On March 8th, many nations around the world observe the United Nations International Women’s Day. It is a day to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations.
It is also an occasion to reflect on past struggles and accomplishments, and to consider what still must be done to improve the lives and opportunities of women.
The Charter of the United Nations, signed in San Francisco in 1945, was the first international agreement to proclaim the equal rights of men and women. But even though women have made great strides since then, there is still much work to be done.
Advancing the status of women and girls is critical to achieving successful outcomes for U.S. foreign policy priorities. The U.S. National Security Strategy notes that “countries are more peaceful and prosperous when women are accorded full and equal rights and opportunity.”
The evidence is clear. Research indicates that nations that invest in women’s employment, health, and education tend to have greater economic growth and improved health and education for children.
The United States invests in women, not only because it is the moral thing to do, but because it is one of the most strategic actions we can take.
In fact, women are one of a country’s greatest untapped resources and they invest as much as 97 percent of their income into their families and communities. When a mother is educated her children’s chances of survival and of leading healthier lives increase. When women are free to participate in the economic life of a country, the conditions for sustainable development and prosperity will more likely take root.
Any society striving to flourish must begin by empowering its women, and by promoting for them the same rights that men already enjoy.
On International Women’s Day we celebrate and honor women, we also renew our commitment to make the world a place where women are not excluded or marginalized, but are free to realize their full potential.