Hillary Rodham Clinton called women’s rights the the “great unfinished business of the 21st century” in a speech today during the UN’s observance of International Women’s Day 2014 in New York.
Clinton said huge progress has been made since the 1995 Beijing Women’s Conference, there’s still a long way to full equality.
“No country has achieved women’s full political participation, not even my own,” Clinton said, as she called on the world to adopt a new set of development commitments for the future in which gender equality is the core focus.
“When women succeed, the world succeeds,” she added. “So our new development agenda must be a universal agenda.”
Clinton acknowledged that the challenges for women vary in different parts of the world, but said the values remain the same.
“We must ensure for example that women everywhere have the right to find a job, own and inherit property, have access to a valid legal identity,” she said, citing the need for gender parity in education and calling for an end to gender based violence and early and forced marriages.
Though Clinton did not mention abortion outright, she included a push for women’s reproductive health and rights.
“There is one lesson from the past in particular we cannot afford to ignore,” she said. “You cannot make progress on gender equality or broader human development without safeguarding women’s reproductive health and rights. That’s a bedrock truth.”