WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday hailed a draft Senate resolution backing the rights of women in the Arab world as the region is swept by political upheavals.

"Women must be included in every aspect of political and institutional reform, because we know that no government can succeed if half its population is excluded from the process," Clinton said in a statement after the legislation was introduced by Republican Senator Olympia Snowe and 16 other women members of the US Senate.

"I thank Senator Snowe and all the women senators for shining a spotlight on the critical role women continue to play in the dramatic events sweeping North Africa and the Middle East," she said.

"This resolution underscores our current efforts to build capacity for good governance, allow all citizens to participate, and ensure that the human rights of all, including those of women, are respected," Clinton added.

Unrest sweeping the Middle East and North Africa has encompassed Egypt, Libya, Qatar, Syria, Tunisia and various other countries where the ruling powers have either been overthrown following public uprisings or are in danger of being ousted.

Snowe said in a statement that the measure aims to ensure that rights and opportunities for women are not shunted to one side as new governments are formed amid the upheaval in the region.

"Essential to the success and stability of any government is the equal voice and participation of women," the Maine lawmaker said.

"The spirit and devotion exemplified by women in North Africa and the Middle East -- and the ongoing challenges they continue to face -- is both an inspiration to us all and a reminder that discrimination and gender-based violence endures around the world," she said.

"I honor their commitment to ensuring future generations enjoy the guaranteed equality and basic human rights for which they endeavor to this day and remain steadfast in my commitment to these universal liberties."