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EU reaffirms commitment to promote women's empowerment

Published:Thursday | March 10, 2011 | 12:00 AM

The following is the message delivered by the European Union on Tuesday in recognition of International Women's Day.

For the past century, celebration of International Women's Day (March 8) has been marked by the economic, social, political and cultural achievements of women around the world. Women have struggled throughout history for greater freedom of choice and liberty.

The European Union (EU) would like to take this opportunity to reiterate its commitment to promote women's rights and gender equality. The EU believes that only by taking bold action now can we ensure a future free of discrimination and violence against women and girls; a world that offers equal opportunities for all.

The 100th anniversary of International Women's Day is being recognised under the theme 'Equal access to education, training and science and technology' and the EU supports this theme as being of fundamental importance.

Human right

Education is a basic human right; it is central to economic security and opportunity as well as to sustainable development. Investing globally in girls' education will spur economic growth and political participation. Literacy and numeracy equip women for economic independence, increasing their chances of achieving their full potential.

Women have played a crucial role in bringing about change all over the world. Recent events in Northern Africa continue to illustrate this. Amid violence, women have joined the struggle for change. We hope that the key role that women have played so far will be reflected fully in the institutional changes that are already under discussion in that region. Women must be at the heart of the discussions over the future order.