Fact Sheet: "The Challenge - While the world has seen important progress in expanding opportunity for women and girls, significant gaps remain in the areas of political participation and economic opportunity. A growing body of evidence shows that women’s political and economic empowerment are critical to fostering international peace and security, growing vibrant market economies, and supporting open and accountable governance. Recognizing that no country can realize its potential if half its population cannot reach theirs, President Obama issued a challenge before the United Nations General Assembly in September 2011 to break down barriers to women’s political and economic empowerment. Answering the Call - In response to this challenge, on September 24, 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched the Equal Futures Partnership on behalf of the United States along with 12 other founding members (Australia, Benin, Bangladesh, Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Jordan, the Netherlands, Peru, Senegal, and Tunisia; as well as the European Union). Multilateral stakeholders including UN Women and the World Bank, and leading businesses and non-profit institutions also pledged support for the partnership."