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Joint Statement on International Women's Day

08.03.2016  13:21

Mr. President,
I am honoured to deliver this statement to mark International Women’s Day on behalf of Canada and 116 additional States.

Today, we celebrate the many achievements of women and girls around the world, and
reflect on the challenges that remain.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development commits us to achieving gender
equality and empowering all women and girls by 2030. We pledged to break the cycle of
human rights violations and abuses, violence, and discrimination that plague women
and girls around the world. There are concrete steps that need to be taken to get us to
this goal.

Empowerment is about more than breaking barriers. Empowerment is about
recognizing that when women and girls, men and boys enjoy equal rights and
opportunities and have a voice, society benefits as a whole.
Empowerment means full and effective political participation: more women voting,
seeking office, taking leadership roles, and participating meaningfully in spaces where
they can shape public policy and decision making.

It means quality education and decent jobs – in all professions, and equal pay. It means
making informed decisions about one's own life. It also means recognizing the
importance of unpaid work in the home, in caring for children, the elderly and other
dependent family members, and in communities. And it means achieving an equal
distribution of this work between men and women.
Empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to
building stronger economies, achieving internationally agreed goals for development
and sustainability, and improving the quality of life for women, men, families and

As we face the consequences of devastating humanitarian crises and conflicts around
the world, we need more women in all aspects of conflict prevention and resolution,
peacekeeping and peacebuilding—Not as token participants, but as meaningful
contributors and leaders. This is not just because this is the right thing to do; it is the
strategic thing to do. The data is clear: when women – 50% of the population – are
included in a peace process, the likelihood of the agreement lasting increases. If we
want to end the cycle of conflict and build sustainable peace, it is essential that women
be at the table.

On this International Women’s Day, we pay tribute to women and girls who put their
own safety at risk to defend human rights and work towards peace and security. They
face adversity with courage and determination, which continues to inspire us in our
commitment to achieve gender equality by 2030.