddaughters constantly show me that gender does not define potential. And as Secretary of State, I’ve seen first-hand how gender bias and discrimination only hold countries back. The United States remains committed to empowering women and girls and achieving gender equality globally. We do this because no economy will fully prosper if half its population is excluded from participating. No government will meet the needs of its people if it does not fully represent everyone. And no great challenge facing the world today will be solved if we do not harness the full potential of the talent in society.

Since 2007, the State Department has honored extraordinary leaders from around the world with our annual International Women of Courage Award. Through this award, we have recognized women who have contributed to global peace, prosperity, and progress—often in the face of incredible adversity. I look forward to celebrating this year’s awardees on March 29.

From human rights to human security, women have made our world a better place. As we honor their courage this month, we renew our commitment to women and girls around the world, to landmark international frameworks like the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and to the centrality of gender equality in the Sustainable Development Goals.

Last December, I visited an organization in Athens called the Melissa Network, where volunteers help migrant and refugee women integrate into Greek society or assist them in moving to another country. I spent some time with these volunteers—all of whom were women—preparing supplies for refugee and migrant women. They are at the front lines of the European migration and refugee crisis, helping other women find a better place and a better future. That’s something all of us can do, should, and must do, and there’s no better day than International Women’s Day to recommit ourselves to this cause.

http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2016/03/254056.htm