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Empowering Egyptians, One Woman At A Time

March 7, 2013 by Charity Wallace

This op-ed originally appeared in The SunSentinel on March 7, 2013.

International Women's Day will be celebrated on Friday and is an occasion to celebrate women's economic, social and political achievements. Women have made great strides over the past century, but in many parts of the world, they still face oppression and a lack of opportunity.

In some countries, conditions are actually getting worse. In December, Egypt adopted a new constitution -- one that fails to enshrine equal rights for women. Observers are also worried that aspects of the new constitution will lend support to horrific offenses against women, like female genital mutilation and sex trafficking.

No nation can thrive when half its population is unable to lend its talent and effort to pressing social problems. The way forward is to support women in these countries as they work together, to advocate for opportunity and equality. These networks of women can push beyond the political and cultural forces intent on repressing them.

That's why at the George W. Bush Institute, our Women's Initiative Fellowship Program seeks to identify and empower female leaders in countries where women are oppressed and marginalized.  We have focused our initial efforts on Egypt, but there is important work to be done for the women of many other countries.

Read Charity Wallace's op-ed in its entirety here.

Charity Wallace serves as the director of the Women's Initiative at the Bush Institute and senior advisor to Mrs. Laura Bush.


Author

Charity Wallace
Charity Wallace

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. 

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