|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Statement on International Women's Day, March 8, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman, Prague, Czech Republic, March 7, 2000
U.S. Department of State
On this day set aside to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of women around the world, we have much to celebrate.
Women have moved forward economically and politically in countries around the world and have risen to positions of leadership in every professional field. They now serve as presidents and prime ministers, CEOs, scientists, astronauts and even Secretaries of State.
In June, delegates from 189 countries will meet at the United Nations in New York to mark these accomplishments and measure the progress made since the 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing.
I have served for the past three years as Chair of the President's Interagency Council on Women that was formed to carry out the Beijing Platform for Action. And I am proud of the strong leadership, support and encouragement the President, the Vice President and the First Lady have given to the ongoing efforts for women's advancement here in the United States and around the world.
But the journey has only begun. Too many women in too many places still live surrounded by the four walls of poverty and ignorance, exploitation and discrimination. In some countries girls are denied the right to attend school, while trafficking in women and children has become the world's fastest growing criminal enterprise. We must all continue to work together so that from the smallest village to the largest city, the voices of women are heard at the ballot box and in legislatures; in classrooms and boardrooms; in counseling peace and building prosperity.
In recent years, I have had the privilege of meeting with women from around the world -- including just yesterday in the Czech Republic -- who are striving to achieve precisely this goal. Their courage and determination are an immense source of strength and a profound reason for confidence that day by day, country by country, we are on the right course -- and will prevail.
The women's movement has endured not because it is trendy, but because of the underlying power of its central premise, which is that every individual counts. This basic idea of valuing each human person fairly is what has united our movement across the boundaries of geography, status, culture and time. It is what gives us faith that the day will come when every girl, everywhere, will be able to look ahead with confidence that her life will be valued, her individuality respected, her rights protected and her future determined solely by her own ability and character.
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