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Women’s Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Agenda
June 17, 2014

Annual Full-Day Discussion on Women’s Rights: Women’s Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Agenda

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As Delivered by Lisa Brodey

UN Human Rights Council – 26th Session
Geneva, June 17, 2014

Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

We would like to thank the High Commissioner and the distinguished panelists for their participation today.

We have all heard the staggering statistics on inequality.

Inequality is one of the defining challenges of our time and a pressing issue all over the globe.

While we may all be born with the same rights, we have not always been born with the same opportunity, and that needs to change.

Across the world, women are at the forefront of their nations and are the backbone of their societies, playing essential roles as caregivers, civil society leaders, human rights defenders and politicians despite inequalities inhibiting their ability to be fully effective in their efforts.

However, one of the most persistent forms of structural inequality is the profound inequality women and girls around the world continue to face.

There and elsewhere, evidence shows, despite significant progress in access to education and some progress in health outcomes, women continue to lag in terms of access to jobs and livelihoods.

Reversing that reality, and ensuring that women and girls can participate on an equal footing with men and boys in their economies, societies, communities and families, would be among the most transformative goals we could set in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The United States strongly supports a dedicated goal on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, alongside inclusion of strong gender equality targets across other relevant goals in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Evidence also shows when women are employed, healthy and educated, their families and communities are more economically productive and stable.

When women are meaningfully empowered as social and political actors, governments are more representative and effective.

We cannot get ahead or break the vicious cycles of violence and poverty if we leave women and girls behind.

The United States considers gender equality and empowerment of women and girls to be inextricably linked to promoting and protecting the rights of all women and girls, including their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.

The true measure of an equal society is one which women and girls can exercise their human rights freely and lead productive and empowered lives allowing for a healthy, peaceful and prosperous world.

Thank you.