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Women's Participation A Must

Participants form a female symbol as part of celebrations for International Women's Day in Manila (March 8, 2014.)

United States recognizes the importance of women’s empowerment and progress toward gender equality around the world.

On March 8, many countries celebrated International Women’s Day, honoring women and their achievements. Some countries, including the United States, have also set aside an entire month to celebrate Women’s History. On these occasions, we recognize the importance of women’s empowerment and progress toward gender equality around the world.

Women's Participation A Must
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We also take time to recognize the many challenges that still remain. Women everywhere remain the backbone of their families, working daily inside and outside the home to keep their families afloat and their communities cohesive and thriving. Yet too many women’s efforts remain outside the formal economy.

Evidence has shown that when women entrepreneurs are empowered to join the public marketplace, they can make valuable contributions not just to their families, but to their communities and nations.This also holds true when women become involved in public decision-making processes, including conflict resolution. Yet women are too often under-represented, or even prevented from participating in efforts to rebuild post-conflict societies.

“Countries that value and empower women to participate fully in decision-making are more stable, prosperous, and secure. The opposite is also true. When women are excluded from negotiations, the peace that follows is more tenuous. Trust is eroded, and human rights and accountability are often ignored,” wrote Secretary of State John Kerry in a recent article marking International Women’s Day.

“The inclusion of women in peace building and conflict prevention can reverse that trend,” wrote Secretary Kerry.

“Peace is not the absence of conflict. It is the presence of every member of society working together to promote stability and prosperity. No country can succeed unless every citizen is empowered to contribute to its future. And no peace can endure if women are not afforded a central role.”

So today and this women’s history month, let us mark the miles women have traveled around the world -- but more importantly let us commit to the next miles of the journey.”