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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > What the Secretary Has Been Saying > 2006 Secretary Rice's Remarks > March2006: Secretary Rice's Remarks

International Women's Day, March 8, 2006

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
March 8, 2006

As we observe International Women’s Day 2006, I am proud to honor the diverse contributions of women in advancing the common cause of freedom, justice, and equality. Over the past year, we have witnessed women of courage, compassion, strength, and hope playing transformative roles in their societies, inspiring the international community, and enriching our world.

Around the globe, women are making impressive political gains. In countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, and throughout the broader Middle East, women are contributing to and leading democratic change that cannot be stopped. Many have put their lives at risk to forge free and democratic societies for future generations. Today more women than ever before have the right to vote. More women are running for office, and many have been elected as leaders in their countries. In Liberia, Chile, and Germany, for the first time women have been elected to their country’s highest office.

Even as we celebrate the fact that more women have taken their rightful place in society, we must also recognize that there is still much to be done. In too many parts of the world women still struggle for basic liberties under governments that tolerate discrimination, systematic abuse, exploitation, and violence against women. We must not accept women being sold into sexual slavery, terrorized by rape, denied an education, killed for so-called "honor crimes", or silenced for speaking out. We are resolved to remove the barriers to political, economic, and social empowerment so that women everywhere may freely chart their own way.

This week we honor brave women such as Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains under house arrest in Burma. Her efforts to bring democracy are a source of inspiration to women around the world. We must not forget that the advance of women’s rights and the advance of human liberty go hand in hand. Around the world, women of courage are standing up for freedom and human dignity. The United States stands with them.

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