Today, on International Women’s Day, I send my appreciation to all the women and men that work to promote equality in its entirety around the world. It is my continual privilege to have the opportunity to travel across our beautiful country and abroad, and to meet so many remarkable women that are working towards a perpetual improvement of the world around them.

As a global society, we face many unprecedented challenges, and we are only going to be able to confront them if every individual is given a voice. As such, it is of imminent importance that women’s rights are globally enshrined and protected. When women are included in decision-making processes, whether they are political, social, economic, corporate, or in any other capacity, we know that they contribute in a unique and productive way. We must continue to work to get more women in leadership positions across all sectors, including post-conflict reconstruction efforts.

In 1995, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton so eloquently stated that “women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights.” As the Chair for the Senate Human Rights Committee, I strongly agree with this sentiment and am energized when I reflect on the progress that has been made since then. Today is a day to commemorate the strides that have been taken on the path to true equality, but it is also a day to reflect on the road ahead. There is still much to be done by way of women’s empowerment, but I have faith in the course because of the incredible people that I have been so fortunate to meet over the years. I look forward to continue working to protect women’s rights, with old friends and with those new ones to come.

My gratitude extends to all that work tirelessly to continue to move forward. It is not always easy, and it is not always clear if change is coming at an adequate pace, but it is always worth the persistence. Whether through rejecting abject daily sexism, or launching campaigns on behalf of women, woman or man, we all stand together in the goal to improve our societies. Today is a reminder to every woman that they are not alone, they are powerful, and with the right support, they can have a profound impact on their society and the world around them.

I hope you will join me in taking some time today to show your own appreciation for the inspirational women in your life, and I thank you all for your hard work and continual inspiration.

Happy International Women’s Day!