"When Chrystia and I had this idea, it was first and foremost because we realised, through our daily work, what a special contribution women bring to foreign policy, to peace negotiations, to national reconciliation processes. For this reason, during Montreal’s meeting we discussed the main international crises, from Syria to Ukraine, not only among Foreign Ministers but inviting other women who work to solve conflicts: we want to support them in their difficult – yet vital – work," wrote Federica Mogherini on her blog following the meeting.
"But we also decided to hold this meeting to tell our stories to girls and women all around the world: we wanted to show that there are no jobs “for men only”, and that every girl has the right to do anything she wants with her life. We will continue to work together, in the coming weeks and with a new meeting next year."
High Representative Mogherini reiterated this desire to showcase the role and perspectives of women in her remarks following the meeting:
“The reason why, with Chrystia Freeland, we have convened this first meeting of women Foreign Ministers is because women are generally perceived as victims: victims of conflict, victims of violence. And, indeed, they are in many parts of the world - everywhere the world. But they are also key players in society, in the economy, in institutions, in foreign policy, in defence and many other issues. So we wanted to start showing the “new normal": many women in power, taking responsibility for decisions.
"While representing diverse societies and perspectives, we all agreed that women’s political and economic empowerment is critical to building a more prosperous, inclusive and safer world," the High Representative said.
Together, High Representative/Vice President Mogherini and Minister Freeland co-chaired the meeting of foreign ministers in Montréal on September 21 and 22 to identify innovative ways to jointly address crucial foreign policy challenges and to enhance dialogue and cooperation in support of democracy, human rights and global peace and security.
Women foreign ministers highlighted the benefits that come from integrating a gender perspective in approaches to foreign and security policies, and from their shared desire to promote the meaningful participation of women at all levels of decision making and leadership. Women foreign ministers pledged to continue to leverage their formal positions as foreign ministers, and their visibility, to expand the global commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
They discussed how everyone, regardless of their gender, must be able to contribute to and benefit equally from political, economic, social and cultural life. The foreign ministers demonstrated a commitment to take an active approach to advancing this shared vision, and discussed a number of strategies they are already pursuing to advance these objectives.
A recurrent theme was their strong commitment to collaboratively reinforce and reform the rules-based international order so that it can best respond to the multiple challenges their countries and citizens face and effectively advance democracy, human rights, peace and human development around the world. Their discussions were enhanced by the diversity of perspectives that were brought to bear.
Women foreign ministers pledged to work together to reiterate their common position and shared values, and to advocate together for the consolidation of strong democracies, which are indispensable in order to ensure peace, security, more resilient societies and sustainable development. They also pledged to continue to work with their colleagues to build a network of governments and civil society organizations to advance gender equality and women’s rights, and to work toward implementing existing commitments.