Obamas, Clinton Commemorate International Women’s Day

Marking International Women’s Day at the White House Monday, President Barack Obama vowed to fight for gender equality at home and abroad, Agence France-Presse reports. The president marked the event with First Lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, AFP reports.

“Even as we reflect on the hope of our history, we must also face squarely the reality of the present – a reality marked by unfairness, marked by hardship for too many women in America,” Obama said. “I didn’t run for president to see inequality and injustice persist in our time.”

“The president also praised Clinton and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice for making the alleviation of suffering of women a priority in U.S. foreign policy, including lifting restrictions on access to family planning,” according to AFP (3/8).

Speaking during the White House event, Albright highlighted the “challenges women still face globally in achieving the same basic rights and dignity as men,” VOA News reports.

“Appalling abuses … are still being committed against women. And these include domestic violence, dowry murders, coerced abortions, honor crimes and the killing of infants simply because they are born female. Some say all this is cultural and there is nothing anybody can do about it. I say it is criminal and we each have an obligation to stop it,” she said (Robinson, 3/8).

“In a statement Ms. Clinton argued that there was still a long way to go towards achieving the goals” of the 1995 Beijing Declaration, The Hindu writes (Lakshman, 3/9).

“Women are still the majority of the world’s poor, unhealthy, underfed, and uneducated. They rarely cause violent conflicts but too often bear their consequences. Women are absent from negotiations about peace and security to end those conflicts. Their voices simply are not being heard,” Clinton said in her statement marking the day.

“Today, the United States is making women a cornerstone of foreign policy because we think it’s the right thing to do, but we also believe it’s the smart thing to do as well. Investing in the potential of the world’s women and girls is one of the surest ways to achieve global economic progress, political stability, and greater prosperity for women – and men – the world over,” Clinton said in the statement (3/8).

U.N. officials celebrated International Women’s Day by calling for greater support of women worldwide and emphasizing the interconnectedness between gender equality and women’s empowerment and the ability for countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, U.N. News Centre reports. The article includes comments from other officials marking the day and highlights from the findings of several reports released Monday (3/8).

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