Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement – Commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

New York, 18/12/2019 - 21:07, UNIQUE ID: 191218_17
Statements on behalf of the EU

18 December 2019, New York - Statement by Mr Silvio Gonzato, Ambassador, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation, at the Commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, UNHQ CR 2

Mr. Chair,

We would like to thank you and all panellists for the inspiring discussion today.

40 years ago, States came together with the clear objective of putting an end to all forms of discrimination against women. Since then, 189 states have ratified the Convention, making it one of the most highly ratified international human rights treaties.

Yet, the recognition and enjoyment of equal rights with men remains elusive for large sections of women around the world. Even with a higher educational level, women earn, on average, a quarter less than men do. More alarming, women and girls remain the first victims of violence. One in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

This anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate the commitments and actions taken in the past 40 years. But it should also serve as a wake-up call. Enough is enough.

Gender equality and non-discrimination are core principles under EU law. They are also priorities of the new EU leadership, which took up duty at the beginning of the month.

On this 40th anniversary, we commit to do more to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and girls in Europe and abroad:

  • First, we want to put an end to the gender pay gap. The European Commission will table measures introducing binding pay transparency in the course of 2020. Pay transparency is a tool to reveal differences in pay between men and women. Combined with other solutions, such as an equal distribution of caring responsibilities between women and men, it can help us tackle the root causes of the gender pay gap. We were proud to support today the adoption by the General Assembly of the Third Committee Resolution on Equal Pay Day and we will continue to promote this principle at the UN.
  • Second, we need to address once and for all violence against women and girls in all its forms. This is why the European Union’s accession to   the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence is one of our highest priorities. We call upon all Member States to do the same. We will continue to mobilise all our resources to tackle violence, based on the example of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative. Through an historic investment of 500M euros, the initiative aims at creating a global movement to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
  • Last, after the new EU Green Deal, we will present a new Gender Equality Deal next year. We have committed in our Strategy on Women, Peace and Security to mainstream gender in all our policies, well beyond security. To that end, the EU will adopt next year a new Gender Equality Strategy, which will promote equality in all aspects of life through concrete measures. We will promote these same principles at the UN, starting with our continuing support for the gender parity and zero-tolerance policies of the Secretary General.

The eradication of all forms of discrimination against women and girls is an overarching objective of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. As we dedicate next year to the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Beijing, we should do all we can, in cooperation with civil society actors and human rights defenders, to highlight best practices and tackle challenges. You can count on the EU's full support.

Thank you.

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