As the incoming administration looks to “build back better” in the wake of COVID-19, fostering inclusive democracy globally must be high on the agenda. Progress down that path requires shifting the power and increasing the voice of those that have been disenfranchised. President-elect Biden’s planned Summit for Democracy in 2021 is an important opportunity to demonstrate that democratic health depends on the full participation of women and girls—particularly adolescent girls—at home and across the world.
The Biden administration’s focus on human rights as a foreign policy priority is a promising first step. And Biden’s chapter on gender equality in his foreign policy strategy sparks hope after a series of troubling trends in U.S. leadership.
But Biden must go beyond his campaign promises and prioritize the inclusion of adolescent girls in U.S. foreign policy decisionmaking. Such actions could redress power imbalances that have perpetuated harmful gender norms, negatively impacting the lives of adolescent girls globally and undermining our democratic values.
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