With U.S. forces out of Iraq and facing a 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan, the impressive gains made by women in both countries are at risk. There are attempts to roll back women’s representation in both governments, noted Charlotte Ponticelli, who visited The Eagle last week while in town to address the Wichita Committee on Foreign Relations. But Ponticelli, whose government posts over 23 years included that of senior coordinator for international women’s issues at the State Department, said education has been a game-changer and technology can safeguard and further the progress, especially now that 77 percent of Iraqis and 66 percent of Afghans have mobile phone access. The gains will be “as durable as the skills and education,” she predicted.
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