Sixty years have passed since the founders of the United Nations inscribed, on the first page of our Charter, the equal rights of men and women. Since then, study after study has taught us that there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women. No other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, or to reduce infant and maternal mortality. No other policy is as sure to improve nutrition and promote health - including the prevention of HIV/AIDS.
But whatever the very real benefits of investing in women, the most important fact remains: `Women themselves have the right to live in dignity, in freedom from want and fear.` Kofi Annan, Secretary-General (1997-2006), United Nations