2018 International Women’s Day Call to Action

Campaign Theme: Putting Women at the Center of U.S. Foreign Aid

Dining for Women urges the U.S. government to become a leader in advancing gender equality and empowering women and girls in the developing world. This should be the top priority of U.S. foreign aid because it is the most effective way to end extreme poverty. Together, we can call on our elected representatives to maintain a strong foreign aid budget – one that puts gender equality at its core.

Speaking out on this issue is more important than ever. U.S. foreign aid — as a percentage of GDP – has been decreasing over the past decades, and the U.S. is lagging behind other countries in our support for women and girls. The administration’s recent FY 2019 budget proposal includes a $9 billion cut to the International Affairs budget that funds U.S. poverty-fighting initiatives around the globe, as well as diplomatic activities and military assistance. That’s almost 30 percent less than last year’s budget – a tremendous decrease.

These cuts would threaten initiatives that help women and girls around the world go to school, access medical care, and get jobs or micro-loans to start businesses. Now is a great time to reach out to members of Congress as they consider a response to the administration’s budget proposal.

We urge you to oppose the proposed cuts and voice your support for a strong International Affairs Budget that puts women and girls at the center of U.S. foreign aid.

  • Write or call your members of Congress.
  • Visit your members of Congress.

Contacting an elected official can be intimidating but it can also be very empowering. We want to make it as easy as possible for you. We’re providing tools, tips, and talking points to make your voice a powerful force for women and girls.

Remember that elected officials care most about those who can vote them in or out of office. Make sure to choose your correct official via your state and/or district. Find yours here: www.usa.gov/elected-officials.  You will also find contact information, including email addresses and phone numbers.


  • Research your elected officials. See if you can find information about their stance on foreign aid before contacting them.
  • Decide if you are going to email or call your representative. We know from Congressional staffers that telephone calls are one of the best ways to make your voice heard.
  • Team Up! You don’t have to go this alone. Talk to your chapter members and make this a fun collaboration.
  • Be relentless. Advocating is tough work that can require repeated calls, emails, or letters. The more your elected officials hear from you, the more they’ll know you care!
  • Tell others about your efforts. This is a movement, and your voice can echo across political ideology, age, and gender.
  • A sample email and a sample phone script have been provided for your use (just click on the buttons below). If you want to request a meeting with your representative or an aide, don’t try to combine this with these emails or phone calls.  You should do a separate email or phone call to request a meeting.