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

Statement by European Commission President von der Leyen at the UN General Assembly 25th Anniversary of the 4th World Conference on Women

New York, 01/10/2020 - 15:36, UNIQUE ID: 201001_9
Statements on behalf of the EU

1 October 2020, New York - Statement by H.E. Ms. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, at the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the 4th World Conference on Women

Mr. President,


Ladies and gentlemen,


To commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Beijing Declaration, we are invited to focus on concrete new actions and commitment. Concrete action. Commitment. This is exactly how we progress in this field.

As President of the European Commission, I took the commitment to have full gender equality in my College of Commissioners. It took some time and effort. But as I am speaking before you, the last candidate to a fully gender-balanced College is undergoing the vetting procedure before the European Parliament. I hope we will soon be as many men and women.

Just like in our society. I am a strong believer in the power of diversity. We can only reach our full potential if we use all our talents and diversity. In business, politics and society as a whole. Using only half of the population, half of the ideas or half of the energy is not good enough.

This is why, already in the first hundred days of my mandate. I tabled the Gender Equality Strategy. It sets out a series of key actions for the European Union for the five years to come. Let me make three very concrete points.

First is prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls. A key point of the Beijing Declaration. The European Union already has legislation. But we are reinforcing it. One concrete example: I want the EU to move from the signature of the Istanbul Convention to its accession.

Second is advancement and empowerment of women. Another key point of the Beijing Declaration. Just to give one example: At a time where digitalisation is changing our world, only 17% of people in ICT studies and careers in the EU are women. This cannot be! We need to have women across all areas of work. And not mainly in low paid jobs. I will push for this.

Third is a very concrete issue that matters much for women: equal pay. This principle has been in the European Treaties since the very foundation of our Community in 1957. Yet, there is still a 16 % pay gap in the European Union. I will table binding measures on pay transparency before the end of this year. We need pay transparency, so that women can prove they are underpaid. With pay transparency, they can defend their rights.

Mr. President,


Ladies and gentlemen,

I am well aware that we are quite fortunate in the European Union. From a global perspective, our Union is among the world's leading regions in terms of gender equality. 14 of the top 20 countries worldwide on gender equality are member States of the European Union.

Yet, no Member State has achieved full gender equality yet. Progress is slow. And sometimes even setbacks happen.

There is still much to be done to live up to the commitments of the Beijing Declaration. It took us twenty-five years to achieve what we have today. But we cannot stop here. We need to strive for more, every day, in every country. We owe it to every girl and every woman.

I call on the European States, on our partners. And I call on society to implement further the Beijing Declaration.

You can count on my commitment.

Thank you.