House of Lords, UK
Respected Baroness Verma, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to have this opportunity here in the Houses of Parliament to offer a few words of greeting at this special programme in celebration of the International Women’s Day. Although the actual date is on 8th March, we are encouraged to dedicate the whole month of March giving special attention to promote and support women’s welfare.
The title for this year’s event is, Connecting Girls: Inspiring Futures. I think this is a very appropriate title as we need to look to the future and work together for the betterment of women. I am also pleased to see women of a younger generation participating here, both as speakers as well as attending the programme.
I also think this year’s celebration of International Women’s Day takes on special significance here in the United Kingdom. We will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the ascension of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne. She has become one of the world’s most admired women and has been like a symbol of stability in a fast-changing world.
Throughout history women have suffered from discrimination and injustice and, even in the more developed nations, it is relatively recently that they were given voting rights. Since then, through the persistent efforts of many women, they have taken their rightful place in society. What is it that women can offer to the world? Besides their skills and education and increasing experiences of leadership, women have a unique ability to understand the feelings of others. This springs from their innate ability to sympathise with others, based on their maternal heart.
While we may think that leadership is all about administrative skills and the exercise of power; in truth, the ability to understand others and to touch people’s hearts, can be far more effective in improving our world. The Founder of the Women’s Federation for World Peace, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon refers to this as the ‘logic of love,’ as opposed to ‘the logic of power.’
This year we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the founding of WFWP. In her inaugural speech in April 1992, Dr. Moon emphasized the three important roles of women: to become a true daughter of God, a true wife and a true mother. Before she is someone’s daughter, sister, wife or mother a woman has the priceless value of being a daughter of God. It is on this basis that she becomes the centre of love in the family allowing her to demonstrate an extraordinary level of devotion and self-sacrifice, thus creating an environment in which children can grow to become the future leaders of society.
When a woman enters public life with these qualities she brings with her the ability to understand the feelings of others and a very practical approach to problem-solving. Research suggests that women in public life tend to be more honest and are therefore trusted more. As women we can make great strides if we employ our deepest qualities to influence changes in our society.
Every day we hear of the conflicts throughout the world and wonder if there is any way that we can achieve peace. It is my firm conviction that there will be a greater chance of peace if more women become involved in leadership roles dealing with world affairs. Using their ‘logic of love’ I believe women can open hearts and doors which have remained closed for centuries and can bring a new perspective to the world.
I hope that all of us sisters here today can be proud of our God-given abilities and go with confidence into the world and really make a difference. I especially want to encourage the younger generation of women amongst us to make every effort to prepare yourselves for leadership roles in the future. This world badly needs the woman’s touch to solve the many painful conflicts which our world is facing.
My dear sisters (and brothers), I want to express my thanks to those who have helped to put this programme together. I hope that our discussions during this meeting will serve as the basis of our fruitful working together in the future. Thank you for your taking time out of your busy schedules to be here with us this evening.
May God bless you and your families.