Coalition to Congress: Protect Foreign Assistance for Women and Girls
May 2, 2017
The Center for Inquiry (CFI) was amongst 124 organizations to issue a joint statement calling on Congress and other officials to support a robust U.S. foreign assistance budget in the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations process, specifically regarding women and girls around the world.
Each year when Congress budgets and appropriates federal spending to provide for our common prosperity and security, it makes important decisions about American values and reflects those values to the nation and the world. Typically, this includes investing in the long-held and cherished American tradition of supporting vulnerable people at home and abroad, including the most marginalized, with the critical assistance they need to build healthy, self-sufficient lives. Increasingly, the U.S. has shown bold leadership supporting women and girls to achieve their full potential, including those that make up 70 percent of the 1.3 billion people worldwide living in extreme poverty.
By spending less than one percent of the budget, our foreign assistance dollars provide lifesaving assistance and transform lives and economies for the better across the globe. It is worth the penny on the dollar to support women entrepreneurs, business owners, and small shareholder farmers to become more self-reliant because doing so helps them lift themselves and their communities out of poverty. Including women in humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts not only brings their perspectives to the table, but also makes America’s noteworthy assistance in conflict and emergency settings more efficient and impactful. Preventing violence against women – which affects an estimated 35 percent of women worldwide – helps women be more secure, productive members of their societies and builds lasting peace both abroad and for Americans here at home. Foreign assistance is such a small sum, yet it means the difference between life or death for millions of women and girls globally.
The statement was delivered to the Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate, as well as to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney; Acting USAID Administrator Wade Warren; and Special Assistant to the President Ivanka Trump.