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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.

Madam President,

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.

Thank you.


  1. Albania
  2. Andorra
  3. Argentina
  4. Armenia
  5. Australia
  6. Austria
  7. Belgium
  8. Botswana
  9. Bulgaria
  10. Canada
  11. Chile
  12. Colombia
  13. Costa Rica
  14. Croatia
  15. Cyprus
  16. Czech Republic
  17. Denmark
  18. Ecuador
  19. Estonia
  20. Fiji
  21. Finland
  22. France
  23. Germany
  24. Georgia
  25. Greece
  26. Iceland
  27. Ireland
  28. Israel
  29. Italy
  30. Japan
  31. Kazakhstan
  32. Latvia
  33. Liechtenstein
  34. Lithuania
  35. Luxembourg
  36. Malaysia
  37. Malta
  38. Mexico
  39. Moldova
  40. Monaco
  41. Montenegro
  42. Nepal
  43. Netherlands
  44. New Zealand
  45. North Macedonia
  46. Norway
  47. Palestine
  48. Panama
  49. Peru
  50. Philippines
  51. Portugal
  52. Romania
  53. Slovakia
  54. Slovenia
  55. Spain
  56. Sweden
  57. Switzerland
  58. Thailand
  59. Ukraine
  60. United Kingdom
  61. United States
  62. Uruguay
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