WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement recognizing International Women’s Day on March 8, 2016:
“Gender equality is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on September 25, 2015, and it is a goal that I strongly support. Yet, in 2016, it is obvious that the tremendous steps we have made toward achieving gender equality are insufficient. Women, from all walks of life, still face significant disadvantages. Women continue to be excluded from the political process in many countries, limiting their full participation in governance. Women continue to encounter restrictions in their access to family planning and health services, creating risks to their well-being and reducing their economic power. Women continue to be subject to horrific violence and abuse, such as labor and sex trafficking, that shock the conscience. If we are committed to gender equality, and to women having the same human rights accorded to men, there is much more work to be done.
“At home and abroad, how a country treats its women is very much a barometer of economic and social success. When women are allowed to succeed, societies prosper. When women can live without limitations on their ability to work, without restrictions on their access to justice, and without fear of violence because of their gender, societies prosper. We must continue to remove the obstacles to women succeeding so that we can build that prosperity for future generations.
“The international community affirmed over 20 years ago in the Beijing Declaration that the full implementation of women’s and girl’s rights is an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of all human rights. Ensuring that girls and women can reach their full potentials should be a cornerstone of American domestic and foreign policy not only on International Women’s Day, but all year round.”