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Wanted Now: A Pragmatic and Visionary Leader for the Improved UN Entity for Women

This is a joint post with Geeta Rao Gupta.

In all of last week’s hoopla in NYC with the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the Clinton Global Initiative in full swing, news about an improved, composite U.N. entity for women (still to be formally named) went under the radar. The idea for consolidating several U.N. agencies into one has been in the works for about three years, but was finally adopted just two weeks ago. The resolution merely approves the creation of the entity and states that the Secretary General should announce the final plan for the structure and mission of the agency at next year’s UNGA. Now that’s classic UN style—to take one entire year to figure out what has already been figured out! It’s time for urgent and quick next steps, which if implemented smartly (not just politically) can make all the difference.

Reflections on NYT Magazine Special Issue on Gender: Three Questions to Guide the New Crusade

This is a joint post with Molly Kinder.

This week The New York Times Magazine is dedicated to a single theme: women. The main attraction of this special issue is a stirring essay by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, who write passionately about the great moral, national security and economic development imperatives of investing in the world’s women and girls. The “women’s crusade” they call for seems already to have begun. A few pages beyond, an interview with Secretary Clinton heralds the start of a “new gender agenda” at the highest reaches of the U.S. foreign policy. Also noted is the growing philanthropic attention to the cause of women and girls – a trend that will be further evidenced next month, when the issue headlines at the annual (Bill) Clinton Global Initiative meetings in NYC.

Women and Girls Here...or Everywhere?

Girls in Burkina FasoThe Executive Order signed by President Obama this week creating the White House Council on Women and Girls signals that the Administration recognizes that special consideration is warranted to make sure government policies and programs don't reinforce discrimination against women and girls -- and in some instances should spur extra efforts to overcome gender-related economic and social