The Vatican´s position was expressed by Joan McGrath-Triulzi on Thursday to a special U.N. committee in New York.
The meeting was analyzing the conclusions of the 1995 World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, and last year´s General Assembly on "Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the 21st Century."
In face of the new challenges of globalization, the Vatican representative affirmed that "recognition of the dignity of the human person, especially women and girls, must be the starting point in fostering authentic human development."
In fact, "a form of globalization that ignores the inherent dignity of women and especially the special contribution they make to their family and society, will certainly reduce them to an object of solely economic means," McGrath-Triulzi emphasized.
"Secondly, to facilitate their contribution to the architecture of a better world, the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls must be protected so that they will benefit from globalization," she stressed.
The above requires "respect for the right to freely enter into marriage and raise a family, to seek employment and just wages, and to be protected from abuse and exploitation," all of which are "a prerequisite to women´s contribution to economic development," McGrath-Triulzi continued.
On behalf of the Holy See, the speaker pointed out the priority of "investment in basic social services" as "the bedrock for women´s well-being and economic development."
"To be actors in the changing economy, women need to be physically and mentally healthy, and possess marketable skills," she said. "It is imperative, then, that the education and health of girls and women be a priority in development programs."