On October 8, U.S. Embassy Douala Principal Officer Stuart Wilson visited Saker Baptist College in Limbe to celebrate the International Day of the Girl with community members and students. Addressing the school’s 903 female students, Mr. Wilson underscored the United States’ priority for all citizens to promote women’s rights in order to successfully enhance development in all sectors. He was joined by the Embassy Branch Office’s Consular Assistant, Marie Cecil Memgba. Mr. Wilson also toured the campus and met with the college’s U.S. citizen students. See Facebook album of the program: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10156114521635716.1073742096.312546460715&type=3&uploaded=6.
U.S. Embassy Douala Principal Officer Stuart Wilson’s Remarks
International Day of the Girl, Saker Baptist College, Limbe
October 8, 2015
I’m here to talk to you about something very important. This Sunday, the 11th of October, is the International Day of the Girl. So, you might be asking, what is the International Day of the Girl? Well, it’s a very important day.
It’s the day we celebrate the special value girls have in the world.
It’s the day we recognize girls’ rights… the day we make a commitment to stop gender stereotypes… discrimination… violence… and economic inequality.
The International Day of the Girl gives us a chance to think about, how we can work together to gives ourselves a brighter future. So, one of the top priorities of the United States is to promote equal treatment for women and girls.
There’s good reason for this. First of all, it’s the right thing to do. But second of all, gender equality is necessary for our prosperity, our peace, and our security.
A country can’t be great economically, socially, and politically if girls aren’t respected, honored, and treated as equal to males. No nation can advance economically or socially – including the United States – unless it actively welcomes the immense talents and contributions of women.
This is why American President Barack Obama and our American Ambassador here in Cameroon, Michael S. Hoza, have made it a priority to promote the empowerment of women and girls around the world, in America, and here in Cameroon.
In many communities, girls are not treated equally. Two-thirds of the people who can’t read or write are women. Thirty-nine million girls worldwide are not in school.
Many girls and women lack good health care and food. No cultural or social tradition can justify this. It’s not right.
When girls’ lives improve, everyone benefits. When girls are educated, countries are more prosperous.
Think about this – when girls stay in school a year longer than average, they earn 10 to 20 percent more income when they get a job. They’re also more likely to be healthier and enjoy more equality, when they stay in school. When girls thrive, nations thrive. In recent years, a lot has been done to improve the lives of women in the world, but we still have a lot of work to do.
The Day of the Girl gives us a time to stop and think about these important issues. I encourage everyone here to think about ways we can work together to help girls reach their greatest potential. I have a daughter who is now 21 years old. She is studying to be a teacher back in the United States. I am very proud of her.
I want you to have the same opportunities she had. You are all our future. Every one of you. Study hard, dream big, and reach for the stars.
America stands with you as you do so. Thank you!
U.S. Embassy Douala Principal Officer Stuart Wilson joins Embassy Branch Office Consular Assistant Marie Cecil Memgba, College President Miss Stella Matuke Tonge and students at the International Day of the Girl program at the Saker Baptist College in Limbe on October 8, 2015.