Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
|For Immediate Release: |
January 22, 2010
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553
Boxer Calls for Greater Role for Women in Upcoming Conference on Afghanistan
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today sent a letter to President Obama urging a more significant role for Afghan women in the upcoming London conference on Afghanistan.
The full text of the letter is below:
January 22, 2010
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I write today to urge you to ensure that women play a key role in the international conference on Afghanistan that will be held in London on January 28, 2010. As I understand, a key objective of the conference is to help formulate a strategy to stabilize Afghanistan and ultimately reduce the country’s reliance on outside assistance. However, I am deeply concerned that women are not being viewed as an essential element in reaching that goal.
Just yesterday, the Department of State released its “Afghanistan and Pakistan Regional Stabilization Strategy,” a detailed, thirty-page document that highlights everything from the importance of rehabilitating watersheds to expanding mobile banking systems. The document only makes one small reference to Afghan women. Most disturbing, it contains an entire section largely dedicated to reintegrating the Taliban, who are infamous for the atrocities they have committed against women. This section does not mention women at all.
This is particularly alarming, because the future of Afghanistan is inextricably linked to the empowerment of Afghan women and girls. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently said, “Investing in the potential of women to lift and lead their societies is one of the best investments we can make.” It has been proven that women are inclined to use their successes to invest in their communities, to start small businesses, and to send their children to school. Giving women the tools to succeed is critical to Afghanistan’s chance at a brighter and more secure future.
As such, I urge you to ensure that the role of women in the future of Afghanistan is a key focus during the London conference. I also ask that you help make certain that the voices of Afghan women are heard. It is my understanding that the Department of State has expressed support for having an Afghan woman address the foreign ministers at the conference and I urge you to help make this a reality.
Thank you for your prompt consideration of this important request.
United States Senator
cc: The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State
The Honorable Richard Holbrooke, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan