Posted March. 09, 2009 08:33,
The following is part of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clintons op-ed celebrating International Womens Day:
On a trip to China 11 years ago, I met with women activists who told me about their efforts to advance conditions for women in their country. They offered a vivid portrait of the challenges women faced: employment discrimination, inadequate health care, domestic violence, and antiquated laws that hindered womens progress.
I met some of those women again a few weeks ago during my first trip to Asia as secretary of state. This time, I heard about the progress that has been made in the past decade. But even with some important steps forward, these Chinese women left no doubt that obstacles and inequities still remain, much as they do in many parts of the world.
Ive heard stories like theirs on every continent, as women seek opportunities to participate fully in the political, economic and cultural lives of their countries.
And on March 8, as we celebrate International Womens Day, we have a chance to take stock of both the progress weve made and the challenges that remain -- and to think about the vital role that women must play in helping to solve the complex global challenges of the 21st century.
The problems we face today are too big and too complex to be solved without the full participation of women. Strengthening womens rights is not only a continuing moral obligation -- it is also a necessity as we face a global economic crisis, the spread of terrorism and nuclear weapons, regional conflicts that threaten families and communities, and climate change and the dangers it presents to the worlds health and security.