With the US Congress planning major spending cuts, it looked very likely we’d see a major reduction in the International Affairs Budget, which includes critical support for women and girls living in conflict zones. The International Rescue Committee jumped into action, calling on congress not to cut this lifesaving funding.
In total they gathered more than 123,000 petition signatures, of which over 25% came from Change.org members. When the budget deal came through, there were indeed some deep cuts, but the funding for protecting women and girls came out unscathed.
Anne Richard, the Vice President for Government Relations and Advocacy at the International Rescue Committee, said “thank you. Your speaking out has made a difference. By sending over 123,000 letters you encouraged members of Congress to wake up to the fact that women and girls all over the world deserve to be more than numbers on a spreadsheet. Investing in them is both smart and vital to our future. We are committed to ensure that women and girls are a priority in the federal budget.”
Conflict tears apart the social fabric of communities around the world. For women, the dangers of war go far beyond the violence of combat. In places where a woman is already at risk of dying during her pregnancy, a health system eroded by war can become a death sentence.
Investing in women and girls is wise if we are to build a safer, better, more peaceful world. As the U.S. international affairs budget faces deep cuts, investment in women and girls is in peril.
Tell your Members of Congress that international programs are critical to protect and empower women and girls around the world. Tell them not to cut the international affairs budget.
With our help, women and girls can be agents of change. In areas devastated by war, women are the key to rebuilding lives and fostering peaceful communities. A woman who is given a chance will invest 90% of her income into efforts that keep her family and children healthy, safe and going to school. When a woman has the resources, she lifts up everyone around her.