Senate, Barbara Boxer Take Big Foreign Policy Step For Women in Poverty

A step of historic significance.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.

I covered the United Nations Conference on the Status of Women in Beijing, China in 1995. I watched then-first lady Hillary Clinton make her now-renowned remarks equating women's rights with human rights. When the late Sen. Jesse Helms chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he obliterated U.S. support for a series of international conferences the United Nations used to hold. When the economy improves, perhaps President Obama will bring them back, as they were the launch pad for major international initiatives to raise women in developing nations out of poverty.

For the moment, however, the Democratic-controlled Senate has taken an important step to raise the visibility of third-world women in poverty. This alone is of historic significance. I understand we have huge economic issues in our own country right now, and that comes first. But that does not mean we neglect the concerns of people overseas, who also need us:

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today announced that she will chair the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy, and Global Women's Issues.

During Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearing, Boxer referred to a series of stories by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof that detailed violent attacks against women in Afghanistan and Asia. Boxer raised the need for a new commitment by the United States to ending violence and discrimination against women around the world, telling Clinton, "No woman or girl should ever have to live in fear or face persecution for being born female.

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