November 25 – In recognition of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a message from the Department of State titled, “Engaging Men and Boys in Eliminating Violence Against Women,” which was distributed to US embassies worldwide.  

In the message, Secretary Clinton proclaimed that the biggest supporters for women’s rights and gender equality should be men. Clinton states that just as no country can advance to its fullest economic potential without women, no country can stop gender violence without the engagement of men.

Secretary Clinton highlights Tostan as an organization that recognizes the importance of involving the entire community—including male leaders—in the decision to protect the health and human rights of all its members. For example, communities who participate in Tostan’s Community Empowerment Program (CEP) engage all community members in order to come to a consensus to abandon harmful practices such as female genital cutting (FGC) and child/forced marriage .  

In a video message in support of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer also endorsed Tostan as an effective and innovative organization that addresses violence against women by involving all community members. Verveer recommends that the Tostan model—based on respect and inclusive, community-led decision making—be implemented in other countries as a means to empower women in all areas of their lives. Click here to watch the video.