March-April 2015Announcing the March/April 2015 Issue II, Vol IX Cover Story: Feeding the Planet, Empowering Women International Women's Day 2015. PLUS: The New Sino-Iranian Security Axis; Tor and Bitcoin; Cyber Quantifiable Restrictions; Interviews with Ambassadors La Celia Prince and Laurie Fulton; The Future of Manufacturing; and More! Washington, DC: For as long as I have been the editor of Diplomatic Courier we have produced a special annual edition on International Women’s Day. We did this even when the Courier was a less-than-glossy quarterly. This year we celebrate nine editions focused on Global Women and their accomplishments and we have selected interesting editorials showcasing great work that is being done on behalf of women and girls. I haven’t run out of inspiring, feel-good quotes about women’s empowerment yet, but looking back at my notes from previous years, one theme is common: we often find ourselves spending a great deal publishing positive stories about women and girls in power—i.e. see the editorial coming out of Davos 2015 by Anna Tunkel. But as always, I am writing my editor’s note for this special edition on President’s Day in the United States—a day which always reminds me: we have not elected a woman in the highest office in the United States yet. In January, Diplomatic Courier started the year by focusing on the Post-MDG agenda. It seems (to me) women have been on the fringe of agendas for some time now. But never have we seen such a concerted effort as the one currently being waged by individuals, businesses, and the UN system, to make the empowerment and protection of women a standalone goal in the Sustainable Development Goals—the goals that will be put in place this September and define the development agenda for the next 15 years after the Millennium Development Goals expire. Much progress has been made towards women’s rights over the last 15 years. But the progress is not universal. The violence and inequality women and girls face globally is structural and permeates all areas of work and life. Advances and access to technology should have helped women’s causes but in some instances they have created an even more dangerous environment. Read the article on internet hate crime in this edition, by Chrisella Herzog, and you will note that being a woman in certain industries means being threatened with death and rape on a daily basis. In structural terms, the inequality stems from systems that have been in place for a very long time. Our cover story author, Director General of the International Development Law Organization, Irene Khan says rule of law is at the center of the solution. Simply put “if we want to end hunger, we must empower women. If we want to feed the planet then we must fight gender discrimination.” This means that the chief Millennium Development Goal, ending hunger, rests squarely on how we treat women’s legal rights. According to UN Women, it will be critical to address these structural problems through the creation of a standalone goal. The organization lists three areas: violence against women—a universal phenomenon, which has tremendous costs for societies; the need to expand women’s choices and capabilities—access to education, health services, and rule of law; and the need to have a voice in their homes and their communities. While some of these issues have been addressed with various international commitments, 2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals offer an unprecedented opportunity to consolidate and galvanize action so that we may see real change in our time. Ana C. Rold is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Diplomatic Courier.  

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