Madame Chairwoman, I am honored to be here today to speak on behalf of the United States of America. I also want to express my government’s condemnation of the barbaric terrorist attack in New Zealand. The United States extends its condolences to the families of the victims and people of New Zealand.
The United States strongly supports women’s economic empowerment – the focus of the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. We commend the tireless effort of you, Madame Chair, and the facilitator Ambassador Muli.
U.S. support for women is not new. President Trump has continued this proud tradition and taken aggressive steps to empower women and give them expanded opportunity.
As you know, until recently, Nikki Haley was our Representative to the United Nations. This too is not new for the United States. Almost 40 years ago, Jeanne Kirkpatrick became the first U.S. woman ambassador to the UN. In fact, we have had seven female permanent representatives and 24 female ambassadors in total at the United States Mission.
This Administration’s policies are giving women expanded opportunities in the United States and abroad. The U.S. women’s unemployment rate hit the lowest level that it’s been in 17 years. And women in the workforce has reached a record high. There are more women are in the workforce today than ever before in our country and woman-owned small businesses in America may soon be able to deduct 20 percent of their business income.
For the first time, nationwide paid family leave has been proposed in the U.S. federal budget – supporting and empowering working parents. However, one group of women that are underrepresented in the workforce by 2-3x as their non-disabled counterparts are women with disabilities. Although we are proud that one of our diplomats and key negotiators has broken this barrier. But overall in the United States, this remains an area for growth.
Just last month, President Trump signed a National Security Presidential Memorandum establishing the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, an effort that has been championed by Advisor Ivanka Trump to help 50 million women in developing countries realize their economic potential by 2025. This initiative will specifically address women’s workforce training and skills development, entrepreneurship and access to capital, and the overall enabling environment of laws, regulations, and norms that impact women’s economic participation.
In 2018, Ivanka Trump and USAID Administrator Mark Green also launched The WomenConnect Challenge – a global call for solutions designed to close the digital divide for women. In 2017, the President signed into law the Women, Peace, and Security Act, which prioritizes the participation of women in American diplomatic, development, and defense operations. Let’s be clear – we are not about gender jargon. Today, here at the Commission on the Status of Women, we are about women. Women and girls. The life of all women and girls.
The United States is also committed to protecting the precious gift of life, including the protection of baby girls who would have been aborted, merely because they are female.
We call on this commission to advance our shared goals and focus on the issues most important to women all over the globe. As President Trump has said: “We want every daughter in America to grow up in a country where she can believe in herself, believe in her future, and follow her heart and realize her dreams.”
I want to wake-up in the morning in a world where women in every country:
Can vote and own property; Can open a bank account and access credit; Where parents live without fear of their daughters being raped, kidnapped, or trafficked; This is the world I want my daughters and yours to live in.
The United States is committed to finding consensus on the Agreed Conclusions. Let’s focus our efforts in the coming days to advance the mutual goal of equal access to social protections for women and girls.
Let’s also remember when we are speaking in this UN body – this is not a North-South issue…we are the Commission on the Status of Women. In one voice – for every women and every girl in this room and around the world – let’s speak clearly and make this vision a reality. It is our responsibility. Our opportunity. Let’s seize it.