European External Action Service

10/03/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/03/2023 15:03

EU Statement – UN General Assembly 3rd Committee: Advancement of Women

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Madam/Mr Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate CountriesNorth Macedonia*,Montenegro*,Serbia*,Albania*,Ukraine,the Republic of Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina*,the potential candidate country Georgia,as well asMonaco and San Marinoalign themselves with this statement.

Reaching gender equality and ensuring women's and girls' - half of the global population's - full and equal enjoyment of human rights are shared goals for all of us, for the Member States of the European Union, but also globally.

Adopting the CEDAW Convention at the General Assembly session 44 years ago is one important milestone. As was the unanimous adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995, as well as the first UN Security Council Resolution on Women, Peace and Security in 2000, and the various follow-up resolutions that today form the WPS agenda.

Throughout these past decades we have worked together to ensure that our national legislations meet the standards set by this, and many other international conventions. We have held each other accountable, civil society within our countries have held us accountable, and we are pleased to note the progress made in a number of areas.

The representation of women in leadership positions has increased. In fact, this year the number of women in political decision making positions reached its all-time high. A number of states have provided stronger protections through legislative reviews and new initiatives to eliminate gender-based violence, including domestic violence. One such initiative is the Central Asian Alliance to End Gender-Based Violence that, launched earlier this summer in co-operation with the European Union. Depending on where they live, women and girls may have better access to quality and inclusive education, social and healthcare services than they did a year ago, or five years ago.

However, these advancements do not apply consistently to everyone. We are witnessing a severe backlash against gender equality, with regressions in the enjoyment of their right to education, and participation in public and political life. This backlash happens also digitally. We see proliferated levels of online gender based violence and widening gender digital divide. Women continue to be disproportionately responsible for unpaid domestic work, this limiting their economic opportunities. Discrimination of women in the labour markets, and their overrepresentation in the informal sectors is persistent.

In large parts of this world, women of various ethnic or religious backgrounds and women with disabilities are excluded from social and economic opportunities. Despite strong commitments, progress towards the SDGs at global level has proven insufficient so far. At this critical midpoint, noneof the indicators on SDG5 on gender equality are met or almost met. The SDG Summit in 2023 provides an opportunity for the global community to review the state of progress towards the SDGs and regain political momentum to accelerate the delivery. Progress on SDG5 is critical for overall progress on the 2030 Agenda as is progress towards the gender-responsive targets systematically included across all SDGs.

Women and girls are still disproportionally affected by poverty. We are less than six months away from the sixty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women which will tackle this important issue, and as such, this is a particularly opportune time to recall how systems of inequality intersect with each other, and that discrimination against women is further exacerbated by gender pay gap, poverty, climate change or authoritarian political regimes. We need to contextualise our efforts for gender equality.

Gender equality is a fundamental principle and a political priority that must be integrated into all policies and actions. Furthermore, it is also a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. In fact, the EU insists that gender equality be firmly placed at the heart of global security and political discussions, and addressed amidst the geopolitical developments and new security challenges.

Over the past year, the European Union has made significant strides towards promoting the empowerment and full, equal and meaningful participation of all women and girls in all spheres of life, just to mention the Women on Boards Directive.

The EU has consistently been advancing the implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security agenda, with increased funding for projects aimed at empowering women in conflict prevention, peace negotiations, and post-conflict recovery. As long as conflicts persist, more needs to be done. Hence, we remain committed to addressing the unique challenges faced by women in conflict and post-conflict situations, including through increased access to justice, psychosocial support, and economic opportunities.

There is not a single argument why- for the same type of work - a woman should be paid less than a man. We have continued to work towards closing the gender pay gap, supporting women entrepreneurs, and enhancing women's access to economic opportunities, including in traditionally male-dominated sectors. Recognizing the pivotal role of education in advancing women and girls' rights, we have continued to promote equal access to quality and inclusive education and training, especially in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Madam/Mr Chair,

The EU will continue to act as a global leader in respecting, protecting and fulfilling of human rights, promoting gender equality, and the rule of law and will stand up against any attempt to backtrack on women and girls' rights or the principle that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated.

The EU is committed to achieving all SDGs by 2030, to making the principle of "leaving no one behind" a reality, everywhere. We're proud of the increase in women's representation in key leadership roles in the EU, but will not stop here. Hence, we will continue to support initiatives that enhance women's voice and access to decision-makingin political, economic, and social spheres.

We reaffirm our commitment to the respect, protection and fulfilment of the right of every individual to have full control over, and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality and sexual and reproductive health, free from discrimination, coercion and violence. We will continue to allocate funding to ensure affordable and comprehensive healthcare services, including family planning and reproductive care.

Achieving gender equality is a continuous process that requires sustained efforts, collaboration, and international solidarity. We reiterate our commitment to working with all partners, including Member States, civil society, and international organizations, to create a world where all women and girls, can fully enjoy their human rights and contribute to the betterment of society where everyone can thrive and reach their fullest potential.Here, we highlight the crucial role that men and boys can play as allies, as well as beneficiaries for gender equality.

A woman wrote the code that took humanity to the moon in 1969. Gender equality and women's empowerment is a launchpad to a more safe, secure, equal and just world. We can change the trajectory of the current course rather easily - it is not rocket science. Let us start with more women steering the ship.

Thank you.

*North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.