Sinema-Backed Bipartisan Bill Empowers Women’s Participation in Democracy Around the Globe

Nov 17, 2022

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema cosponsored the Girls LEAD Act – bipartisan legislation supporting the growth of civic engagement and political leadership of adolescent girls around the world.
“Empowering girls and women around the globe to participate in civic engagement will result in more stable and stronger democracies – particularly in Central and South America – strengthening Arizona’s border security and economic opportunities,” said Sinema.
“Women are largely underrepresented at all levels of public sector decision-making despite comprising more than 50% of the world’s population. The Girls LEAD Act works to fill these gaps in U.S. foreign assistance programs, which directly impacts Americans and the state of Arizona. Investing in girls worldwide decreases poverty rates, promotes peace, and advances human rights and global stability. Girls’ leadership and civic engagement contributes to U.S. national security and growth by having a direct role in strengthening economies. As a Borgen Project ambassador, I’d like to thank Senator Sinema for her leadership in supporting girls everywhere,” said Rylee Rumsey.
The bipartisan Girls LEAD Act requires the U.S. Secretary of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator to present Congress with a strategy to engage adolescent girls in democracy, human rights, and governance. Additionally, this strategy establishes metrics to monitor the effectiveness of its implementation and gather open feedback from participants.
The Sinema-backed bipartisan Girls LEAD Act – introduced by Republican Senator Susan Collins (Maine) and backed by Republican Senators Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rob Portman (Ohio) and Democratic Senators Ben Cardin (Md.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), and Alex Padilla (Calif.) – provides girl-focused and girl-led organizations with flexible and sustainable funding to increase young women’s civic and political knowledge, foundational skills, and leadership opportunities. According to some estimates, closing the gender gap in the workplace could increase global gross domestic product by $28 billion.
This bipartisan legislation continues Senate efforts to empower women in the participation of democracy around the world that will result in tangible gains for stability in developing countries – particularly relevant in Central and South America – yielding a positive impact of female civic engagement in these countries that could strengthen Arizona’s border security. According to the U.S. Department of State, 14 of the 17 worst countries for gender discrimination have recently experienced armed conflict. Studies have shown that peace negotiations with women participants are more likely to succeed and last longer than without women in the process.
Earlier this year, Sinema partnered with a bipartisan group of senators to introduce a resolution honoring the women of Ukraine who are working for peace and security. Last year, Sinema and a bipartisan group of senators urged the President and his Administration to act in response to the Taliban’s decision to reverse on a commitment allowing Afghan girls to return to secondary school.