March 8th is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. And, as many of you know, this anniversary is important to me. At the 1995 Beijing conference, I was so humbled by the positive response to my message that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights. But 16 years later, women still bear the brunt of poverty, war, disease, and famine. And when it comes to the boardroom meetings, government sessions, peace negotiations, and other assemblies where crucial decisions are made in the world, women are too often absent.
It is clear that more work needs to be done—to consolidate our gains and to keep momentum moving forward.
The United States continues to make women a cornerstone of our foreign policy. It’s not just the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing. Women and girls drive our economies. They build peace and prosperity. Investing in them means investing in global economic progress, political stability, and greater prosperity for everyone—the world over.
So let us mark this day by finding ways to ensure women and girls’ access to education, healthcare, jobs, and credit, and to protect their right to live free from violence.