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March 08, 2021

On International Women’s Day, Trone, McMorris Rodgers, Cardin, Collins Introduce Bipartisan ‘Girls LEAD’ Act in Effort to Empower Girls Around the World


Contact: Hannah Muldavin,

On International Women’s Day, Trone, McMorris Rodgers, Cardin, Collins Introduce Bipartisan ‘Girls LEAD’ Act in Effort to Empower Girls Around the World

Washington, DC – On International Women’s Day, Representatives David Trone (D-MD-06) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-05) along with Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) announced that they will introduce the bipartisan, bicameral Girls Leadership, Engagement, and Development (LEAD) Act to promote girls’ involvement in civic and political processes through U.S. foreign assistance.

“When women are in leadership positions around the world, we are better for it. Over this past year, we have seen the immense contributions of women leaders who have taken swift, decisive action in the face of COVID-19 to protect communities in the face of an unprecedented crisis,” said Congressman 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. I want to thank Representative McMorris Rodgers and Senators Cardin and Collins for partnering in this bipartisan, bicameral effort on International Women’s Day.”

“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 Congresswoman 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.”

“By giving girls more opportunity to impact the decisions that affect their daily lives, communities can become more responsive and inclusive to all their citizens’ needs. Empowering girls will lead to a generation of empowered women who have the tools to make their families and their countries better,” said Senator Cardin. “On this International Women’s Day, I am proud to announce the Girls LEAD Act with my Senate and House colleagues.”

“Despite comprising more than 50 percent of the world’s population, women are underrepresented at all levels of public sector decision-making,” said Senator Collins. “The Girls LEAD Act would complement Congress’ efforts to combat this issue by specifically addressing the civic involvement and leadership of adolescent girls, an area where there is currently a gap in U.S. foreign assistance programing.”

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 annual reporting to Congress on progress made by U.S. government agencies in support of this policy.

This bill is endorsed by ChildFund International, Save the Children, National Association of Social Workers, International Action Network for Gender Equity & Law (IANGEL), Kakenya’s Dream, Church World Service, Futures Without Violence, Global Campaign for Education – US, and the Hunger Project.

You can view the bill text here.

You can view a summary of the bill here.

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Appropriations, Veterans’ Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees in the 117th Congress and previously served on the Education and Labor and Foreign Affairs Committees. In Congress, Trone is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the opioid epidemic, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research.