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This blog originally appeared on LitWorld.com's Stand Up For Girls Blog on the First International Day Of The Girl.
Women and girls are critical to peace and prosperity. Countries that promote girls’ education and women’s opportunity are proven to be more stable and prosperous. When girls are educated, they delay marriage, have fewer children, raise healthier, more educated families, and have opportunities to contribute in the workforce and earn an income. The simple ability to read can change the course of woman’s life and has a profound impact on her future and her country’s stability. Unfortunately, there are places in the world where women and girls are persecuted and prevented from pursuing their education. Just today, the Washington Post published an op-ed written by Mrs. Laura Bush that condemns the brutal attack by the Taliban on a fourteen year old Pakistani girl whose only crime was the desire to go to school. Mrs. Laura Bush chairs the Women’s Initiative at The George W. Bush Institute, which recognizes the dramatic effects that literacy, education, economic opportunity and the inclusion of women have on communities, and understands that progress in these areas can transform societies. Through the Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative, we address these fundamental issues and invest in women so that they can catalyze change. The Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program, the signature program of the Women’s Initiative, is a leadership program that equips women to become effective leaders and improve society. Research shows that the best indicator of a women’s success is her network. With a strong network, a woman is better able to prosper in her field and multiply her influence. A woman taps into the resources and expertise of those within her diverse network, expanding its impact. Recognizing the significance of the network, the Women’s Initiative Fellowship classes are comprised of approximately twenty women from one country representing the six most influential sectors of society including education, health, business, politics, law and media. This structure ensures that the impact in the respective community is substantial, concentrated and powerful. The Women’s Initiative Fellowship combines coursework, hands-on skill building, sharing of best-practice models, dedicated mentors, and the development of a strong network to ensure that fellows return home prepared to create significant and lasting change in their country. The Fellowship partners with organizations like LitWorld to enhance the fellows learning and introduce them to new programs, which could be replicated in their home country. The inaugural class of Women’s Initiative Fellows has made great strides since the program launched in February 2012. Since the beginning of the program, several Fellows have started their own businesses, one Fellow used her expertise in fundraising to raise over $32million for her charity, the Egyptian National Cancer Institute, another Fellow uses her voice and her photography skills for a campaign to stop sexual harassment, and one Fellow started her own online media organization called Bokra news to ensure uncensored news is available to Egyptian citizens. Though the Fellows did not know each other before the program, since returning to Egypt, many have worked together, using their unique skills and talents, to further causes that benefit women, children, and Egyptian society. The power of the network is evident in their success. The remarkable stories of the courageous Egyptian women that make up the inaugural class of Women’s Initiative Fellows can be found here. Supporting women and girls is one of the most important efforts of our generation and the Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative will continue to stand up for girls and women around the world.
This post was written by Charity Wallace, Director of the Women’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute.
Charity N. Wallace serves as the Senior Advisor to the Women's Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute and is in an executive graduate program in pursuit of a Global Master of Arts degree in international relations from The Fletcher School at Tufts University. Most recently, Ms. Wallace served as the Vice President of the Global Women’s Initiatives and Senior Advisor to Mrs. Laura Bush. In this role, Ms. Wallace was responsible for setting the vision and managing the policy engagement for the women’s initiatives, including Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon global health initiative, empowering women in the Middle East and working with First Ladies from around the world. The Women's Initiative aims to improve access to education, health care, and economic opportunity for women and children in Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan.
From February 2009 through September 2010, Wallace served as the Chief of Staff to Mrs. Laura Bush. Wallace oversaw Mrs. Bush’s initiatives - from her wide ranging policy agenda to her the publishing and promotion of Mrs. Bush’s bestselling book, Spoken from the Heart. Wallace served in the Bush Administration from January 2001 to January 2009. During her tenure in the administration, she served as Deputy Chief of Protocol of the United States (2007-2009), Director of Advance for First Lady Laura Bush (2004-2007), and worked in public liaison positions in Presidential Advance, the U.S. Department of Education, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, and USA Freedom Corps. During her tenure in the Bush Administration and in her current role, Wallace has traveled to 70 countries.
Ms. Wallace serves on the Board of Advisors for the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, the Advisory Board of ARZU Studio Hope, the Advisory Board of 4word Women and the Advisory Board of All In Together, an bi-partisan organization that promotes women’s engagement in political and civic life. Ms. Wallace is an ex-officio member on the Human Freedom Advisory Council for the Bush Institute. Ms. Wallace wrote the foreword for the book Work, Love, Pray, which was released in 2011. A native of California, Ms. Wallace graduated magna cum laude from Pepperdine University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science, with a focus in international relations.Full Bio
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