The Office of Global Women’s Issues represents the Department of State’s commitment to women’s rights. Under the direction of the Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, the office works to ensure the political, economic, and social empowerment of women. The office works closely with the Secretary on several fronts: developing strategies with other nations to combat gender-based violence; encouraging international programs to educate women; helping women achieve economic security; and highlighting issues important to equal advancement of women and girls in every society.
Under Taliban rule Afghan women suffered the severest denial of women’s rights in recent history. They could not be treated at a hospital, hold a job, or even walk outside their homes without being fully covered and escorted by a male relative. In the last decade, however, Afghanistan has made dramatic advances—especially in addressing women’s rights issues.
In 2011 Monique Quesada was stationed at the U.S. Consulate in Herat, Afghanistan. She represents many U.S. diplomats who work tirelessly for women’s rights across the globe. Over a period of nine months, Quesada helped to channel grants into local projects that teach Afghan women English and computer skills or give them the chance to start their own businesses. Thanks to diplomats such as Ms. Quesada and many others, today Afghan women enjoy more rights and greater access to their local and national governments.