U.S. Embassy, Tallinn, March 8, 2011
Sixteen years ago in Beijing, Hillary Rodham Clinton, as First Lady, boldly stated that "human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights." The reverberations of this powerful and important statement continue still today as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day.
Poverty, war, disease, and famine are scourges of all humanity - but they disproportionately impact women and girls. From our Western viewpoint it is markedly easy to illuminate certain geographic regions within the world and call out the appalling levels of sex-based discrimination which cover the spectrum from virtual slavery to maiming and murder. Our revulsion is justified; however, too often within our own modern societies-in our boardroom meetings, our government sessions, peace negotiations, and other assemblies where crucial decisions are made-women are absent. Women drive our economies, they build peace and prosperity, they nurture our societies. Preventing their full equality in sharing the benefits and responsibilities of shaping our world deprives us all.
An investment in the rights of women and girls is an investment in humanity, global economic progress, political stability, and greater prosperity for everyone-the world over. The United States continues to make focusing on women a cornerstone of its foreign policy. We welcome our partnership with Estonia in this effort, including Estonia's significant contributions to alleviating the suffering of women and girls in crisis zones the world over.
Focus on Women and Girls