As a child growing up in the rural outskirts of Hong Kong, "wash your hands" was a frequent -- and wise -- admonition. The simple act of eating a piece of fruit or a chocolate bar with soiled fingers and licking those delicious flavors off already dirty hands may have resulted in a stomachache, or so much worse. I was lucky. Even today, intestinal worms caused by lack of access to water for handwashing affects nearly a quarter of the people on this planet.
The elevation of Susan Rice to National Security Adviser, Samantha Power to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Catherine Russell to Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues re-affirms President Obama's declaration that promoting gender equality is "vital to achieving our overall foreign policy objectives."