I was reading the article about recognizing 10 extraordinary women (Oct. 9-10), and it made me think about how around the world girls and women have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has pushed about 743 million girls out of school, which puts them at a much higher risk for child marriage. Gender gaps in education, along with factors like public health and conflict resolution could be better addressed if women and girls were taught and encouraged to become engaged in civic life in adolescence and adulthood. Child marriages and violence against women can decrease by promoting adolescent girls’ and women’s education and pathways to political leadership along with empowering women and including them in workplace and leadership roles. This can not only improve lives but drive economic growth.

The Girls LEAD Act calls upon the U.S. Department of State and USAID to form a strategy, prioritize foreign assistance and report annually on steps taken to increase girls’ participation and leadership in civic life. I will be emailing my congressional leaders in the hope that they will support and cosponsor the act. I do hope others will do the same as we work to make a better future for everyone.



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