Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
October 22, 2022
Hello, everyone. I’m so honored and grateful to take part in today’s conference. I want to recognize the officers and supervisors, the bishops and other leaders who made this event possible. And a huge thank you to Dr. Taylor-King and the entire Women’s Missionary Society leadership team for bringing us together. As the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, my job is to represent our country on the world stage and advance international peace and security. And when my team and I work to address pressing global challenges from protracted conflicts to the climate crisis to public health threats, we always look to the leadership of women.
Women need to help women and help our communities. We need to look out for each other. Especially now, we are counting on you because we know that the challenges facing women and girls around the world are particularly grave. In Ethiopia, we have seen renewed violence. And we are horrified by the continued use of rape as a weapon of war on women and girls.
Since Russia’s unprovoked invasion, the overwhelming majority of refugees from Ukraine have been women and children. And in Afghanistan, the Taliban has instituted destructive, repressive policies. Policies that have kept young women out of school. It’s abhorrent. Here’s what gives me hope: the very same women facing persecution are consistently at the front lines of change.
Women and girls are leading the charge to stamp out human trafficking, gender-based violence, and maternal health and other racial disparities. Women and girls are bravely standing up to those who seek to delegate them as second-class citizens. Just look at the example of the women in Iran risking their lives to fight for equality and fundamental freedoms. And women and girls are working to address a dire food security crisis that has pushed millions into hunger especially vulnerable populations in Africa.
I saw these efforts up close during my recent travels to Ghana and Uganda. I spoke with women in the markets and on farms who are doing everything in their power to feed their communities and build self-sufficient food systems. So, for all the challenges before us, I remain optimistic. And that’s because of women like you. You represent the promise of a brighter, more equitable future.
You are guided by faith. And in turn, you give me faith. My team relies on your hard work and guidance to advance the Women, Peace, and Security agenda and Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations and around the world. You are helping us dismantle the cycles of violence and oppression that hold women back everywhere. Every single one of you have a part to play.
So today, on the 33rd anniversary of this conference, let us band together, as individuals striving for equality. And as women leaders, working together to build a more equitable and peaceful future for all.