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PES Women President’s blog

PES Women in New York to discuss the status of Women

I am here in the “Big Apple” to participate in the 54th session of the Commission of the United Nations on the status of Women, which is also celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Beijing Platform. It is time to asses the progress achieved these last years.

The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the cold is crispy. This session of the Commission on the status of Women is opening under the best auspices.

Prior to the opening, I started the day by a meeting with the FEMM Delegation of the European Parliament and Vivianne Reding, European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, who invited us at the Permanent Representation of the European Union to the United Nations. Unfortunately, this meeting was very disappointing. Indeed, the Commissioner mentioned the project of a European Women’s rights Charter reducing it to a weak solemn text to include to a European Commission Declaration on Beijing+15. She doesn’t seem to grasp the importance of such a Charter for gender equality: she just wants to write an inventory of what has been done so far in this field by the EU. Our ambitions for this Charter are much higher: see our press release published today.

Britta Thomson, Zita Gurmai

At ten o’clock, I joined the socialist European Ministers of gender equality and delegations from all the parts of the world in the United Nations headquarters to attend the high-level plenary review of Beijing+15. Speeches made it clear: everybody agrees the need to pursue the actions of the Beijing Platform further and the need to invest more in the Millennium Development Goals. However the Declaration is unconvincing partly because it doesn’t mention the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR), even if the Maternal Health issue is raised several times.

If we want to improve progressive societies, gender equality is essential. The prosperity of the society depends a lot on equality between women and men. This is not only a question of Women’s rights here. This is a question of development and socio-economic progress.

At the end of the day, Spain, Portugal and Austria gave a presentation of their ambitious and successful gender mechanisms such as gender budgeting or gender measuring. These policies, implemented with great success are inspiring examples of how we can achieve progress in our modern societies.

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