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September 5, 2017


The Honorable Rex Wayne Tillerson
Secretary of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520


Dear Secretary Tillerson:

As private sector leaders and supporters of inclusive economic growth, we are grateful for your efforts to promote global prosperity. We also appreciate your leadership as CEO of ExxonMobil focusing on the economic empowerment of women and girls globally.


We write you today to affirm the importance of making the empowerment of women and girls around the world a central tenet of U.S. foreign policy and development assistance.  During this time as the Department of State considers ways to maximize efficiency and effectiveness in U.S. investments, we encourage you to continue a global focus on empowering women and girls.  This will not only expand economic opportunities and develop critical job skills for women and girls, it will also help to build markets for U.S. goods and services.  In short, investments in women and girls bring high returns for economic growth, societal well-being, and global stability.


We believe that investing in women and girls is essential to our long-term success for the following reasons:


  1. It Expands Opportunities for U.S. Businesses: The empowerment of women and girls leads to sustainable economic growth, the expansion of consumer markets, and democratic governance. A 2015 McKinsey Global Institute study found that full participation of women in the global economy would increase annual GDP in 2025 by $28 trillion, or 26 percent.


  1. It Bolsters U.S. National Security and Global Stability: Evidence shows that investment in programs that enhance opportunities for women and girls increases global security and stability. The Institute for Economics and Peace calculated that for every $1 spent on peacebuilding, the costs of responding to conflict are decreased by $16. Women’s meaningful involvement in peace processes also leads to longer lasting peace agreements, stability, and economic prosperity. More stable environments lower risk for U.S. businesses operating overseas.


  1. It Demonstrates U.S. Leadership and Values: Having strong and qualified champions for women and girls in the U.S. government sends a message that the United States will continue to be a key leader in this area. The opportunities that we provide for women and girls give them the tools and ability to create better lives for their families and communities.


To help ensure that this work is integrated across our diplomatic and development efforts, we strongly urge you to quickly select qualified and experienced candidates for key leadership positions that focus on empowering women and girls globally. The swift nomination (and confirmation) of the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State and the ongoing support for the USAID leadership focused on the empowerment of women and girls will help harness untapped potential as the U.S. seeks to achieve its foreign policy goals.



Julie Sweet, U.S. CEO, Accenture

John W. Rowe, MD, Former Chairman and CEO, Aetna Inc.

Ronald A. Williams, Former Chairman and CEO, Aetna Inc

David Jaffe, Chairman and CEO, ascena Retail Group Inc.

Gary Muto, President and CEO, ascena Brands, ascena Retail Group Inc.

Maxine Clark, Founder and Former CEO, Build-A-Bear Workshop

Steve Shiffman, CEO, Calvin Klein, Inc.

Austin Hearst, CEO, Chestnut Holdings

Victor M. Luis, President and CEO, Coach Inc.

Sean Connolly, CEO, Conagra Brands

Jane Wurwand, Co-Founder, Dermalogica and FITE

Edward Stack, Chairman and CEO, DICK’s Sporting Goods

Debra Fine, President, Fine Capital Partners

Richard Johnson, Chairman and CEO, Foot Locker, Inc.

Jon Achenbaum, CEO and President, Freeman Beauty

Morris Goldfarb, Chairman of the Board and CEO, G-III Apparel Group, Ltd

Art Peck, President and CEO, Gap Inc.

Jim Goldman, Former CEO and President, Godiva Chocolatier

Peg McGetrick, Former CEO, Grantham, Mayo von Otterloo & Co. (GMO)

Richard Baker, Governor and Executive Chairman, Hudson’s Bay Company

Gregory L Waters, President and CEO, Integrated Device Technology

Marvin R. Ellison, Chairman and CEO, JCPenney Corporation

Alex Gorsky, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Johnson & Johnson

Kevin Mansell, Chairman, President and CEO, Kohl’s

Jeff Gennette, CEO, Macy’s, Inc.

Tracey Massey, President, Americas, Mars Wrigley Confectionery

Ken Frazier, CEO, Merck & Co.

John D. Idol, Chairman and CEO, Michael Kors

Irene Rosenfeld, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mondelēz International

Carolyn Tastad, Group President North America, P&G

Joe Keefe, President and CEO, Pax World Management LLC

Ronald J. Wurtzburger, President, Peerless Clothing

Rick Federico, Current Chairman and Former CEO, PF Changs China Bistro

Emanuel “Manny” Chirico, Chairman and CEO, PVH Corp

Dona Young, Former Chairman, President and CEO, The Phoenix Companies

Ken Duane, CEO, PVH Heritage Brands

Linda Rabbitt, Chairwoman and CEO, Rand Construction Corporation

Paul Thomas, Former CEO, Reynolds Packaging Group

Daniel Grieder, CEO, Tommy Hilfiger

Jim Alling, CEO, TOMS

Blake Mycoskie, Founder and Former CEO, TOMS

Mark Mactas, Former CEO and Chairman, Towers Perrin

Mary Dillon, CEO, Ulta Beauty

Wende Zomnir, CCO and Co-Founder, Urban Decay

Neil Blumenthal, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Warby Parker

Dave Gilboa, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Warby Parker

Brad Irwin, President and CEO, Welch’s

Anne Mulcahy, Former Chair and CEO, Xerox


cc:        John J. Sullivan, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State

Mark A. Green, United States Agency for International Development Administrator

Dina Habib Powell, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy

Ivanka M. Trump, Assistant to the President of the United States