DEAD SEA — Her Majesty Queen Rania on Sunday urged women leaders and activists to use their collective will, conscience and experience to turn the tide against the global challenges of girls' access to education and infant and maternal mortality.
Her remarks were made at the opening of a three-day conference entitled "Mobilising for Action," attended by female leaders, politicians, activists, journalists and artists from around the globe.
"Many of us were lucky to be born in societies and circumstances where access to healthcare and education could almost be taken for granted," the Queen told the gathering.
A simple stroke of geographical luck sets our lives on hopeful trajectory, "yet women and children should not have to depend on luck for their shot at future. Life is not a game," she added.
During the event, the Global Women's Action Network for Children was launched to tackle some of "humanity's oldest tragedies: The needless deaths of millions of mothers and babies every year and the wasted potential of tens of millions of girls who are kept out of school," the Queen said.
In February 2004, 35 women from around the world gathered in Bellagio, Italy, to form the network motivated by a vision of a just and equitable world where the needs and rights of women and children are met and assured.
Former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright, one of the five founders of the network, said it was time the world paid attention to women's health and education.
"We are here to serve notice that women and children have been dying needlessly for too long, that every life matters, and that a global network is coming together determined to defend children and save women's lives," Albright said in her address.
Children's Defence Fund President Marian Wright Edelman also spoke during the opening session, saying Jordan was a "model for education reform."
"We want the whole world to know about it and emulate Jordan's example," she told over 1,000 guests at the opening ceremony.
"We cannot succeed in building a powerful and just future for women and children without building strong relationships in the Middle East and we are very glad that Jordan will be a key leader in the region," Edelman added.
Queen Rania and other speakers reminded the audience of the high number of fatalities among pregnant women worldwide.
"These facts are not acts of God. They are our human choices. They can and must be changed. It is women who must lead the way," Edelman stressed.
Addressing participants later in the day, Noble Peace Prize winner Jody Williams said change in societies would be accomplished when people make "serious efforts to make it happen."
"You do not have to be a president, a queen, a minister or a noble peace prize winner to make change. Anyone can do it," said William, who received the award in 1997 for her work on banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines.
"Each of you has the opportunity to make change. So go for it and be a leader of change," she added.