FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On International Women’s Day 2010, thousands of advocates for women’s rights are meeting at the United Nations in New York for a historic Global Women’s Conference on the 15th anniversary of the 1995 Beijing Women’s Conference and the 54th Session of the Convention on the Status of Women, with the goal of advancing equality for women around the world.
This is an important meeting that will bring much needed focus to a few truths we should all hold as self evident: That equal opportunity for women and equal treatment of women under the law are moral issues and human rights imperatives and that they also contribute directly to the progress of nations. The more a society empowers its women, the stronger and more prosperous it will become.
The United States is firmly committed to promoting women’s rights and empowering women and girls both at home and around the world. President Obama has launched important new initiatives to advance gender equality, including creating a Cabinet-level White House Council on Women and Girls, which is developing coordinated, whole-of-government responses to issues that directly affect women and girls—such as equal pay, family leave, child care, violence against women, and health care.
At the United Nations, we are leading significant efforts to protect women from violence and more effectively advance equality and opportunities for women. In the Security Council, the United States drafted and led the adoption of Resolution 1888, which mandated that UN peacekeeping missions protect women and girls from sexual violence in armed conflict and, as part of this effort, the Secretary-General has now appointed a Special Representative to lead, coordinate and advocate on behalf of those efforts. In the General Assembly, we championed the creation of a new UN agency, led by an Under Secretary-General, which would promote system-wide coherence on gender issues.
The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, which President Obama has called “America’s Goals,” commit us to improving maternal and child health. To advance this work, the United States is proud to introduce a resolution on “Reducing Maternal Mortality and Morbidity through the Empowerment of Women” at this year’s Convention on the Status of Women.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, I applaud the dedication of women’s rights advocates – those gathered in New York and those celebrating around the world – as we renew our shared commitment to this essential work.
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