December 15th marked the beginning of an ambitious program called Women in Public Service Project. This is a partnership between the State Department and the Seven Sisters women’s colleges. This program is a new initiative focused on increasing the number of women in public service at the local, national, and international levels.
Considering our modern society is facing complex challenges that have long term consequences, the Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) wants to offer pertinent and practical solutions not only for the present, but for the future. These solutions can be addressed by an active and consistent participation “of women in public service and political leadership to forge global solutions to improve governance, expand civil rights, and combat corruption.”
WPS envisions that by 2050, political and civic leadership will be at least 50% female. These are their goals:
1. Challenge the world community to identify, create, and advance a new generation of women committed to public service;
2. Bring together thought leaders, educators, and public servants from around the world, as well as members of the private and non-profit sectors, who wish to take up this challenge;
3. Identify and address the obstacles that prevent more women from committing to a life of public service and political leadership;
4. Explore creative solutions that will increase the number of young women who aspire and are empowered to pursue a career in public service; and
5. Make recommendations for implementing those solutions at all levels of political involvement around the world
Among the speakers that took the stage were the Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. Ironically, the main subject of the discussions was failure. However, failure was seen from a positive stand point. Clinton’s Presidential Run was presented as an example because it brought success in the long run since Ms. Clinton was named Secretary of State. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde praised Clinton, saying “It’s quite rare to see someone take that risk. It should inspire greatly.”
Another remarkable woman that spoke at the Women in Public Service (WPS) event was Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services. During the discussions she made a valid point that “The willingness to fail is necessary to succeed.” She also emphasized on the importance of taking risks when opportunity comes along.
One of the ways WPS aims to increase the number of women in political and civil leadership is by creating an online mentoring program that will connect women from around the world that have experience in the public sector to young women (future leaders) who they will mentor. This program brings awareness to the importance of increasing access to opportunities and resources. It will be very interesting to follow this initiative in the upcoming year.
For more information, take a look at the following:
Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton - Remarks to the Women in Public Service Colloquium