WASHINGTON : First Lady Goes East

Hillary Rodham Clinton begins a 14-day trip to Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka on Friday. The First Lady will share her Western view of the role of women while traveling in some of the world's most tradition-bound, male-oriented societies, although most of them have had powerful women in the halls of political power.

Mrs. Clinton will also focus on the topics of children and health on the trip, which is expected to be her most important solo diplomatic foray so far. She will deliver major addresses on social topics in Pakistan and India and will visit self-help organizations for women in the two countries. In Bangladesh, she is scheduled to tour a bank that makes loans to women without collateral.

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