Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, I, as a young woman, am honored to be here today to celebrate the contributions women make in every aspect of life: in the home, on the job, in their
communities, as mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, learners, workers, citizens and leaders.
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.
We share a common future. And we are here to find common ground so that we may help bring respect and dignity to women and girls all over the world - and in so doing, bring new
strength and stability to 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.
In 1979, the United Nations General Assembly adopted The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. This came as a great beacon of hope for women
all around the world. It was the dawn of equality between men and women.
But thirty-one years after the adoption of the convention, many women and girls still do not have equal rights and opportunities as recognized by law. But thirty-one years later,
women in many countries are still not entitled to own property or inherit land. But thirty-one years later, social exclusion like “honor killings” and trafficking still exist.
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 the primary caretakers for most of the world's children and elderly. Yet much of the work done is not valued - not by historians, not by popular culture nor by
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
We need to understand that there is no formula for how women should lead their lives. That is why we must respect the choices that each woman makes for herself and her family.
Every woman deserves the chance to realize her given potential. We must also recognize that women will never gain full dignity until their human rights are respected and protected.
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
I believe that, on the eve of a new millennium, it is time to break our silence. It is time for us to say and for the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss
women's rights as separate from human rights.
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.
I have a dream, that our children will grow up happily, healthy and strong.
I have a dream, that little boys and girls will sit side by side in class, listening to their teachers teach.
I have a dream, that men and women both hold administrative positions in their career.
I have a dream, that we women, compete with men in society on equal grounds.
I have a dream, that both men and women be treated with equality.
Now is the time to act on behalf of women everywhere. If we take bold steps to better the lives of women, we will also be taking bold steps to better the lives of our children and
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.
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