Today, the United Nation's will open a two-week conference to review and strengthen women's rights globally, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) issued the following statement:
"As we look at the major challenges faced around the world - conflict, poverty, disease, hunger, natural disasters, and environmental degradation - women are key to our ability to successfully face these daunting challenges. Yet, in much of the world, women remain an untapped and undervalued resource. The next two weeks couldn't be more important.
"Economic development is hindered by segregation of women in education and the workforce. Families and communities are devastated by HIV/AIDS, maternal mortality, and other scourges. Thankfully, women have proved themselves to be resilient and effective agents of change. When women enjoy full participation within society, we see exponential economic growth. When the law is applied equitably, we see greater implementation of due process. With the extension of suffrage to women, we see strong and inclusive governance.
"I hope the messages that come out of the session will be forceful and ambitious, and that all member states will heed their conclusions. The days when women's voices were muffled and their opinions discounted should be behind us; both women and men must contribute to the growth and security of their communities and nations. When women and girls have equal access and are empowered, only good things follow."