Queen Elizabeth II celebrated the role of women in private and public life across the world in a message marking Commonwealth Day on Monday.
The queen focused her annual address on the importance of women as "agents of change," highlighting their contribution in every walk of life and calling on people to think of ways to provide support to girls and women so they could lead fuller lives.
"This year, the Commonwealth reflects on what more could be achieved if women were able to play an even larger role," the monarch, who heads the loose association of 54 countries, said in a prerecorded address.
The queen said she was encouraged by the Commonwealth's recent efforts to train and support half a million midwives worldwide. She also celebrated the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, saying it has grown from humble beginnings to a widely used way of recognizing women's achievements around the world.
The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, will join singer and campaigner Annie Lennox and Zambian-born economist Dambisa Moyo at a service to commemorate the Commonwealth at Westminster Abbey on Monday.