LAKEWOOD, Washington — The inclusion of women in the United States’ political system has served as a milestone of the country’s cultural evolution. Today, as more women hold high positions in Congress, U.S. Congresswomen continue to impact legislation and shape the way the United States has handled global issues. Foreign aid for example has benefitted through U.S. Congresswomen supporting, fundraising and advocating for its strength. Five women, in particular, are supporting foreign aid as well as being great representations of diversity in Congress. With the hardships that COVID-19 brought to countries, these women in Congress are utilizing their leadership to guide the U.S. in supporting its fellow countries.
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
In 2017, President Trump signed the Women, Peace and Security Act into law. Senator Shaheen created the bipartisan bill, solidifying the necessity for women’s contribution in peace talk and global negotiations.
By strengthening the inclusion of women in Congress and foreign affairs, the negotiating table has lengthened to introduce new ideas, concepts and solutions for peace with other countries. Shaheen stated that she is “proud that this bipartisan effort will sustain the U.S. commitment to promoting greater female representation in conflict resolution and peace-building.”
Susan M. Collins (R-ME)
Senator Collins introduced the Reach Every Mother and Child Act. This Act could strengthen U.S. efforts in eliminating preventable death of mothers, infants and young children by 2030, following the U.N. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Collins emphasized her point, noting that almost 300,000 women die annually from pregnancy or birth-related causes, and 5.2 million children under the age of five died in 2019 from avoidable and treatable diseases. In the Act, Collins focuses on the implementation of the strategy with high impact, evidence-based interventions, as well as country and community ownership. Implementing a Maternal and Child Survival Coordinator at USAID can drive this strategy forward, opening opportunities to extend the lives of mothers and young children in the most vulnerable foreign areas.
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Senator Klobuchar cosigned the BUILD Act of 2018. This Act creates a DFI, or government or quasi-government backed institution called the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (USIDFC). This will place investments into private sector projects in developing countries.
These private sectors are drivers of economies, accounting for 90% of jobs in developing countries. With the act passed into law with supporters like Klobuchar, the BUILD Act can assist in challenges regarding national security and foreign policy, as well as assist the countries where BUILD is being implemented.
Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Senator Cantwell’s approach directed its focus on local support and how small businesses and nonprofits can strengthen the support of foreign aid, stating that, “effective foreign aid can improve economic conditions and help fight terrorism.”
After requesting suggestions to improve foreign aid alongside Senator Patty Murray, the association Global Washington recommended that foreign aid aligns with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG), an eight-tiered list of goals necessary to help end poverty. The association emphasized that aid should “be based on priorities of local recipients and proportionally targeted to countries that are the poorest and most in need.” In Washington alone, for example, about 200 nonprofits work on global-development issues in 144 countries. With local support in addition to the MDGs, foreign aid can provide aid to other countries more proficiently.
Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)
Women in Congress like Senator Jayapal have successfully provided financial aid for developing countries. In 2021, the Senator helped secure a policy to provide $900 billion in direct economic support for developing countries. In addition, this policy would not affect U.S. taxpayers and supports the issuance of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs).
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) implemented SDR, an international financial institution. The aid that Senator Jayapal secured can lower the “global spikes in poverty, hunger and disease as a result of the pandemic.”
Women in Congress will continue to fight and use their power for the improvement of foreign aid for countries that need U.S. support. The efforts that these women made are just some of many others that educated and hardworking women will continue to do for foreign aid and their country. The urgency in their messages indicates the necessity and importance of U.S. involvement during COVID-19 and so on.
– Michelanie Allcock