THE 8TH Annual Week of Women Online Event “Changing the Face of Politics: the Time is Now"” 

Speeches Shim

Friday, January 8, 2021
Virtual Week of Women

The Week of Women (WoW) event, launched by USAID-supported National Democratic Institute (NDI) on December 15, is an annual nationwide event that gathers, in a cross-ethnic setting, hundreds of women and men from political parties, civil society, business, media, and academia.  The event provides a critical venue for policy debate and intensive discussion and aims to expand the leadership skills of local women.  U.S. Ambassador Philip S. Kosnett opened the event, with other notable speakers on the first day including Acting President Osmani, Ambassador Kelly Currie, Ambassador Samantha Power, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and NDI President Derek Mitchell.  

USAID Assistant Administrator Michelle Bekkering provided closing remarks to the first day of the event, emphasizing the importance of women in reaching development goals.  “We can’t meet our development goals if women’s voices, interests, and needs are not taken into consideration.”  Assistant Administrator Bekkering also stressed that women’s economic empowerment has long been a priority of the U.S. Government, and that USAID is working with local institutions to increase women’s political leadership and include more women professionals in the energy sector.

Since 2012, more than 800 women and 100 men have participated in WoW.  As evidence of the program’s impact, in the 2017 local elections, 80 WoW alumni (including 13 women from non-majority communities) ran for office in their municipal assemblies, and 22 were elected as local counselors.  In the 2019 parliamentary elections, 17 WoW alumni were on the ballot for the first time and six were elected.  While there has been progress, opportunities still exist for the significant advancement of women.