Today, at the UN General Assembly, I had the privilege of co-hosting an event to mark the one year anniversary of the launch of the Equal Futures Partnership – a coalition of countries who have committed to take action to remove barriers to opportunity and promote equality for women and girls in our countries.
I was joined by, Secretary Kerry, World Bank President Jim Young Kim, and Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell, together with representatives from 23 countries, to talk through the progress we’ve made, and to reaffirm our commitment to the partnership.
When the Partnership was originally announced by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and I, one year ago, we were acting in response to President Obama’s challenge to his fellow heads of state to take new measures to break down barriers to women’s political and economic empowerment. The United States and 12 other governments launched the Equal Futures Partnership, and committed to specific actions to advance equality in our respective countries.
After our successful launch a year ago, we welcomed progress reports from founding members and new commitments to join from others at the World Bank’s annual spring meetings, hosted by World Bank President Jim Kim and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
And at Monday’s event, we heard from all of our partners and were pleased to officially welcome Italy, Japan, and Mexico as new members, and to receive a letter of intent from Switzerland.
I am proud of what the United States has already achieved, and was pleased, today, to join our partner nations in announcing a number of new private and non-profit sectors partnerships, and new commitments to take action.
I was especially excited to announce that next spring President Obama will convene a White House Summit on Working Families, because we know that the financial security of hardworking American families is the foundation of a strong and growing economy. This summit, which we will hold in partnership with the Department of Labor and the Center for American Progress, will elevate the ongoing national conversation around making today’s workplace work for everyone – from working parents struggling to balance the demands of their jobs with the needs of their families, to businesses seeking to attract and retain skilled workers and improve their bottom lines.
We are looking forward to the next phase of the Equal Futures Partnership, in which we will launch new mechanisms within the Partnership to share best practices and report on progress toward commitments, and in which members will also assess their progress and identify new, strengthened commitments for action.
Valerie B. Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama. She oversees the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and chairs the White House Council on Women and Girls.