Disaggregated data collection, gender-related surveys and awareness-raising campaigns
To stop that abuse meant ending harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation and early and forced marriage. She commended countries and regional bodies that had liberalized their legislation, in particular the African Union, which had shown great leadership in establishing a women’s rights instrument that included access to medical abortion.
Human rights for women was the basis for peace and in that regard, the international community should intensify its actions. Progress was a universal challenge that called for close cooperation among all actors. Stressing the importance of raising awareness, she said the prevalence of stereotypical attitudes and social norms and practices that promoted violence against women, including through social media, must be stopped. Education needed to promote gender equality, she said, adding that access to quality education was the main tool to empower women and girls and could also create more versatile labor markets. The rapid development of digitalization could bring positive effects and offer classes online where more students could be taught at the same time, including in remote rural areas.
SERGIY USTYMENKO (Ukraine) said the problem of women in times of armed conflict remained a vital issue for the international community. Stressing the importance of protection of women’s rights during and after conflict, he said the annexation of Crimea had resulted in a horrifying increase in human rights violations. Women and children had been disproportionately affected by military intervention in Ukraine, where they accounted for more than 60 per cent of internally displaced persons. Additionally, there was no sufficient monitoring facility to register the real scale of the humanitarian disaster in the uncontrolled territory. While Ukrainian women were serving as military medical personnel and volunteers, they were underrepresented in formal peace negotiations and policymaking processes. Stressing that women were powerful peace builders, he expressed hope that the international community would take more effective steps to prevent armed conflict in the future.
STEPHAN TAFROV (Bulgaria) said much bolder policies were needed in order to make a significant difference in the lives of women and girls. His country’s Constitution favored equality before the law. Women and men enjoyed equal economic, civic, social and political rights. The country’s legislation was in line with its international obligations with respect to human rights. The Government had constantly endeavored to improve national policies in gender equality. In addition, European norms in gender equality had been made part of national legislation and strategic policies to improve the status of women. The Government had set up an interministerial committee on the rights of women, and adopted a plan of action to accelerate implementation of gender-equality policies. The gender dimension had been mainstreamed into all aspects of society and was present in all policies and programs.