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In Their Own Words on International Women's Day

Mar 31, 2009

“Violence against women is an abomination… Violence against women cannot be tolerated, in any form, in any context, in any circumstance, by any political leader or by any government… No country, no culture, no woman, young or old, is immune.”
--United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, “UN Chief Urges: End Violence Against Women,” Associated Press, March 5, 2009

“The U.N. regards [violence against women] as a pandemic. I have seen firsthand the effect of this violence on women, children and families, wrecked by these crimes that are too often hidden and protected with impunity. Despite the enormity of such violence and discrimination, this weekend I am celebrating the power of women to survive and even thrive. I am celebrating the vision of equality between women and men that is enshrined in the framework of international human rights law, and our collective efforts to make it a reality. There are benchmarks of progress – women in parliament, female heads of state, women on the highest courts and in the U.N. Perhaps as a result, I see girls worldwide growing up with a new sense of themselves that I and most women of my generation were not given. These girls are powerful… I celebrate these girls on International Women’s Day. They are our future.”
--United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay, “A Day to Celebrate the Power of Women,” USA Today, March 6, 2009

“In observance of International Women’s Day, and during Women’s History Month in the United States, the United States stands with people around the globe to reaffirm our commitment to the equality, freedom, achievements, and advancement of women. From the global challenge of climate change, to a world that is not yet free from poverty and conflict, our challenges are many. Women are vital to the solutions to these problems, and we will not sow the seeds for a brighter future or reap the benefits of the change we need without the full and active participation of women around the world.”
--United States President Barack Obama, International Women’s Day Statement, March 8, 2009

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