The Ambassador’s role is designed to ensure that the rights and needs of women and girls are at the forefront of Australia’s overseas development program and in foreign policy more broadly. According to Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, ‘the evidence shows that aid spending is more effective when women are central to our investment.’
The Ambassador’s priorities will also include ‘co-ordinating and promoting Australia’s work to eradicate violence against women, improving access to services for women, the protection of women and girls in conflict zones and increasing the representation of women in leadership roles’.
The idea for a Global Ambassador for Women and Girls has long been an objective of women’s organisations and human rights advocates, with a proposal for the post most recently being presented to the Foreign Minister by an NGO group comprising Amnesty International, the Australian Council for International Development, the Australian Forum of Human Rights Organisations and the Human Rights Law Centre.
PHIL LYNCH is Executive Director of the Human Rights Law Centre.