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International Women's Day 2000

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Women's History Month
For Immediate Release March 2, 2000


Warm greetings to everyone observing International Women's Day, 2000. It is most appropriate that, here in the United States, we celebrate this special observance during Women's History Month, for it reinforces our awareness of the many contributions women have made to the life of our nation and the strength of our economy. Millions of women of courage and commitment have served our society as doctors and scientists, teachers and factory workers, athletes and mothers. At home and in schools, in offices and congregations, in our Armed Forces and our communities, women have helped to build this nation and keep it strong. Today, 58 women hold seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and 9 women are United States Senators. More women hold high-level positions in my Administration than in any other in history. And in the private sector, women own nearly 9 million small businesses, employing millions of Americans and contributing significantly to the strength of our economy.

Despite their progress and achievements, however, women still face barriers on the road to true equality. In America, women workers still do not receive pay equal to that of their male counterparts in the same jobs, and they still must struggle for equal opportunity to serve at the highest levels of business and industry. In other countries around the world, women and girls are subjected to discrimination in education, health care, employment, and credit. Many suffer in societies where their basic human and legal rights are violated and their desire -- and right -- to participate in the political, economic, and social life of their nations is denied.

In September of 1995, the United States proudly joined 188 other governments at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in adopting the Platform for Action, a historic and comprehensive statement on women's rights and public policy. As we prepare for the June Special Session of the UN General Assembly to review progress since Beijing, we must remain steadfast in our efforts to promote the rights of women and children in the United States and throughout the world. Senate ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women would send a strong signal of our commitment and would enhance our efforts to promote the status of women around the world. With vision, energy, and deter-mina-tion, we can advance the status of women and ensure that this new century is an era of continued progress and achievement for all women.

Best wishes for a successful observance.

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International Women's Day 2000