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Obama in India Says Girls Deserve 'Respect and Dignity'

Barack Obama highlighted women's rights as he ended a visit to India on Tuesday, saying gender equality is important if nations are to develop.

NEW DELHI — U.S. President Barack Obama raised the issue of women's rights as he ended a visit to India on Tuesday, saying that if countries wanted to develop effectively, they must educate and empower their daughters as much as their sons. "We know from experience that nations are more successful when their women are successful," said Obama, speaking at a meeting attended mainly by students and broadcast live on local news television stations.

Gender equality has gained greater public attention in India since the notorious gang rape and murder of a young woman on a Delhi bus in December 2012. The crime, which sparked protests across India, spotlighted rising violence against women and has led to broader debate about the discrimination faced by girls and women in areas such as health, education and employment. "As husbands and fathers and brothers, we have to step up because every girl's life matters," the President said. "Every daughter deserves the same chance as our sons, every woman should be able to go about her day, to walk the streets, or ride the bus and be safe and be treated with respect and dignity. She deserves that."


— Reuters