SENATORS HONOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

Resolution calls for equality for women around the world

March 05, 2010

(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a resolution honoring the achievements of women around the world in advance of International Women's Day, which takes place every year on March 8. International Women's Day celebrates the economic, political, and social achievements of women, while acknowledging the obstacles that women still face in the struggle for equal rights and opportunities.  

"While women have made hard fought and important strides toward equality in recent decades, they continue to face significant obstacles in all aspects of their lives," said the Senators in a joint statement.  "Until women around the world have improved access to economic, political and social opportunities, the great challenges we face today, from pervasive global poverty to violent extremism, will go unresolved."

In addition to Shaheen, Boxer, Cardin and Gillibrand, the bill was co-sponsored by Senators Robert Byrd (D-WV), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mark Begich (D-AK), Ted Kaufman (D-DE), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Susan Collins (R-ME).

The full text of the resolution follows:

Whereas there are more than 3,300,000,000 women in the world;

Whereas women around the world participate in the political, social, and economic life of their communities and play the predominant role in providing and caring for their families;

Whereas women, as both farmers and caregivers, play a leading role in advancing food security for their families and communities;

Whereas the ability of women to realize their full potential is critical to the ability of a nation to achieve strong and lasting economic growth and political stability;

Whereas according to the 2009 World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report, ‘‘[A] nation's competitiveness depends significantly on whether and how it educates and utilizes its female talent. To maximize its competitiveness and development potential, each country should strive for gender equality-that is, to give women the same rights, responsibilities and opportunities as men.'';

Whereas, also according to the same report, ‘‘Every year of schooling increases a girl's individual earning power by 10% to 20%, while the return on secondary education is even higher, in the 15% to 25% range. Additionally, women reinvest 90%of their income back into the household, whereas men reinvest only 30% to 40%.'';

Whereas according to President Barack Obama, ‘‘Our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons, and our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity-men and women-to reach their full potential.'';

Whereas according to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, ‘‘[I]nvesting in the potential of women to lift and lead their societies is one of the best investments we can make.'';

Whereas some women have been elected to lead their national governments, including the 2010 election of Laura Chinchilla as the first female President of Costa Rica, the 2009 elections of Jadranka Kosor as the first female Prime Minister of Croatia, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir as the first female Prime Minister of Iceland, and Dalia Grybauskaite` as the first female President of Lithuania, the 2007 election of Christina Fernandez de Kirchner as the first elected female President of Argentina, the 2006 election of Michelle Bachelet as the first female President of Chile, the 2006 election of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as the first female President of Liberia and the first female President in the history of the African continent, and the 2005 election and 2009 re-election of Angela Merkel as the first female Chancellor of Germany;

Whereas despite some achievements made by individual women leaders, women around the globe are still vastly underrepresented in high level positions and in national and local legislatures and governments and, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, account for only 18.7 percent of national parliamentarians;

Whereas although strides have been made in recent decades, women around the world continue to face significant obstacles in all aspects of their lives including discrimination, gender-based violence, and denial of basic human rights;

Whereas women are responsible for 66 percent of the work done in the world, yet earn only 10 percent of the income earned in the world;

Whereas women account for approximately 70 percent of individuals living in poverty world-wide;

Whereas women account for 64 percent of the 774,000,000 adults world-wide who lack basic literacy skills;

Whereas girls account for 57 percent of the 72,000,000 primary school aged children in the world who do not attend school;

Whereas in Sub-Saharan Africa only 17 percent of girls enroll in secondary school;

Whereas women receive less than 10 percent of all available credit in Africa, own less than 2 percent of the land in the world, and account for only 15 percent of the agricultural extension agents in the world, yet produce the majority of the food crops in the world, including 70 percent of the food crops in Africa;

Whereas women in developing countries are disproportionately affected by global climate change;

Whereas according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, women account for 50 percent of HIV or AIDS infections worldwide, and nearly 60 percent of HIV infections in Sub-Saharan Africa;

Whereas according the Department of State, 56 percent of all forced labor victims are women and girls;

Whereas according to the United Nations, 1 in 3 women in the world will be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime;

Whereas according to the International Center for Research on Women, there are more than 60,000,000 child brides in developing countries, some of whom are as young as 7 years old;

Whereas March 8 is recognized each year as International Women's Day, a global day to celebrate the economic, political, and social achievements of women past, present, and future and a day to recognize the obstacles that women still face in the struggle for equal rights and opportunities; and

Whereas, the United Nations theme for International Women's Day 2010 is ‘‘Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all'': Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate-

(1) supports the goals of ‘‘International Women's Day'';

(2) recognizes that the economic growth and empowerment of women is inextricably linked to the potential of nations to generate economic growth and sustainable democracy;

(3) recognizes and honors the women in the United States and around the world who have worked throughout history to strive to ensure that women are guaranteed equality and basic human rights;

(4) reaffirms the commitment to end gender based discrimination in all forms, to end violence against women and girls worldwide; and

(5) encourages the people of the United States to observe International Women's Day with appropriate programs and activities.

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