Highlighting its commitment to empowering women around the world, the United States of America today applauds the progress and achievements of women all across the world.
In the celebrations of International Women’s Day, U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Susan E. Rice says from the announcement that combat positions would be open to the women bravely serving in the US military to the record number female members of the US Congress currently in power, the U.S. has made real progress towards leveling the playing field for American women and empowering them to live up to their full potential.
“But today is also a day to acknowledge the progress we as Americans and international community have yet to make.” – Ms. Rice
More works to be done to eliminate abuse against women
According to Ms. Rice, one in three women worldwide will be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in their lifetimes.
In addition, more than 30 million girls worldwide do not receive the benefit of any schooling, and more than 280,000 women die each year from childbirth complications that can be anticipated and treated.
“Our societies are not truly free, if we do not uphold our fundamental ideals of fairness and equality.” – Ms. Rice
She notes people are not free when women and girls still struggle for their survival and safety or find their reproductive rights blocked.
When women around the world still face discrimination and even death because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, human values are compromised, she stated.
US in a mission to reduce and prevent violence against women
According to Ms. Rice, President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act, which launches new programs to help survivors of rape and assault, strengthens tools to hold offenders accountable, and offers increased protections for Native American women and the LGBT community.
She notes US is working to improve girls’ access to education and to ensure that all women have access to reproductive health services as well as maternal, newborn and child health services.
“On this International Women’s Day, I applaud the dedication of all who work to ensure that every girl and every woman can realize her fundamental right to live free from violence and fear and to reach her full potential.” – Ms. Rice
She urges the world to step up the fight to protect and support sisters, mothers and daughters.
Women Contribute toward building a more peaceful, just, and prosperous world
According to US Secretary of State John Kerry, the State Department, which has been led by strong, smart, and remarkably capable diplomats from Madeleine Albright to Condoleezza Rice and my predecessor Hillary Rodham Clinton, stands as a lasting example of the powerful change that determined women can make and sustain on behalf of America in the modern world.
“It is a great and too often untold global success story that so much of the political, economic, and social progress of the last few decades could never have been imaginable without the leadership and courage of strong women.” – Secretary Kerry
He says over the past year alone, the world celebrated the landmark ascendance of women to the presidencies of Malawi and South Korea and in the United States.
He cites the world has seen the unprecedented election of 20 women to the U.S. Senate.
“That milestone was particularly meaningful to me, as someone who was sworn in to serve in the United States Senate in 1985, joined by my two teenage daughters and struck by the fact that I had twice as many daughters as there were women in the Senate.” – Secretary Kerry
In addition, today, with the service of 20 women, the Senate is a stronger, smarter place; more representative of American belief that US is a stronger nation when its leadership reflects its population.
“I am proud to benefit every day from the wisdom and example of my wife Teresa-who was born in Mozambique, marched against apartheid, speaks five languages and worked with the UN Trusteeship Council.” – Secretary Kerry
Secretary Kerry cites around the globe, whether women are creating and embracing new opportunities for education and entrepreneurship in Afghanistan, working for democratic reform in Burma, or advancing human rights in the Middle East and North Africa, more women are finding their voices, lifting up communities and nations, and paving the way for future generations to live a better life.
Too many challenges and barriers remain
Yet, despite the significant gains women and girls have made, too many challenges and barriers remain, Secretary Kerry said.
In far too many places, women continue to be excluded from the ballot box and political leadership, and from land ownership and credit markets, he said.
“In far too many places, girls are still kept home from school or are forced into early marriage.” – Secretary Kerry
He says too many women are being silenced, abused, or subjected to violence simply because of their gender.
Many are risking their lives in the pursuit of justice as well.
“Their courage must inspire us to continue to work toward a world where every woman can live free of violence and pursue her fullest potential.” – Secretary Kerry
He adds International Women’s Day reminds the world that there is still today “something for everyone to do,” a challenge to safeguard the progress that has been gained.
“The United States remains committed to working with partners around the world to ensure that this vital progress continues.” – Secretary Kerry
President Obama Committed to Empower Women and Girls Around The World
With the USAID launching a women’s leadership fund, Obama administration has reaffirmed its commitment to empower women and girls around the world.
The Obama administration is taking steps to do more to increase women’s participation.
The State Department has recently created an initiative for women in public service as well.
Last year, Secretary Clinton also signed a new Declaration on Women’s Participation.
On his address to the 2011 UN General Assembly, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to increasing women’s participation. He called upon member states to formulate steps to break down economic and political barriers for women and girls.
The United States introduced the UNGA Third Committee resolution on “Women and Political Participation,” which calls on all states to end discriminatory laws and actively promote and protect human rights for women to take a part in public life.
The resolution was adopted with over 130 co-sponsors.
The United States is looking forward to identifying new partners who will help them deliver on the President’s challenge.
The President intends to lead by example in the United States, by harnessing the extraordinary talents of women and girls, as we create an America that’s built to last.
To reaffirm the Obama’s administration commitment to empowering women in the 21st century, President Obama signed the very first bill when he came to office which was was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
The Bill helps protect women and their right to equal pay for equal work so that people like Lori have a remedy to discrimination.
The President has also taken steps to increase student loan awards, and reduce repayments, in order to make college more affordable for young people like Mahala.
President Obama has also invested in science and technology and engineering and math for young girls, so that more women have the capability to compete for jobs like Jackie, the jobs of the 21st Century.
President Obama also signed the Affordable Care Act that provides for health insurance for all people of the United States and it prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against women and provides women with the kind of preventive care that they need.
President Obama has placed women in many of the highest positions within his administration including the Secretary of State, the UN Ambassador, the Secretaries of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and Labor.
Nearly 50 percent of his appointees to district courts are women, by far the highest percentage of any President in American history.
Recently, President Obama has already appointed two women to the Supreme Court, including one first Latina. And he has recently nominated the first woman to be a four-star general in the history of the Air Force.
The United States was at the forefront in 2009 and 2010 in leading efforts at the UN to support the consolidation of the UN’s existing gender-related institutions into a single more effective women’s agency.
United States is also playing a leading role, along with international partners, in supporting empowerment of women, within the UN system, through participation in the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).