Whatever the reason for their request, Mr. Trump and Rex W. Tillerson, his pick for secretary of state, should remember that women’s rights are tied directly to national security. The State Department’s gender equality programs are not just politically correct fluff — they deal with matters of life and death, like rape during war, genital cutting, forced marriage and access to education. The State Department provides essential funding to combat these problems.
Nongovernmental organizations around the world that work with survivors of rape and sexual violence are supported by small grantsfrom the State Department, for example. One program in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh trained 450 imams to extol the importance of girls’ education in their Friday sermons and, when officiating at marriages, to ask for the bride’s age and proof of her consent. The United States Agency for International Development helps girls purchase books and pay fees so they can finish grade school. This kind of work is important not just for the women and girls who directly benefit from them, but also for the security of their countries."
Read article by Valerie M. Hudson and Dara Kay Cohen from The New York Times.