March-April 2014Announcing the March/April 2014 Issue II, Vol VIII Cover Story: Empowering Girls in the Digital Age Featured: Interview with Ambassador La Celia A. Prince PLUS: The Victim Left Behind; The Global Gender Gap Report; Toward a Smarter Public Diplomacy; and more! Washington, DC: As I sit down to write my letter it is President’s Day in the United States and this is the eighth edition Diplomatic Courier has devoted to International Women’s Day. I can’t help but reflect on the one quote summarizing the good news for women in diplomacy. It comes from one of my heroes, Madeleine Albright: “My seven-year-old granddaughter said to my daughter, her mother, ‘So what’s the big deal about Grandma Maddy having been Secretary of State? Only girls are Secretaries of State.’ Most of her lifetime, it’s true. But at the time it was a big deal.” This President’s Day I am reminded we have not elected a woman in the highest office in the United States. One of the most interesting—and popular—stories to make it out Davos this year (where I was fortunate to attend as working press) was the reduced participation of women leaders—down to 15 percent. The 400 of the world’s most powerful and influential women attending included Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, Rockefeller Foundation’s Judith Rodin, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, South Korea’s President Park Guen-hye, and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg—an impressive list. So while participation at Davos is not apparently equal, gender is an important part of the agenda. There were six sessions focused on gender during the meeting and several other initiatives and task forces year-round that intend to bring about change. Yet, the facts are still hard to swallow: fewer than 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. The world’s biggest economies boast a little over double that percentage for boardroom positions—but that’s nothing to brag about. And in the political realm, women hold 17 percent of ministerial positions while 11 percent of heads of state are women. But there is some positive data we have barely considered. Women can break barriers if they choose careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). At the recent launch of Million Women Mentors, a national partnership with the goal of using mentorship to educate and empower women and girls to pursue careers in STEM, Jorge Benitez, CEO of Accenture said “over the next decade the need for tech and STEM skills will explode.” Indeed, according to the Accenture data, while women earn an average of 75 cents for each dollar their male counterparts earn in most fields, women in STEM careers earn 92 cents to the dollar. Data also shows that “80 percent of the fastest growing occupations in the United States depend on mastery of mathematics and scientific knowledge and skills.” Diplomatic Courier is a proud partner of Million Women Mentors and is aspiring to take the initiative globally by convening foreign ambassadors and an international delegation of elected women leaders in Washington on March 5th and 6th to celebrate women’s month and to raise awareness on the initiative on a global scale. We are proud to have Kathy Calvin pen our cover story, discussing how technology and the digital age will empower girls and women worldwide. Diplomatic Courier will look forward to playing its part as a convener of thought leaders that contribute to gender parity in the U.S. and around the world. Ana C. Rold is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Diplomatic Courier.    

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