Women playing critical role in North African democracy movement, UN official says

UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet

7 April 2011 – Women have played a critical role in the pro-democracy protest movements that have swept across North Africa and the Middle East this year, and their rights and leadership potential must continue to be encouraged, the head of the new United Nations entity for gender equality and women’s empowerment said today.

Michelle Bachelet, the Executive Director of UN Women, met with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior US officials today during a visit to Washington, D.C. that focused on how to advance women’s political participation, economic empowerment and ending violence against women.

Ms. Bachelet called on US officials to continue advance women’s rights and leadership around the world, particularly in emerging democracies.

“In Egypt and Tunisia, women have played a key role in the movement for democracy, and their legal rights and decision-making within the transitional structures are critical,” Ms. Bachelet said in a press release issued by her office following the visit to Washington.

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