For her first solo event at the White House since becoming first lady, Melania Trump hosted a luncheon in the State Dining Room on Wednesday in honor of International Women's Day.
In her prepared remarks, which were obtained by CNN via Trump's senior adviser Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, the first lady spoke about her experience as an immigrant woman, and how she hopes to fight gender inequality both nationally and globally.
"As an immigrant myself, having grown up in a communist society, I know all too well the value and importance of freedom and equal opportunity - ideals which this great nation was founded and has continued to strive towards throughout its history," she said. "There remains far more brutal and terrifying incarnations of actual gender persecution which we must face together, such as forced enslavement, sexual abuse and absolute repression of far too many women and girls around the globe. We must remember these women in our daily prayers and use our combined resources to help free them from such unthinkable and inhumane circumstances."
The first lady also spoke at length about the importance of education as a way to fight gender inequality.
"I continue to firmly believe that education is the most powerful way to promote and ensure women's rights," she said. "Together we will do this not only by striving for gender parity at all levels of education, but also by showing all children, and especially boys, that it is through empathy, respect and kindness that we achieve our collective potential.
"Together with U.N. Women for Peace Associates, we can educate and reinforce the importance of tolerance and a society filled with inclusivity regardless of race, gender or culture," she continued.
The approximately 50 guests at the event honoring the United Nations-designated holiday included first daughter Ivanka Trump, second lady Karen Pence, White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence also made a brief appearance.
The White House press pool was led out of the room before the first lady began her remarks.
Additional reporting from The Associated Press.
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