Meeting women like all of you is so inspiring to me, and that’s why it’s important to lift up your stories—so that they can inspire others as well. I’m honored to be here.

From soft lullabies to battle cries for justice, women nurse and nurture, teach and build, lead and dream our world forward—each and every day.

We have never been silent. But women have been silenced.

With violence and intimidation. With discrimination and isolation. With house work and family care that’s never done—and for many, their responsibility alone.

For many women around the world, simply raising their voice is a struggle. They’ve had to fight for a seat at the table.

And in this COVID-19 pandemic, too many women lost the footholds they had found—forced to choose between taking care of children and the careers that gave them economic freedom and a sense of purpose.
It’s not right. And the loss of their talent hurts all of us.

But when women get the opportunities that they deserve? When we pay them what their work is worth? There’s no limit to what they can do.

We don’t need studies to tell us that women are the engines behind our communities—but the research tells us that it’s true.

When women earn money, they invest it in their families. They become mentors and help others find success as well. They create more economic growth.

When women have the ability to participate fully in society, they create more peaceful, stable places to live.

Empowered women power our economies. They are the heart of a strong democracy.

And that’s why I’m so honored to be here with all of you today. You’ve not only launched successful endeavors, not only found a way to bring your businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic, but are continuing to grow them as well.

The United States understands how critical you are. And we’re committed to supporting innovators just like you throughout the world.

With programs like the International Visitor Leadership Program, the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, and the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative—we’ve helped create fellowships, mentored entrepreneurs, and worked closely with rising leaders across governments, businesses, and academia.

Today, I’m here to honor you. Because the path you’ve walked hasn’t been easy. You, too, have had to fight for your seat at the table.

So, thank you for the courage it takes to pioneer a business—whether it’s making clean, safe cleaning products like Silvia, or caring for children, or giving inmates a second chance at life.

Thank you for mentoring the next generation of women leaders—because I know that you do—and continuing to show us how high women can rise.

And thank you for making your communities and your country stronger, every day.

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