National Girls & Women In Sports Day

From the Commission on the Status of Women: 2/1/2010,

February 3, 2010 is National Girls and Women in Sports Day – Stay Strong, Play On!

National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSP) evolved from a day honoring fallen Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman, to a day devoted to acknowledging the past accomplishments of female athletes and recognizing current sports achievements, the positive influences of sports participation, and the continuing struggle for equality and access for women in sports. 
NGWSD is celebrated in all 50 states with community-based events, award ceremonies, and activities honoring the achievements of female athletes and encouraging participation of girls and women in sports. 


National Girls & Women in Sports Day

2010 NGWSD Theme

Reports on the State of the American Woman

How far have women’s progress came along in the past 45 years in America?
What Women Want Now, Time Magazine, 10/26/09
Where She Is, and Where She’s Going, Time Magazine, 3/20/1972

Gender Gap Index 2009

Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas Initiative

From, 10/8/09:

Pathways to Prosperity initiative promotes businesswomen’s connections

Washington – Beautiful textiles from Peru, fragrant aromatherapy mixes from Costa Rica, intricate jewelry from Honduras, energy drinks from Colombia. Aspiring women entrepreneurs gather in Washington October 7th9 for the Women’s Entrepreneurial Conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

( – Washington — Beautiful textiles from Peru, fragrant aromatherapy mixes from Costa Rica, intricate jewelry from Honduras, energy drinks from Colombia. Aspiring women entrepreneurs gather in Washington October 7–9 for the Women’s Entrepreneurial Conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

They not only will bring their products to exhibit but also will meet with experienced entrepreneurial women from the United States, the Caribbean and South America and attend workshops designed to help them gain access to regional markets, finance and training.

The State Department facilitated the conference as a commitment under the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas initiative. The United States and 11 other Western Hemisphere nations launched the Pathways initiative in September 2008 to ensure that the benefits of trade were shared more broadly within member societies and to deepen economic cooperation among partner nations.

At the May 2009 Pathways ministerial meeting in El Salvador, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged expansion of Pathways goals to include a focus on social justice and social inclusion, especially efforts that transfer the benefits of trade to the poor. “Let us embark together down a new path defined by shared responsibilities, shared opportunities and a commitment to improve the life of every citizen in the Americas,” Clinton said. “We are part of the same family, this continent is our common home, and we will inhabit a common future. Let us do all we can to harness the untapped human potential that covers this vast hemisphere.”

Clinton said that during her travels to the Pathways ministerial she learned that the Number 1 thing both men and women everywhere want “is a good job with a good income. It is at the core of human aspiration to be able to support oneself, to give one’s children a better future.”

At the Women’s Entrepreneurial Conference, the first of its kind with U.S. government sponsorship, there will be approximately 40 aspiring women entrepreneurs who will be partnered with mentors — experienced women entrepreneurs with expertise in international business and trade. The relationships will continue as the mentors visit the entrepreneurs in their home countries over the next year.

At the conference, aspiring entrepreneurs will be able to meet with logistical partners for importing goods and have meetings with trainers and educators. The conference also will link these entrepreneurs with companies that are interested in buying new lines of products and services, and will offer exposure to marketing and branding strategies from such companies as global services company Ernst and Young and global shipping company FedEx, as well as nongovernmental organizations such as Vital Voices and Count Me In.

Participants will receive expert assistance on access to finance, marketing, technology, trade opportunities, and exhibiting at trade fairs. They will be able to exhibit their products and meet with experienced investors in an international trade information fair. There also will be “how-to” sessions devoted to import logistics and marketing, plus visits to local women-led businesses.

The Department of State coordinator for the conference, Marsha McLean, told that she hopes a very strong networking connection will evolve from this meeting of aspiring and experienced women entrepreneurs. “Out of these connections,” McLean said, “is an opportunity for these women to find economic stability for their families, their communities and their regions.”

To move this program and conference forward, President Obama’s ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues, Melanne Verveer, worked to engage the private sector and Latin American enterprises. Verveer long has been committed to expanding the role of women in economic growth worldwide. She said she hopes the women who attend the conference, both the aspiring entrepreneurs and the experienced businesswomen, add to their skills and gain the confidence and knowledge “necessary to broaden their horizons.”

“Women have the potential to usher in a new generation of social entrepreneurs and to ensure that the free trade in our region is about fairness, partnerships and creating a more level playing field,” Verveer told The ambassador said this conference is about establishing relationships and ongoing partnerships. “This is the time to address the importance of women as part of our agenda of engaging with the rest of the world. … Women must be included as part of the solution — as active and capable agents of democracy and economic growth,” she said.

UN Creates Agency for Women

From, 9/25/09:

UN Takes Step to Tackle Global Women’s Issues

In case you missed it, exciting news came out of the opening session of the UN General Assembly last Monday: after nearly three years of negotiations, member states voted to create a UN agency for women.

The new agency’s mandate will be to “promote the rights and well-being of women worldwide and to work towards gender equality.” Currently, the UN’s gender programs are scattered across various agencies through four different programs: UNIFEM, the Division for the Advancement of Women, the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW). The new entity will be headed by an Under-Secretary General who reports to the UN’s Secretary General, on par with agencies like UNICEF and UNHCR.

Groups that have been campaigning for the body (such as Gender Equality Architecture Reform, or GEAR) hope that a composite, super-agency will not only raise the prominence of gender issues on the global agenda but also boost funding for women through the UN, which they say has been low under the current structure. GEAR and others are calling for $1 billion in start-up money for the new agency (for comparison, the 2007 budgets for UNICEF and UNIFEM in 2007 were $129 million and $3 billion, respectively).

There is no doubt that the step is a good one for the world’s women, especially those living in the world’s poorest countries. For over two decades, development experts have been saying that countries who invest in education, health and economic opportunities for their women see greater results in poverty reduction and development across the board. Yet while some progress has been made in improving the lives of women around the globe (through expanded access to microfinance and treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS, for example), the fact remains that women are still bearing the brunt of extreme poverty and disease and in many countries, are systematically excluded from the economy and politics and living in fear of violence and rape.

The UN decision follows other signs that momentum is building for a renewed effort to tackle global women’s issues. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama created the first ever Office on Global Women’s Issues in his Administration (with veteran women’s advocate Melanne Verveer at its head) and in Congress, Senator Barbara Boxer now chairs a subcommittee with global women’s issues in its purview. The need to invest in women was also a recurring key theme of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent trip to Africa, and this past month both the Clinton Global Initiative and the New York Times have highlighted the topic in a major way.

So it seems that everyone- and now the UN- agrees: women are key to a healthier, more prosperous and stable world. The challenge is now to translate this growing consensus into action. At the UN, details on the new agency will be ironed out over the coming months after Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon comes up with a proposal to member states on the body’s mission, funding, structure and oversight. The first indication of how much muscle the new agency will have. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., the FY011 budget should be a good sign of where the Administration’s priorities lie and how they match with Congress. We’ll be watching these developments at ONE closely, so stay tuned here for news from both fronts.

-Nora Coghlan

UN Women