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Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., has argued over her 39-year diplomatic career that educating and empowering women and girls is an investment in peace and security for their nations.

  • "I will always push for women to be part of negotiation teams," she told me in the State Department Treaty Room, during an interview for "Axios on HBO."
  • "I notice ... when they're not in the room. ... Sometimes I'm the only one," she added with a laugh. "And I will call it out."

The ambassador, who rose as a career foreign-service officer to become Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Africa, told me this story about walking into an overseas room with no other women:

  • " I raised that ... before the head of state came in. And the men laughed."
  • Then she had a word with the president — and it was different the next time.

The big picture: "When I walked into the State Department in 1982, there were very few people who look like me," the ambassador added. "There were even very few women in senior positions. And we were dealing with a system that didn't necessarily appreciate the diversity that a woman and a person of color would bring to the table."

  • "I think that has significantly changed," she added. "We still have some challenges. It's not yet perfect."
  • "I would hope that young people who see me — who are Black, who are women, who are people of color — will see me as an example for what they could achieve. And I'm hoping that I can use my voice and my presence to give them a reason to be hopeful."

Go deeper: In the video clip below, the ambassador describes her worldwide adventures with "gumbo diplomacy."

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Go deeper

Sep 19, 2021 - World

Taliban forces Kabul's female city employees out of their jobs

Afghan female activists gather in Kabul to protest against Taliban restrictions on Sept. 19. Photo: Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

New restrictions issued by the Taliban on Sunday will force the majority of Kabul's female municipal workers out of their jobs, the Associated Press reported.

Why it matters: Despite the Taliban's efforts to cast a more tempered image this time around, vowing to respect women's rights within Islamic "frameworks," the restrictions are the latest sign the group is returning to the oppressive tactics it used when last in power, from 1996 to 2001.

Sep 21, 2021 - Health

White House endorses bill that would ensure abortion access

Photo: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The White House endorsed a bill Monday that seeks to ensure abortion access.

Why it matters: While the Supreme Court seems to be opening the door to new state laws significantly restricting reproductive health choices, the Biden administration changed its stance on the Women's Health Protection Act, having previously said it would look for other ways to codify Roe v. Wade.

The E-commerce shopping spree

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Retailers have gotten really good at selling stuff online. So much so, investors want them to separate from the business units that do just that.

Why it matters: Spinning off these crown jewels may jeopardize both the physical and e-commerce sides of the companies in the long run by breaking the benefits of hybrid operations, analysts say.