Women come together in fields and in factories. In village markets and supermarkets. In living rooms and boardrooms and whether we are playing with our children at home, washing clothes in a river, or cooking in the kitchen, we come together and talk about our aspirations and concerns. And time and again, our talk turns to our children and our families.
When a young woman graduates from school and starts looking for a job, she is likely to have a frustrating experience ahead of her. If she walks into an office for an interview, the first question she will be asked is, "Do you type?"
There is a calculated system of prejudice that lies unspoken behind that question. Why is it acceptable for women to be librarians, teachers and designers, but unacceptable for them to be managers, administrators, doctors nor lawyers?
The unspoken supposition is that women are different. They do not have directorial ability orderly minds, stability or leadership skills, and simply, are too emotional.
Women make up 70% percent of the world's poor, and two-thirds of those who are illiterate. More than half of the population of the United States is female. But women occupy only 2% of the administrative positions. No woman sit on the AFL-CIO council (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations council) nor the Supreme Court and considering that there are about 3 1/2 million more women in the United States than men, this situation is outrageous.
Women are also dying from diseases that should have been prevented or treated; they are watching their children submit to malnutrition caused by poverty and economic deprivation; their own fathers and brothers are denying them the right to go to school; they are being forced into prostitution, and they are being banned from the election box. Do you wish to suffer such injustice?
We have to strengthen families and societies by empowering young women like everyone and we present here to take greater control over their own life and destinies as it is never early to dream.
These abuses have continued because, for too long, the history of women has been a history of silence and even today, there are those who are trying to silence our words.
The voices of women must be heard loud and clear. No one should be forced to remain silent for fear of religious or political discrimination, arrest, abuse or torture.
Families rely on mothers and wives for emotional support and care; families rely on women for labor in the home but as long as discrimination and inequality remain in the society, as long as girls and women are valued less, fed less, overworked, underpaid, uneducated and subjected to violence, the potential of the human family to create a peaceful, prosperous world will not be realized.
Let this be our call to action. Let us heed the call so that we can create a world in which every woman is treated with respect and dignity, every boy and girl, man and woman is loved and cared for equally, and that every family has the hope of a strong and stable future ahead of them. Thank you.