Ertharin Cousin, United States Ambassador to the UN Agencies in Rome, spoke about “Women and Multilateralism: Harvesting What We Sow” at an awards ceremony on March 6th that opened a women’s leadership conference in Bern, Switzerland.
The three-day bilateral women’s leadership conference: “Sister Republics: Building Bridges – an action plan for women’s leadership” was organized by the U.S. Embassy to Switzerland, on the invitation of the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland Donald S. Beyer, Jr.
At the opening dinner, Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold, a former member of the Swiss parliament and an expert on African development issues, received the second annual “Women and Children First” award given by the US Embassy in Bern to honor leaders “who make a difference for women and girls.”
Ambassador Cousin spoke of the fundamental role of women and girls in agriculture. She shared some daunting figures – 925 million people do not have enough to eat and 98 percent of these are in the developing world – but she said that women can play an important part in reducing this number, if women farmers are given the tools they need.
Ambassador Cousin reiterated the United States government’s commitment to the empowerment of women and girls, and brought attention to the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) new and updated Policy on Gender Equality and Female Empowerment, which focuses on investing in women and girls by diminishing gender inequalities.