Supporting women’s rights a year-round responsibility – Norway’s Envoy
The Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Trine Jøranli Eskedal gave the keynote address at the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka event organised to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021. The theme of the discussion was the `Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on women and Gender Equality.’
In her speech, the Ambassador stated that supporting women’s rights and celebrating women’s success is a year-round responsibility. On Women’s Day, it’s even more important to take a stand for women’s equality this year more than ever.
She said, “In 1995 over 30,000 women from 200 countries attended the Fourth World Conference on Women in China, where the Platform for Action, an agenda for women’s rights and empowerment, was created. At that historic convening, 68 countries made commitments to recognising women’s rights as human rights. Women’s political, social and economic empowerment is also at the heart of the global goals for sustainable development, a global agenda to end poverty by 2030, unanimously adopted today by the 193 Member States of the United Nations. What all this tells us is that gender equality is smart economics, and realising the potential of both halves of the population is crucial to achieving a country’s development goals.”
“We are currently in the middle of a devastating pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives and is continuing to affected people across the world. The Covid-19 is harming health, social and economic well-being of the world’s population and women and girls are harder hit than men and boys. The pandemic has the potential to reverse our progress towards the sustainable development goals and in particular, reverse the progress made, to date, on achieving gender equality for women and girls.
“Pandemics and crises affect girls, boys, women and men in different ways and can contribute to deepen existing inequalities. Today nearly 60 per cent of women in the world work in the informal economy - earning less, saving less and as businesses close down due to the pandemic, millions of women are losing their jobs and will be slower to re-enter the workforce once the economies open up again,” she said.
“We don’t need to draw any conclusions on women and men leaders in this context, but what we must recognise is that countries respecting human rights, and thus women’s rights, where women are able to reach leadership positions and be equal participants in decision-making processes, will be the best able to manage any crisis and ensure sustainable recovery and economic growth for all,” she added.