Joint Statement at the occasion of International Women’s Day, 8 March 2021
46th session of the Human Rights Council – March 8th, 2021
Statement at the occasion of International Women’s Day.
Delivered on behalf of Finland, Mexico and 60 States
427 words – 2:30 minutes
Thank you Madam President,
I have the honor to deliver this statement on the occasion of International Women’s Day on behalf of Finland, Mexico and 60 States.
One of the greatest human rights challenges is achieving substantive gender equality. Women and girls frequently face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Women play a key role in the response to the pandemic, providing essential medical care and other services, and keeping communities going while lockdowns are enforced. Women represent 70 percent of the health and social sector workforce globally. While they have mainly received symbolic recognition, this recognition should also be reflected in the reduction of the gender pay gap.
We have to ensure that the additional burdens women and girls carry during this pandemic do not result in increased exposition to violence and discrimination in public and private life, and to disproportionate increase in unpaid care and home schooling. Women and girls’ rights must continue to be protected, and not enough attention and resources are being directed to address these problems.
Women and girls have faced a roll back on human rights in general and on sexual and reproductive health and rights in particular. In the midst of the crisis, sexual and reproductive health services remain essential, and should be part of national plans dealing with the COVID pandemic.
During these challenging times, feminist movements and organisations have remained active and vocal, online and offline, dismantling patriarchal systems and their manifestations, such as gender-based violence and discrimination.. Today we salute and pay respect to all the courageous feminist movements, organisations and women human rights defenders around the world. We do see you and stand with you.
It is essential to guarantee women and girls’ meaningful participation and leadership in responding to the pandemic. We welcome that this year the Commission on the Status of Women’s priority theme is women's full and effective participation and decision-making in public life. The only effective response to the pandemic is one that has a gender perspective and facilitates a gender-responsive recovery. In this spirit, we commend the organization of the Generation Equality Forum this year, convened by UN-Women and co-chaired by France and Mexico.
There is an urgent need to accelerate the promotion and protection of all women and girls’ rights. This crisis is an opportunity to address historical and structural inequalities and shortcomings that continue to hold women and girls back, and to re-imagine and transform societies. The Human Rights Council must be a space where all feminist voices can mobilize action and political will to achieve irreversible gender equality.
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- United Kingdom
- United States