Mar 8, 2021

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden Speech on International Women’s Day Transcript March 8

First Lady Jill Biden Speech on International Women's Day Transcript March 8
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First Lady Dr. Jill Biden gave a speech at the International Women of Courage Awards on March 8, 2021. Read the transcript of her International Women’s Day speech remarks here.

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Jill Biden: (00:02)
Good morning everybody, and thank you Secretary Blinken. Tony, Ambassador Russell, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield, Joe and I have so much respect and admiration for each of you. And to the men and women of this department, we are so grateful for your work. In the past few years, our foreign service officers have seen how fragile and critical diplomacy can be. But the challenges our nation faced only inspired you to fight harder for democracy, universal rights, and the rule of law in all the places you serve. The President and Secretary Blinken are going to make sure that your faith is rewarded. And America will lead because you are forging the way.

Jill Biden: (01:04)
When we hear of the stories of the women we honor today, it’s easy to think of them as mythical heroes or angels among us, perhaps touched by the gods or chosen for greatness. What else could explain such Herculean acts of fortitude and fearlessness? Yes, our awardees today are heroes, but they are also human. They want what we want: comfort, happiness, good meals with friends and family, memories that make them smile long after they’re made. Some of these women have spent their lives fighting for their cause. Others are just starting out on a journey that they didn’t ask for. Some were called to service and some couldn’t escape it. They are fighting for their own lives and for their children. They want to right the wrongs of the past, build a brighter future for everyone. They aren’t immune to fear. No one is. But in the course of their ordinary lives, each woman made an extraordinary choice.

Jill Biden: (02:37)
You see, courage isn’t really found. It doesn’t’ conjure away our doubts. It’s an intentional decision made. It’s the prickle of each possible disaster running the length of your back, but standing to face the unknown anyway. It’s knowing that your feet may falter and choosing to walk forward. It’s hearing the chorus of voices that say that you are not enough, that you will not succeed, and following a single note of hope through the din. These women made an extraordinary choice to persist, to demand justice, to believe that, despite the obstacles and fear that they faced, there is a future worth fighting for. And we have a choice to make too.

Jill Biden: (03:41)
If we have learned anything in this year of sickness and sorrow, it’s that we are all connected to one another, how one deadly breath can move through the world. Poverty and conflict, unrest and uncertainty, these aren’t contained by borders. But we’ve seen how joy can spread too with the music of balcony concerts bringing comfort to people across the world. We’ve seen calls for justice echoing through the streets of cities near and far. And we’ve seen how the things that connect all of us, our love for family and friends, our hope that we will be together soon, transcend language and distance. Diplomacy at its best is a recognition of this connection. that freedom for women in Afghanistan strengthens communities everywhere, that education in Burma creates opportunity far away, that fair elections in Belarus will bolster our own democracy too, justice can only be justice if it’s for all.

Jill Biden: (05:17)
Your fight is our fight, and your courage calls us to come together again and again and again. My husband understands that we can’t do this alone. The United States will stand with you. We will make the choice to lead, to be bold, and to lift up women and girls everywhere who light our way. For 15 years, we have honored women around the world who have made the extraordinary choice to fight for something bigger than themselves. Today, we re-commit to being worthy of that courage, to understanding that our lives are tied together in immeasurable and powerful ways. And by choosing every day to honor that connection, we will stand with you as we build a brighter future for us all. Thank you.