“The place where the most work needs to be done to ensure women are at parity is in the political realm,” says Stephenie Foster, senior advisor in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the State Department. “Globally, only about 21 percent of parliamentarians are women.”
Foster sat down with Women of Washington radio hosts Aileen Black and Gigi Schumm to discuss women’s issues, both at home and abroad.
Foster says most obstacles to women’s success are universal. “At the root, most of the problems that women face around the world come from very similar causes, which are societies where women are not fully valued as much as men.”
Gender policy — looking at how a situation differentially affects women — is an important part of the State Department’s work. “In order to have really smart foreign and domestic policy, it’s important to ask that question, so that we don’t make assumptions about what everyone needs by only talking to some of the population,” Foster said.
Also in this episode, Foster reflects on how much has changed for women in politics since Madeline Albright served as Secretary of State. She also gives her take on how Americans can help educate women in the developing world, and talks about how the State Department’s internal and external gender policies work together.