As half the planet, women make immeasurable contributions to our world. They are entrepreneurs, farmers, educators, scientists, artists, soldiers, mothers, heads of state – the list is endless. Without them, economies would collapse, political systems would deteriorate, and families and communities would fall apart. Yet in too many places, women are treated as second-class citizens. Their abilities are undervalued. And their human rights – the right to learn, to express themselves, to live free from violence, to choose whether and whom to marry – are routinely violated.
This gap between women’s inherent value and how many of them are treated every day is one of the great injustices of our time. On this International Women’s Day, we recommit ourselves to closing that gap.
That means supporting girls’ education. Right now, 62 million girls worldwide who should be in school aren’t. Millions more are at risk of losing their access to education. This week, Michelle and I announced an initiative called “Let Girls Learn,” to help dismantle the barriers – economic, political and cultural – that stand in the way of girls who want to learn.
I’m convinced that a world in which women and girls are treated as equal to men and boys is safer, more stable, and more prosperous. Beyond those tangible benefits, this is simply a matter of right and wrong. Women and girls are human beings, full and equal in rights and dignity. They deserve to be treated that way, everywhere, every day. My Administration will continue working to make that vision a reality.