In the 25 years since the Fourth World Conference on Women, the United States is proud of the incredible gains American women have made, and of our country’s unparalleled leadership in protecting and advancing the rights and freedoms of women around the world. Before the pandemic, American women set new records for workforce success, opening new businesses, and salary growth. While we always strive for “a more perfect union,” American women continue to make great strides in economic, social, political, and other leadership positions.
Beyond our borders, we set new standards in supporting women’s empowerment. In 2017, America became the first country in the world to pass national legislation to implement the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Our innovative White House-led 2019 Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative aims to economically empower 50 million women across the developing world by 2025.
The United States of America is a beacon of the fundamental truth that when women are fully empowered to participate in all aspects of economic, intellectual, political, and social life, their communities are more peaceful, more prosperous, and more free. Regrettably, in too many places around the globe women face threats, insecurity, exploitation, violence, and abuse at the hands of evil regimes that deny them—and all their people—God-given fundamental freedoms and basic human dignity. These same regimes that deny women’s rights at home are likewise often responsible for serious threats to women beyond their borders.
Venezuela used to be a country where women thrived, but today the Cuban-supported Maduro regime has impoverished its people and decimated its democratic institutions. Millions of women have been forced to flee the country and become refugees in order to feed their families. The destructive influence of the Cuban regime and their Venezuelan partners have sown chaos and instability across the region, destroying billions of dollars in productive capacity and damaging a generation.
The Iranian regime likewise has been a destructive force for women, not only at home but abroad. In the past 25 years, under the mullah’s theocratic rule, women’s rights have gone backwards, and women face brutal violence for removing their headscarves or otherwise demanding fundamental freedoms. The Iranian regime is not satisfied with terrorizing its own population, however, and has contributed to the repression of women across the region. Where you see women suffering from conflict, violence, and abuse – especially in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen — the Iranian regime is the hidden hand constructing their misery.
But the worst violator of all, in both scope and scale, is the host of the conference we commemorate today. Since 1995, the Chinese Communist Party has been responsible for the murder of millions of baby girls through brutal population controls on an industrial scale, unfortunately with support from UN agencies. Today the CCP is attacking ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities by turning these same population controls on these vulnerable minorities, subjecting women to forced sterilization, forced abortion, and forced birth control. This is in addition to the mass detention and intrusive surveillance system the CCP has put in place to Sinicize and control every aspect of Uyghur life. We invite you to visit www.state.gov/CCPAbuses for more information on these horrific abuses and we call on the UN to stop ignoring and enabling these atrocities.
We cannot wait another 25 years to address these grave threats to the fundamental freedoms and human rights of women, and of all people. Thank you.
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