In a frank and funny Q&A with Pat Mitchell from the Paley Center, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright talks bluntly about politics and diplomacy, making the case that women's issues deserve a place at the center of foreign policy. Far from being a "soft" issue, she says, women's issues are often the very hardest ones, dealing directly with life and death. Since leaving office as U.S. Secretary of State in 2001, Madeleine Albright has continued her distinguished career in foreign affairs as a businesswoman, political adviser and professor.
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 http://www.un.org/en/globalissues/women/. Explore the UN Women web site at http://www.unwomen.org/ 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 http://www.ndi.org/
Pew Global Attitudes Project http://www.pewglobal.org/
Council on Foreign Relations http://www.cfr.org/
UN Women: "Progress of the World’s Women" http://www.unwomen.org/resources/progress-of-the-worlds-women