On behalf of the people of the United States, I am honored to join you in marking this first-ever International Day of the Girl Child. Together, over the past few decades, we have helped raise the status of girls around the world. More girls than ever are reaping the benefits of an education that will pave the way to healthier, more productive, and secure lives. But there are still millions more who are forced to drop out of school or never even have the chance to enroll. Many are forced into early marriages and early motherhood. And discrimination, violence, and inequality still loom large in many countries -- keeping girls from reaching their full potential.
As Secretary of State, I have worked with my colleagues to make breaking down these barriers and promoting gender equality a central pillar of our diplomacy. Putting women and girls at the center of our foreign policy is not only the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do. When you give girls the opportunity to go to school, receive quality health care, and be free from violence and discrimination, you are also laying the foundation for stronger families and communities, and a more peaceful, prosperous, and secure world.
So I want to thank all of you for the work you do. Please know that the United States will be your partner in this work - until every girl and boy in every country, every region, on every continent has the chance reach her or his full potential.