Biden urges greater women's rights for safer world
US Vice President Joe Biden said on International Women's Day Tuesday that improving women's rights is the "most significant thing" the world could do for global stability.
"The single most significant thing we can do in the 21st century to improve the prospect of peace and security is to educate more women ... and give them more access to opportunity," he said at a joint press conference in Helsinki with Finnish President Tarja Halonen, who has a long track record working with international women's rights organisations.
Without specifically mentioning the uprisings in the Arab world, Biden pointed to a recent UN study showing that to initiate change, "the single most significant thing you could do is liberate women in that part of the world."
Biden praised gender equality in Finland, where the president, prime minister and opposition leader are all women.
"My granddaughter piped up and said, Pop, 40 percent of their Congress is women, isn't that great?" he continued, adding that there was no better place to be on International Women's Day.
Helsinki is the first stop in Biden's three-nation European tour of Finland, Russia and Moldova.
He leaves for Moscow on Tuesday evening for a few days, followed by a few hours' stop in Moldova's capital Chisinau on Friday before heading back to Washington.
"In Moscow, he will seek to build on the 'reset' in US-Russian relations, with a focus on ways to further the prosperity of our two countries," the White House said in a statement on Sunday.
© 2011 AFP