Today we celebrate International Women’s Day and once again declare our faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, and in the equal rights of men and women. As the world approaches a population of seven billion, it’s high time to unleash the full potential of half the world’s population.
When girls enjoy equal access to education, and women, men and young people can claim their right to sexual and reproductive health, we come closer to equality. When women and couples can plan their families, and balance work and family life as they desire, we expand equal opportunity. When a pregnant woman no longer fears losing her job, and maternity no longer continues to be a source of discrimination in employment, we advance equal rights between men and women.
When girls are educated and healthy, and can avoid early marriage, unwanted pregnancy and HIV, they can contribute fully to society. UNFPA will continue to move forward guided by the belief that progress for women is progress for all.
Today and every day, my colleagues and I in UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, will continue to champion reproductive health and reproductive rights. We renew our commitment to work with governments and civil society to achieve universal access to education and reproductive health by 2015.
We join partners worldwide, including the newly established UN Women, to advance gender equality and dignity for all.