THE HAGUE, 7 March 2013 – Strengthening security and peace in the OSCE area will be impossible without full and equal participation of women in economic, political and social spheres of life, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara said today, speaking ahead of International Women’s Day marked on 8 March.
“Despite the significant progress made towards women empowerment and gender equality, much work remains to be done. We still witness in many countries worldwide that women remain underrepresented in public and social life, discriminatory laws and practices continue to affect women and entire communities. Yet for democracy to function as it is meant to, women’s voices need to be heard.
“Women have proved time and time again that they are builders of peace and tolerance in their own communities; yet they continue to face discrimination, obstacles and even violence,” Minister Kozhara said stressing the need to further implement the 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality and the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security."
The OSCE Chair highlighted the work of his Special Representative on Gender Issues June Zeitlin, along with the ongoing OSCE programmes aimed at stopping gender violence, promoting women’s role in public and political activities as well as their socio-economic empowerment.
“The Ukrainian Chairmanship supports all efforts to advance gender equality and to mainstream a gender perspective into Organization’s activities. We urge all participating States to join forces towards creating an inclusive community, where men and women are equal partners,” Minister Kozhara concluded.
Minister Kozhara is in The Hague for an event marking the 20th anniversary of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities.