President Bush's wife Laura was among the dignitaries at a United Nations observance of International Women's Day today (Friday), focusing on the plight of girls and women in Afghanistan.
Speaking in New York, Mrs. Bush argued that education is the most important long-term investment in the future. She pointed to a recent program that provides children in Afghanistan with books, saying the combination of books and education provide youngsters with the ability to imagine a future of opportunity, equality, and justice.
International efforts have been launched under Afghanistan's interim government to give women jobs, send girls to school, and include women in key government positions. U-N figures say that under the previous Taleban rule, only about three percent of Afghan girls received some form of primary education.
Other speakers at the U-N Women's Day event include Queen Noor of Jordan and Sima Wali, a delegate to U-N peace talks on Afghanistan and chief organizer of the Afghan Women's Summit for Democracy.