U.S. Representatives David Trone, Cathy McMorris Rodgers Introduce Bipartisan Girls Leadership, Engagement, Agency, and Development (LEAD) Act

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives David Trone (D-MD) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) introduced the bipartisan Girls Leadership, Engagement, and Development (LEAD) Act to promote girls’ leadership and participation in civic and political processes through U.S. foreign assistance.

This is the first piece of legislation the duo is leading together following Rep. Trone’s trip to Washington state to visit Rep. McMorris Rodgers’s district through the Bipartisan Policy Center’s American Congressional Exchange Program (ACE) last fall.

“When women engage, democracies are stronger, foreign aid is more effective, and the world is safer. A truly representative government relies on the voices of all its citizens, no matter their background or walk of life,” said McMorris Rodgers. “The bipartisan Girls LEAD Act highlights the importance of engaging girls in civics and public service. This will help build a stronger pipeline for young women to run for political office and encourage them to seek leadership positions in the private sector. With more women empowered, it will support a new generation of transformational leaders in democracies around the world.”

“When women are in leadership positions around the world, we are better for it. We see the best example of this in the women leading democracies across the globe who have taken swift and decisive action in response to the coronavirus,” said Trone. “This bipartisan bill prioritizes investment in girls’ interaction with civic systems at an early age, creating a strong pipeline for girls to become leaders and decision-makers for years to come.”

The Girls LEAD Act would require the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to:

  • Develop a united, comprehensive strategy on strengthening the participation of, in particular, adolescent girls in democracy, human rights, and governance;
  • Prioritize foreign assistance funding made available for democracy, human rights and governance programs in accordance with this act; and
  • Provide joint annual reporting to Congress on progress made by U.S. government agencies in support of this policy.

This bill is a companion to S.2766, introduced in the Senate by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ben Cardin (D-MD). It has been endorsed by several organizations, including Save the Children and ChildFund International, Vital Voices, The Hunger Project, National Association Social Workers, Oxfam America, Girl Determined, GirlForward, International Action Network for Gender Equity & Law, CARE USA, Church World Service, National Democratic Institute (NDI), Feed the Children.

You can read more about the legislation here.

You can read the entire bill text here.

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