Keynote Address: Susan Markham, USAID

Key Messages

  • USAID published an updated and expanded policy entitled Gender Equality and Female Empowerment in March 2012. The agency implements the policy internally to ensure that gender is part of strategic planning, project design and implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.
  • USAID is holding itself accountable to the Gender Equality and Female Empowerment policy by carrying out internal annual reviews, training staff, tracking spending on gender programming within all sectors, collecting strong examples of gender analyses and assessments, and conducting rigorous assessments. For example, in 2015 the agency will conduct an evaluation on progress made in implementing policy after three years.
  • The process for providing feedback to USAID needs to be revived and strengthened to communicate effectively on challenges and gaps to integrating the agency’s gender policies and strategies. Beyond sharing documents and tools, partners in the audience offered suggestions to Ms. Markham such as holding in-person discussions, capturing exchanges of ideas, and holding more cross-organizational events like the Gender 360 Summit that are focused on gender and development.


Susan Markham, Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality & Women's Empowerment, USAID

Susan Markham, Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) works to improve the lives of citizens around the world by advancing equality between females and males, and empowering women and girls to participate fully in and benefit from the development of their societies. Ms. Markham comes with an extensive background in both domestic and international women’s political empowerment.

She most recently served as Director of Women’s Political Participation at the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Previously, Ms. Markham directed EMILY’s List Campaign Corp program and later the Political Opportunity Program to recruit, train, and support women candidates running for statewide, legislative, and local offices in 35 U.S. states. She served as Director of Senate Services at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and managed several statewide campaigns.

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