United We Stand: International Women’s Day
March 8, 2011
Remarks by Roger Moran, Deputy Principal Officer
Mr. Vice President, Madame Minister, Ministers in the Government of Southern Sudan, Diplomatic and Consular Colleagues, gentlemen, and especially Ladies of Southern Sudan,
Thank you all. It is an honor and a pleasure to be here on behalf of the United States Consulate General in Juba to celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. I would like to recognize in particular the efforts of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, under the leadership of Minister Agnes Lasuba, for organizing this celebration, and everyone in attendance here today.
Today, we are reflecting on the many milestones we have already achieved, and the progress we have yet to make, here, in the United States, and throughout the world. U.S. officials are joining community events across Southern Sudan to express solidarity with the women and girls of Southern Sudan- in Juba, Wau and elsewhere. Civil society leaders and local government representatives- both women and men-are calling for increased recognition and support for women and girls, and celebrating their political, social and economic achievements throughout Southern Sudan.
As we all know, women leaders have always played a critical role in shaping Southern Sudan's past, present and future. Women's leadership made possible the peace achieved in 2005. And women will play an equally critical role establishing a new, peaceful, democratic country, the Republic of South Sudan. In every place I've traveled in Southern Sudan, I've met women working alongside men to peaceably support the Referendum, to build this new country, and, ultimately, to provide a better future for their children - boys and girls alike. And we also meet men who are fighting for the rights of their mothers, sisters and wives, because they realize that when women and girls are empowered, the entire community benefits.
U.S. support for the people of Southern Sudan ranges from road-building and electrification projects to improving maternal and child health, supporting education for girls, and empowering youth. As we work together towards these aims, we are mindful that women are still the majority of the world's poor and too often bear the consequences of conflict. Here, they must be fully included in and shape reintegration and development plans- or those plans will ultimately fail. Women now returning to Southern Sudan from the North or from other countries have a critical role to play in working together with the communities that remained here to build a stronger future.
These are challenging issues, and my own country continues to be vigilant in its efforts to promote gender equality at home. It has been a long struggle, and gaps remain. Nearly a century ago, when my own mother was born, women in the United States did not have the right to vote. It took many generations of American women to make our country what it is today. And this is true in Southern Sudan, where women will lead the way into the future.
Recognizing the need to do more on all these issues, President Obama created a position at the White House to advise the president and vice president on domestic violence and sexual assault issues in the United States. The president also created a new position at the U.S. State Department, an ambassador-at-large for global women's issues, to mobilize support worldwide for women's rights and to combat violence against women and girls in all its forms.
As President Obama said this month: "Empowering women across the globe is not simply the right thing to do, it is also smart foreign policy. Countries are more peaceful and prosperous when women enjoy equal rights, equal voices, and equal opportunities."
This is why the United States is integrating a focus on women and girls in all our diplomatic efforts, incorporating gender considerations in every aspect of our reintegration and development assistance, and developing a National Action Plan in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
Women and girls at every level, in every state, county, Payam and Boma in Southern Sudan need to know they too can achieve their full potential, on an equal footing with any man. This will take a collective push on the part of everyone to ensure the processes to establish a new country are inclusive and representative of all.
The United States will fully support this critical effort, in partnership and collaboration with all of you. We look forward to continued progress. Thank you again for your dedication and commitment. Shokran, and Women Oyé!