During a trade visit to China and Hong Kong, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first female First Minister, delivered a speech urging China to do more to promote gender equality and women’s rights. In her remarks in Beijing, she said gender equality could help transform the global economy, referencing Hillary Clinton’s landmark “women’s rights are human rights” speech made in that same city 20 years ago. Sturgeon described gender equality as one of the great economic opportunities of the twenty-first century, saying: ”There are currently well over two billion working age women across the world. But there is virtually no country, on any continent, where women have equal economic opportunities to men. For virtually every nation, fully empowering women is probably the single simplest way, in which they can sustainably increase their productive potential.” Amnesty International, which has accused the Chinese government of a crackdown on human rights activists and women’s groups in recent months, praised the Scottish first minister for her “significant statement.”
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