Gillard’s efforts praised
US SECRETARY of State Hillary Clinton has paid tribute to Prime Minister Julia Gillard at a gala function to celebrate the centenary of International Women’s Day.
Ms Gillard was among 700 guests at the function in Washington DC to award ‘‘ women of courage’’.
The function followed a half hour meeting between the Prime Minister and Ms Clinton at the State Department in which they canvassed defence and security issues.
Although not one of the international women of courage award recipients, Australia’s first female prime minister was praised for her work.
‘‘ The Prime Minister is a wonderful partner in our global efforts to advance the important issues that Australia and the United States share in common and in particular, she is focused on improving opportunities for women,’’ Ms Clinton said.
Ms Gillard, who was wearing a scarf given to her by Governor General Quentin Bryce, said the greatest right that could be given to women was the right have an edu- cation.She said some countries still denied girls the opportunity to learn to read.
‘‘ It takes moral courage to learn to read – it’s an adventure for every child, it’s an adventure that never ends,’’ she said.
‘ ‘ There are women and girls around our world who need physical courage in order to get an education . . . and I believe a great symbol of hope for our world is there are women who are now able to read where that basic need was denied to them.’’
Australian aid funding is providing education in Afghanistan’s Oruzgan province where the female literacy rate had been as low as 1 per cent. The president’s wife Michelle Obama, who was a special guest at the event, said she looked forward to visiting Australia one day.
‘‘ Madame Prime Minister, thank you for hanging out with my husband today,’’ she said. The Prime Minister’s final function for the day will be a meeting with John McCain ex-presidential nominee and current member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
TRIBUTE: Julia Gillard meets Secretary of State Hillary Clinton