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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
ON THE OCCASION OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
MARCH 8, 1995
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
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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