Hello. I’m Eva Weigold Schultz, Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Bern.
March 8 is International Women’s Day, a time to reflect on the contributions of women everywhere to advancing peace, prosperity, and security.
March is also Women’s History Month in the United States, where we celebrate women who have shaped the course of American history. 2020 marked 100 years of women’s right to vote in the United States, and we are pleased to join our friends in Switzerland this year as they too celebrate a milestone anniversary, marking 50 years of women’s right to vote.
The U.S. commitment to supporting women’s political and economic participation, advocating for women’s health and education, and standing up against gender-based violence and discrimination, is longstanding. It is based on the principle that it’s not just the right thing to do – it’s the smart thing to do. When 50 percent of the population is healthy, educated, and has the opportunity to contribute to their countries, those nations are stronger, safer, and more prosperous.
Today, Secretary of State Tony Blinken will host the 15th annual International Women of Courage awards, honoring women from every continent who have shown courageous leadership in advocating for change.
We invite you on this day to reflect on your own women of courage. Who are the women in your family, your community, your workplace who have inspired you?
In my diplomatic career, I have worked under three female Secretaries of State – including the very first one – two female National Security Advisors – including the very first one – and dozens of other senior women diplomats who have been mentors, role models, and trailblazers.
I am inspired by these women.
I have also been fortunate in my career to work on programs to support women’s advancement globally, including in Afghanistan. I am deeply inspired by the women entrepreneurs, midwives, teachers, and political leaders I met there, who are defying enormous challenges to create a better future for Afghan women and girls – precious gains we are committed to preserving.
And I am inspired by and grateful for women everywhere on the frontlines of COVID – the doctors and nurses caring for the sick, scientists and researchers developing vaccines, mothers keeping their families strong throughout all the uncertainty and anxiety.
Courageous women are everywhere, making a difference every day. March is a month to recognize them, pay tribute, and renew our commitment to supporting their leadership. From the United States Embassy in Bern, I wish you a very happy International Women’s Day!