Women's Leadership and Political Participation - Economic Empowerment -  
Ending Violence Against Women - Peace and Security - Governance and National Planning - Post-2015 Development Agenda and SDGs
(Sustainable Development Goals) - HIV and AIDS

After leading the U.S. National Committee for UN Women for the past four years, Maggie Forster Schmitz stepped down as president of the organization at the Annual Conference and Membership Meeting in Long Beach, California on Sunday, June 28th.

We wholeheartedly welcome Lalita Janke, who was elected unanimously to take over as the new president.

On behalf of the board and executive committee, we want to thank Maggie for her extraordinary work on behalf of the national committee and look forward to building on her many successes with Lalita's new energy and commitment to leading the organization. 

Did You Know?  

In the past six years, UN Women's Fund for Gender Equality has impacted the lives
of nearly 10 million women and girls in 72 countries around the world
through $56.4 million in investments.
Our 2015 annual conference and membership meeting was held in beautiful Long Beach, California at the Hyatt Regency on June 26-28th where national board representatives joined chapter leaders for three days of workshops and events.

The conference also served as an opportunity to thank outgoing president Maggie Forster Schmitz for her four years of leadership and to welcome Lalita Janke as the new national president.

We heard from elected officials, grassroots activist leaders and celebrities, each of whom shared their personal stories connecting local actions with the global work being done by UN Women.

Our Saturday conference drew more than 100 attendees and reached thousands more through our live-streaming channel. If you missed the conference, click here to access the channel.



Thanks to board members Luci Hamilton and Jean Jewell for their work organizing this year's conference!
Although it's easy to feel like progress in gender equality is not coming nearly as quickly as it should be, the truth is, UN Women has made remarkable strides, creating programs and partnerships that have positively impacted the lives of millions of women and girls globally.

Below are just a few of their many success stories:

During 2014, UN Women supported women's political participation and leadership in 82 countries by working directly with governments and civil society organizations to ensure women's participation in elections and making certain that gender-responsive constitutional reforms and quotas were adopted. UN Women successfully advocated for inclusion of gender equality in Tunisia's new constitution which is considered among the strongest in the Arab region. They were instrumental in ensuring Kenya adopted a policy of at least one-third female representation in governing bodies and they convinced Colombia to adopt a 30% quota for female candidates.

UN Women has provided support to 72 countries on women's economic empowerment. They worked in Jordan to amend labor laws to ensure pay equity for women and a decent work environment.  They also created an agreement with the African Development Bank to support women and agriculture in Africa and helped launch the Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council to create jobs and support entrepreneurs who are most critical for job creation and poverty alleviation. Together with the World Bank, UN Women established a Community of Practice with finance ministers to advance financing for gender equality.

In 2013, UN Women worked on women, peace and security issues across 37 countries. That number jumped to 66 in 2014. A new program is now in place with UN Women training peacekeepers on how to address and prevent sexual assault in conflict areas. They have also been instrumental in increasing the number of female peacekeepers around the world.

Last year, gender budgeting was another priority area of work in 73 countries with UN Women working with nations to develop the tools to support gender-responsive plans and budgets.

There's lots to celebrate when it comes to social media. Our Facebook page is in the top 12% of all Fan Pages! We're also getting tens of thousands of people reading our content each week. When we posted a recap from the annual conference, it reached over 100,000 with more than 200 people sharing it with their contacts.

If you are one of the 215 million Americans who use Facebook to connect with your family and friends, please consider sharing USNC posts to let your personal network know you support us. Studies prove word-of-mouth testimonials from a trusted source is by far the most successful method for obtaining support for any cause.

We've also just moved into the top 1% on Twitter! Even though that's an amazing accomplishment for an organization like ours, we're obviously nowhere near as popular as the celebrities and athletes who have millions of followers which is why we're excited that new celebrity connections like Rowan Blanchard and Sam Schacher are helping to spotlight our organization and connect us with a younger, more diverse audience.

While almost half of the 65 million Americans who consider themselves active on Twitter have never sent a single tweet and the majority only have a handful of followers, if you use it and have followers (even if it's only a few), we'd appreciate your giving USNC a shout-out and re-tweeting our posts to help expand our reach.

We include chapter events as often as possible so if you are a chapter leader, send us anything you'd like shared on our national social media channels. 

In the nine months since UN Women launched HeForShe, a solidarity movement to engage men in supporting gender equality, men in every single country across the world have signed on pledging their support. Governments, universities and corporations are also stepping forward to make a real impact towards achieving a gender balanced world.


Photo Credit: UN Women

On International Women's Day, the US National Committee's private sector committee launched two initiatives in support of the campaign. The first was  #TeamHeforShe, a social media advocacy campaign which engages young people and men across the United States.  The second initiative is a fundraising campaign, SupportHeForShe.org 


In addition, we're introducing new initiatives soon:  

Corporate Champions We will be rolling out a program this fall to several major corporations asking their CEO's to sign on as HeForShe corporate champions and to encourage their employees to sign on as well, and make individual donations to our SupportHeForShe.org fundraising effort.


Alumni Fraternity Associations  In an effort similar to corporate champions, we will be reaching out to the boards of national fraternities asking for their HeForShe pledges and contributions to our fundraising campaign.

We are also exploring HeForShe support via college sports teams and we are working on a program engaging high net worth women "investing" in the future of women. 

Photo Credit: San Francisco Chapter
The San Francisco Bay Area chapter recently chose their two areas of focus for fundraising and awareness for this coming year: advancing women's economic empowerment and combating violence against women.

The board has cultivated enthusiastic volunteer committees to help plan and orchestrate the chapter's three major events for 2015-2016.

The HeForShe Heroes Gala will honor select men in the Bay Area who have demonstrated a commitment to developing gender equality and female empowerment. A Film Fest will feature independent cinema by women that highlight the economic and social injustices against women around the world.

The chapter will also host a Speaker Series comprised of several events featuring panels of local leaders working on the chapter's focus issues. One of these speakers is Linda Witong, a former Deputy District Attorney in Marin County who continues to fight against human trafficking among other causes - and has become the chapter's new VP of Partnerships and Policy.
Attendees from up and down the Treasure Coast of Florida gathered in optimism and determination, at East Florida Chapter's High Tea (Annual Membership) reception in May.

Guest speakers included Lalita Janke, U.S. National Committee for UN Women's newly elected board president and Catherine Lambert, East Florida Chapter board member (Strategic Development).

Many of the guests who didn't know much about USNC, gained valuable insight into the organization's initiatives via UN Women and the impact it's making on a global scale.

The event was a success for the Chapter, gaining new members that evening, which they hope will lead to increased awareness and action in the community.

(Back Row L-R): Lisa Willnow (Tresurer), Christina DeFalco (VP of Advocacy), Meredith Jones (Secretary), Robin Dapp (President) (Front Row L-R): Sherry Todd-Green (VP of Communications), Catherine Lambert (Strategic Development)

Walk to End Violence Against Women    

Many of our local chapters host walks to raise critical funding and to spread awareness of the importance of ending violence against women. It's a terrific way to connect with your community, get some exercise and make a real difference!
Click here to find out more about upcoming walks in your area. Our walk webpage is updated regularly as new walks are scheduled. If you missed the chance to join a walk in your area this year, we hope to see you next year!

Photo Credit: USNC DC Chapter

Last month, our DC chapter hosted an event on Capitol Hill to recognize and celebrate the success of Metropolitan DC leading men's organization who have implemented elements of HeForShe into their personal lives and stand in solidarity with UN Women's HeForShe campaign.

Each person honored at the event has been an agent of change for the achievement of gender equality and has played a critical role in helping their communities develop sustainable and transformative programs to promote gender equality.

Receiving HeForShe awards were: Neal Irvin, Executive Director of Men Can Stop Rape, Manuel Contreras Urbina, Director of Research at the Global Women's Institute George Washington University and Oswaldo Montoya, Global Networks Manager at MenEngage.

Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro joined in to show his support, sharing that he was first introduced to the concept of gender equality as a young child through his mother's efforts in the Mexican American Civil Rights movement. Congressman Castro said, " The beauty of America is that there is an infrastructure for opportunity. Around the world, each of us must help build, as men and women, an infrastructure of equality that helps people become equal...and a justice system that makes sure people who commit sexual violence against women, harassment and other crimes are held accountable."

Congratulations to the DC chapter for their continued work bringing the HeForShe campaign to Capitol Hill.
The North Carolina Chapter's has scheduled the second annual luncheon at the North Carolina Executive mansion on September 22, 2015.

The theme this year is challenges and potential solutions women and girls face in accessing education locally, nationally and globally.  North Carolina Senator Josh Stein, United States Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, and Executive Director of the World Academy of the Future of Women (of China) Andrea Conner will be the featured speakers.

The chapter expects this event to build on and exceed the success of the 2014 event, Talking Back: A Conversation about Women with North Carolina Policy Makers, that had over 100 participants including members of many local advocacy organizations, local politicians and other prominent community members.
Photo: 2014 North Carolina Chapter's Annual Luncheon

UN Women has released their 2014-2015 Annual Report documenting their work to foster women's empowerment and gender equality around the world.

This year's report provides examples that demonstrate UN Women's impact from the global to the individual level.

The report emphasizes the success of their ability to create critical partnerships with governments and NGOs and their continued focus on encouraging the world to live up to the commitments made 20 years ago in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

In 2014, 167 countries undertook the process of taking stock of their own implementation of those gender equality promises. The process, and the results, have supported an intense program of mobilizing and re-committing to stepped-up, transformative action before 2020.

Across the world, UN Women is present, working with its partners, in its role as catalyst, supporter and leader for a gender-equal world. To download the report, click here .

From letting women have a say in where village water holes are built, to ensuring cash-transfer programs benefit all, to making sure women have maternal health clinics nearby and can access them when the need arises ­- financing for gender equality is the means to ensure that women's needs are met in development planning.

Financing for development is about money. For development to reach people in all parts of the world, adequate financing is required so that commitments made by world leaders translate into action. For funds to benefit everyone equally and equitably, targeted efforts are often needed. For example, if women don't have access to safe transportation or low-cost childcare, few will be able to take advantage of important social or vocational programs.

To disrupt the status quo and ensure that financing for gender equality didn't get sidelined at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Ethiopia this past week, UN Women focused on the opportunity to have leaders endorse comprehensive global financing for women everywhere.

To learn about the historic agreement reached by 193 countries at this year's conference, click here .

Working towards a world where women and girls live free from poverty, violence, and inequality.

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