Gayle Smith will have to take on a multitude of competing interests and varied crises as administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. But to be successful in this new role, she should put women and girls' empowerment at the top of her priorities list. Here's what she should focus on first.

The views in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect Devex's editorial views.

About the authors

  • Melissa Kaplan

    Melissa Kaplan is a senior manager for policy and government affairs at Women Thrive Worldwide. She brings deep experience within the international development community and previously served as advocacy manager at InterAction, where she managed the InterAction CEO Task Force on Aid Reform and lobbied on issues including foreign assistance and appropriations. She previously held the position of deputy director of government relations at Citizens for Global Solutions
  • Christine Hart

    Christine Hart is a senior manager for policy and government affairs at Women Thrive Worldwide where leads the organization's work on gender-based violence. Chrissy represents Women Thrive as a co-chair of the Coalition to End Violence Against Women and Girls Globally, where her work focuses on efforts to promote policies and programs for gender-based violence prevention and response at the U.S. and U.N. levels to ensure that it reflects the realities and perspectives of women and girls on the ground.