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Madeleine Albright



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In 2011, the United Nations established UN Women, a new UN body charged with accelerating gender equality and women’s empowerment. Michelle Bachelet, the former President of Chile, heads the new entity.

Research the UN’s gender equality initiatives over the past several decades; begin with the overview posted at Explore the UN Women web site at to learn more about the new organization’s focus areas and the indicators it is monitoring (in particular, see the biannual report Progress of the World’s Women).

Gender equality is explicitly highlighted in the third of the UN’s eight Millennium Development Goals, but the UN feels strongly that empowering women is “integral” to achieving all eight of the goals. What are the goals, and how is women’s empowerment important to each of them?

When Madeleine Albright’s granddaughter was seven, she asked her mother, “So what’s the big deal about Grandma Maddie being Secretary of State? Only girls are Secretary of State.”

Since the late ‘90s, three women have served as Secretary of State: Albright, Condoleeza Rice, and Hillary Clinton have been the highest-ranking women in the history of U.S. government. What are considered the most significant accomplishments of each during her tenure? How are they perceived compared to men who have held the position?

Compare the careers of Clinton, Rice, and Albright. How are their professional experiences similar or different? What advice do they have for other women who aspire to be leaders in their chosen fields?

Imagine a meeting with all three of these leaders. What would they say to one another? What questions would you want to ask them?

National Democratic Institute

Pew Global Attitudes Project

Council on Foreign Relations

UN Women: "Progress of the World’s Women"

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