Today, we recognize the courage and contributions of women and girls around the world. And renew our enduring commitment to protect their rights, lift their voices, and ensure they have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

This is both a moral and strategic imperative. Societies—including our own—do better when women participate and have equal opportunities. Economies grow. Education rates and health outcomes increase. Political instability and violence decline. Put simply: the status of women and girls, and the stability and security of nations, are inextricably linked. That’s why fighting to eliminate barriers to women’s full participation has been a central part of my life’s work—and a key focus of my Administration since day one. Despite the progress we’ve made, in far too many communities across our nation and countries around the world, women and girls are still oppressed, held back, and denied their fundamental freedoms.

That’s why my Administration has elevated gender equity and equality across our foreign policy. We have increased our investment in care infrastructure globally, and have committed to increase women’s access to the internet—with the goal of cutting the global gender digital divide in half by 2030. The United States continues to be the largest donor to family planning assistance worldwide, and we are taking additional action to combat the maternal health crisis both at home and abroad. I also signed a Presidential Memorandum to strengthen our government’s exercise of financial, diplomatic, and legal tools against conflict-related sexual violence, leading to the first-ever imposition of sanctions driven by a focus on this abhorrent human rights abuse. We are addressing the alarming rise of technology-facilitated gender-based violence and its chilling effect on women’s political participation. We expanded the Safe from the Start initiative to promote women’s leadership and involvement in humanitarian response systems. And last fall, my Administration released a new Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security to promote women’s meaningful participation, leadership, and engagement across our diplomacy, defense, and development policies.

Here at home, my Administration is also fighting to advance the freedom and opportunity that all women deserve. That includes safeguarding a woman’s right to choose and access to reproductive health care, such as abortion and contraception. We achieved the lowest women’s unemployment rate in 70 years and the smallest gender pay gap on record, and made historic investments in child care. I signed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)—a law I first authored alongside survivors and advocates as a U.S. Senator—and have secured the highest funding for VAWA in nearly 30 years. I also signed America’s first major gun safety bill in 30 years, helping keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. And, we have spearheaded bipartisan military justice reforms that better protect victims and promote accountability for sexual assault, sexual harassment, and domestic violence in the Armed Services.

Our world stands at an inflection point, where the decisions we make now will determine the course of our future for decades to come. Supporting women and protecting their rights will set that course on a more secure and more stable path—for women, and for everyone. Because when we invest in women and girls, we invest in the security of communities and countries around the world.

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