Stressing her goal “to empower the women of this hemisphere to participate fully in the life of our nations,” Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed a summit of North, South and Central American women leaders in Panama. The topic of the summit was empowering women to be fully active in politics.
“No nation can hope to succeed in our global economy if half its people lack the opportunity and the right to make the most of their God-given potentials. In too many countries, my own as well, too many rights are denied and too many doors of opportunity remain tightly closed,” she said to an audience that included 20 first ladies as well as representatives from the U.N. and World Bank.
“Democracy can only achieve its fullest potential when women are not barred by law, by ignorance, by tradition or custom, or by intimidation from making their voices heard at the ballot box.” She added that “We should not rest until we have repealed the laws, swept away the webs of tradition, stared down the forces of intimidation that stifle the potential of women and children and that keep nations from being truly democratic and free.”
Panamanian first lady Dora Boyd de Perez Balladeres and Columbian first lady Jacquin Strouss de Samper spoke out agaist violence. “Without peace, there is no progress,” said Balladeres. de Samper said “We spend three percent of our GDP on way. If these funds were dedicated to strengthening social policies, I am sure that we would have overcome the poverty line.”