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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 

95/03/08 REMARKS:  MRS. CLINTON ON EDUCATION INITIATIVE, WOMEN‚S DAY

 

 

 

            REMARKS OF FIRST LADY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON 

             ANNOUNCEMENT OF U.S. INITIATIVE TO EXPAND 

               GIRLS' AND WOMEN'S EDUCATION IN THE  

                        DEVELOPING WORLD 

           ON THE OCCASION OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY 

                         MARCH 8, 1995 

                     COPENHAGEN, DENMARK 

 

 

Thank you very much.  I am grateful for this opportunity to speak at 

this forum on International Women's Day.  Today, I have the pleasure of 

announcing a United States initiative to expand girls' and women's 

education in the developing world. 

 

The issues addressed at this Summit are issues that women around the 

world face every day in their kitchens or at their children' s bedsides, 

in the marketplace and in the workforce.  Women should be active 

participants in helping their societies meet the great challenges of 

this and the next century.  But that can only be achieved if women are 

empowered through education, legal rights and protection from violence 

and are assured access to adequate social services, employment 

opportunities, political institutions and decision-making.  Empowerment 

and access will enable women to take their rightful places as they work 

in partnership with men to strengthen their families and contribute to 

their communities. 

 

No single factor contributes tot he long-term health and prosperity of a 

developing nation or any nation more that investing in education for 

girls and women.  In countries where governments have invested primary 

and secondary schooling for girls and women, the investment has been 

repaid many times through higher economic productivity, greater 

participation of women in the modern labor sector, longer life 

expectancy, lower birth rates, and stronger families and communities. 

 

While we have witnessed significant increases in primary school 

enrollments worldwide in the past two decades, much remains to be done.  

Today, more than two-thirds of the children who have never attended 

school or dropped out before finishing, are girls.  Almost one billion 

people remain illiterate, and two-thirds of them are women. 

 

Recent research has demonstrated that investments in the education of 

girls and women are investments in the community and in the prosperity 

of a nation.  Moreover, investments in girls and women may yield a 

higher return than any others in a country's development. 

 

The deliberations, goals, and commitments of the International 

Conference on Population and Development in Cairo last year, this World 

Summit for Social Development taking place here this week, and the 

Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing later this year, have all 

clearly stated that education of girls and women throughout their lives 

is essential to increased global prosperity and social integration. 

 

Recognizing the critical role women must play in their own and their 

countries' development and the importance of education in enabling them 

to play those roles, I am pleased to announce today that the United 

States will allocate $100 million over a 10-year period to provide 

enhanced educational opportunities for hundreds of thousands of girls 

and women in Africa, Asia and Latin America who currently live in 

poverty.  The goals of this initiative are ambitious:  They include a 20 

percent increase in girls' primary school completion rates or a 20 

percent increase in the number of women who are functionally literate in 

the project areas in each country within 10 years. 

 

A key element in this initiative is that it will be women, organized by 

NGOs, who will take the leadership in this effort.  This new program 

will also assist women in developing their own capacities for improving 

the education of their children, including their daughters. 

 

I am proud that the United States in taking such an important step in 

helping poor women reach their full potential in their families, 

communities, and their societies.  There is no more important task 

before all of us.  I respectfully urge other governments to join us in 

creating or expanding the opportunities for all women worldwide. 

 

Thank you very much.
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