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Girls LEAD Act
Supporting Girls’ Leadership, Engagement, Agency, and Development
On International Women’s Day, March 8, 2021, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced that they will introduce the Girls Leadership, Engagement, and Advocacy in Development (LEAD) Act, legislation to promote girls’ leadership and participation in civic and political processes through U.S. foreign assistance. Representatives David Trone (D-Md.-06) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.-05) introduced the companion legislation in the House.
The Girls LEAD Act aims to improve the effectiveness of U.S.-led democracy and governance initiatives, as well as increase girls’ ability to engage in decision-making processes affecting their lives and their communities, ultimately fostering new generations of empowered women leaders. The Girls LEAD Act also complements Congress’ recent efforts, such as the Women, Peace and Security Act of 2017 and the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act of 2019, to combat the underrepresentation of women at all levels of public sector decision-making by specifically addressing the civic involvement and leadership of adolescent girls.