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Friday, May 14, 2021

Kamala Harris to MEPs: ‘Build a world that works for women’

Kamala Harris, the first U.S. female vice president, urged European leaders on Monday to “build a world that works for women” as she addressed the European Parliament to mark International Women’s Day.

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Speaking from a reading desk in Washington, D.C., Harris paid tribute to all the women who have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic, including scientists, military members, “entrepreneurs” and “government leaders.”

Yet she noted systemic inequalities that persist for women globally.

“Simply put: Our world does not yet work for women as it should,” Harris said. More work was needed, she argued, to ensure “safety at home and in every community,” including “access to high-quality health care,” “dignity at work” and an “equal voice in decision-making.”

Harris, who is also the first person of color to become U.S. vice president, spoke after another televised address from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and before a speech by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“This is not just an act of goodwill, this is a show of strength,” Harris said. “If we build a world that works for women, our nations will also be safe, stronger and more prosperous.”

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Harris also sang the praises of the European Parliament, mentioning Simone Veil, “this parliament’s first elected president,” and “all the women leaders who sit among you today.” She also congratulated the institution for its “generosity” in deciding last May to turn a Parliament office space — the Helmut Kohl building — into a homeless shelter for women during the COVID-19 lockdown.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WCT staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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