WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama issued an executive order today on an initiative to ensure that perspectives of women are included in U.S. diplomatic and development strategy, the White House said.
The order spells out steps the administration will take to increase U.S. support for women in international efforts to prevent and resolve conflict and in development of war-torn areas.
“We know that enabling women to have a voice alongside those of men in matters of international peace and security is the right thing to do,” a White House statement said.
Including women and their perspectives in efforts “to end wars and bring about just and sustainable peace” is critical to international peace and stability and national security, the White House said.
The “U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security” is the product of American diplomats, development experts and the military, according to the administration. The White House described the document as a “roadmap” to ensure that “perspectives and considerations of gender are woven into the fabric” of peacemaking, conflict prevention and protection of civilians.
The order applies to the departments of State, Defense, Justice, Treasury and Homeland Security, and also includes the U.S. mission to the United Nations, the Agency for International Development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Office of U.S. Trade Representative.
One of the goals is to head off conflict before it begins. Under the order, there would be new emphasis at the United Nations to better respond to violence against women, sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
“Countries are more peaceful and prosperous when women are accorded full and equal rights and opportunity,” the administration said in a fact sheet accompanying the order.
Efforts to forge peace agreements, development plans and constitutions are more inclusive when women, more than 50 percent of the world’s population, “have a say in how societies rebuild peace and recover from conflict,” the White House said.
Plan to put the order into effect must be developed within 150 days and will be overseen by the National Security Council at the White House, according to the order. A review for possible changes and updates would be conducted in 2015.
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