President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis were among those in the US government who honored International Women’s Day yesterday.
Among her remarks, Michelle Obama said, “We’re here today not just to pay tribute to leaders and icons and household names…we honor the women who traveled those lonely roads to be the first ones in those courtrooms, to be the first ones in those boardrooms, to be the first ones on those playing fields, and to be the first ones on those battlefields.” She continued and said we must “recommit ourselves to carrying on their work for our own daughters and granddaughters, and also for our sons and our grandsons too.”
President Obama listed a number of his administration’s achievements within international women’s issued, including “pursuing a global health strategy that makes important investments in child and maternal health,” sponsoring “a UN resolution to increase protection for women and girls in conflict-torn countries,” creating “the first Office of Global Women’s Issues at the State Department,” “investing $18 million to combat the unconscionable cruelties being committed against girls and women in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” and more. He said, “We’re doing all of this not only because promoting women’s empowerment is one of the best ways to promote economic development and economic success. We are doing it because it’s the right thing to do. I say that not only as a President, but also as the father of two daughters, as a son and a grandson, and as a husband.”
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis issued a statement honoring the day. She said, “As a product of the women’s movement, the social justice movement and the civil rights movement, I have seen how far we have come in advancing the role of women in our country and around the globe. I also see how much further we have yet to go in supporting women and girls to ensure equality and opportunity in our workplaces, our schools and in our communities as a whole…History has always shown us that when women work together and advocate for a common purpose, we can ensure the well-being of our families, our country and the world. It is clear that our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons. Our shared prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity – irrespective of gender – to reach their full potential.”
At the US State Department, an exhibit entitled The Colors of Warka: Paintings by Iraqi Women of Muthanna Province opened in honor of International Women’s Day. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will present the 2010 International Women of Courage award to 10 honorees tomorrow.