Ensuring that women have equal status and opportunities is the key to global prosperity, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a message to a conference in Spain
"When women are afforded their rights and afforded equal opportunities in education, health care, employment and political participation, they help drive social and economic progress," she said in the video message broadcast at the Spain-Africa Women for a Better World conference in Valencia in eastern Spain.
"But when they are marginalised and mistreated as is still the case in too many places in Africa and around the world, broad and lasting progress is impossible. Empowering women is a key to global progress and prosperity."
Clinton said much work to promote gender equality around the world remained to be done since the 1995 United Nations women's conference in Beijing, where she, as US first lady, declared that "Women's rights are human rights."
"The message from that conference rang loudly and clearly and still echoes across cultures and continents. Now we have made great progress in the years since but we all know that there is a long way to go," she said.
More than 500 women, including Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet and over 50 ministers, from around the world were scheduled to take part in the two-day gathering which got underway Saturday in the Mediterranean port city.
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