Speech by HRH The Crown Princess at the Global Citizen festival in Central Park on 28 September, New York

We all have our reasons for being here.

And although our reasons may be different there is a commonality: to make this world a better place for tomorrow.

I’m fighting for women’s and girls’ rightful place in our world – equal beside their husbands, brothers and sons.

I want a world, where all women and men, adult and young have equal opportunities, freedoms and choices to forge their own life aspirations and destinies.

So, if you asked me: What is the single most important thing that can be done to improve the world? I would not hesitate in answering; ‘Gender Equality’.

Gender equality is a human right, and the foundation for building vibrant, healthy and prosperous societies and economies.

One of the key indicators of inequality is maternal mortality.

Every single day, 800 women die due to pregnancy and childbirth-related complications.

Every year, 16 million adolescent girls give birth. For these girls, maternal mortality is a leading cause of death.

When you think that women and girls account for one-half of a country’s population, a nation’s success in the long-term depends on whether and how it educates, involves, and protects its women and girls.

The world is seeing the largest generation of young people in history and that includes many of you here tonight.  We must work together to ensure that each and every young person can reach their full potential.

Right now, the next round of global development goals are being discussed, debated and negotiated. And there are three essential pillars that must be at the core of any new agenda:

  • Women’s empowerment and gender equality
  • The rights and empowerment of adolescents and youth, and
  • Sexual and reproductive health and rights
So, the next time someone asks you or you ask yourself; what is the single most important thing that can be done to improve the world?

You know the answer:  Gender Equality.

Thank you.

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