WASHINGTON (AFP) — US President Barack Obama announced Friday the creation of a new foreign policy position designed to tackle global women's issues.
Obama named Melanne Verveer, an aide in former president Bill Clinton's administration, as ambassador-at-large for international women's issues. She will serve at the State Department under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The appointment, which has to be approved by the Senate, "is unprecedented and reflects the elevated importance of global women?s issues to the president and his entire administration," the White House said in a statement.
Clinton has put efforts to improve the lot of women at the heart of boosting international development, which she says must be an "equal partner" with diplomacy and defense in US foreign policy.
Verveer is co-founder, chair and co chief executive officer of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international nonprofit that invests in emerging women leaders, the White House statement said.
The women are "pioneers of economic, political and social progress in their countries," it added.
Verveer formerly worked as assistant to president Clinton, who served from 1993 to 2001, and as chief of staff to the first lady, Hillary Clinton.
"Verveer also took the lead in establishing the president?s Interagency Council on Women, which serves as a model for governments to address issues of concern to women," the statement said.
She also served as executive vice president of People for the American Way, a civil rights and constitutional liberties organization, "where she played a key role in the passage of several landmark civil rights bills," it said.
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