THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTONMarch 6, 1998
Each year we celebrate International Women's Day not only to highlight the extraordinary achievements of women around the world, but also to raise awareness that there is much work yet to be done to assure that women's rights are protected and respected.
The success of any government depends ultimately on empowering all its citizens to participate fully in the decisions that affect their lives. The health of any society is measured by how much all its citizens are encouraged to reach their full potential. As the nations of the world face the diverse challenges of the next century, it is more important than ever that we address the issues of education for women and young girls, access to health care, political participation of women, and the elimination of violence against women.
The momentum of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 continues to energize us in our efforts to encourage governments across the globe to fulfill their commitments to improve the lives of women and young girls. As part of this endeavor, I continue to urge the United States Senate to join 161 other countries in ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. This treaty is an effective tool that can be used to combat violence against women, to reform unfair inheritance and property rights laws, and to strengthen women's access to fair employment and economic opportunity. Its ratification by the United States will enhance our efforts to promote the status of women everywhere.
We cannot build the kind of future we want for ourselves and our children without the contributions of women. As we celebrate International Women's Day, I hope that all Americans will join me in renewing our efforts to advance women's progress and to protect human rights at home and around the world.
Best wishes to all for a memorable observance.
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