Obama hails women leaders, calls for more participation

9th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

"Women are vital to the solutions" to global challenges such as climate change, poverty and conflict, Obama said, as women worldwide rallied to demand equal rights and protest domestic violence.

Washington -- US President Barack Obama honoured International Women's Day on Sunday, reaffirming a commitment to women's rights but calling for the "full and active participation" of women.

"Women are vital to the solutions" to global challenges such as climate change, poverty and conflict, Obama said, as women worldwide rallied to demand equal rights and protest domestic violence.

"We will not sow the seeds for a brighter future or reap the benefits of the change we need without the full and active participation of women around the world," he said. "The United States stands with people around the globe to reaffirm our commitment to the equality, freedom, achievements and advancement of women."

Earlier, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton celebrated untapped potential but lamented that "no nation in the world has yet achieved full equality for women."

The international community has little hope of combating the complex slew of challenges in the 21st century without the full participation of women, said Clinton, Obama's former rival for the presidency who would have become the first female US president if elected.

Clinton noted that women still constitute most of the world's poor, unfed and unschooled.

"With or without awards or acknowledgement, women have taught us about hope, about courage, and about opportunity," Obama said, noting the active leadership roles women have played in fields from education to government.

He also expressed hope that women's rights would improve.

"The United States is filled with great hope that our daughters, and the daughters of all nations, will continue to serve as leaders in the pursuit of our collective well-being and have the opportunity to achieve their full potential," he said.

"Like all people, women deserve to live free from violence and fear. To create peaceful, thriving communities, women must be equal partners," Clinton said. "Ensuring the rights of women and girls is not only a matter of justice. It is a matter of enhancing global peace, progress and prosperity for generations to come."

AFP/Expatica

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