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Denmark in Cross-Regional Statement on the Occasion of International Women’s Day 2018

08.03.2018  10:31

Finland and Mexico sponsored cross-regional statement on International Women's Day at the Human Rights Council

Mr. President,
Today on the International Women’s Day, we have an opportunity to reflect on the achievements as well as remaining challenges related to substantive gender equality. The following remarks are read on behalf of my own delegation and that of Mexico, as well as a cross-regional group of cosponsors. 

Much has been achieved in past years on securing women’s right to participate in decision-making, in ensuring that women and girls can enjoy their right to education, that everyone receives equal pay for work of equal value and in building consensus around zero tolerance to violence.  The #MeToo campaign brought the harassment experienced by women and girls all over the world out of the shadows in which it has thrived. The campaign has made us all question our own attitudes and actions, and the way we treat our fellow human beings.

While we welcome legislative and policy measures, as well as actions shown to be effective in reducing the inequality gaps, we acknowledge that much remains to be done, in particular to address discrimination of women and girls with disabilities.

Women and girls with disabilities are at a heightened risk of violence, exploitation and abuse compared to other women and girls, and too often the aggressors are family members or caregivers. This includes being subject to harmful practices such as infanticide and child marriage and sexual violence.  The right of women with disabilities to enjoy legal capacity on and equal basis with others and making their own decisions with regards to life choices, including those related to sexual and reproductive rights is yet to materialize in full.

The Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities has highlighted that, for women and girls with disabilities, inclusion and gender equality cannot be achieved without addressing their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Exercising these rights entails having access to accurate and quality information and education on an equal basis with others, in accessible formats, including comprehensive sexuality education. The provision of inclusive quality education is a first step to enable everyone to demand their rights and participate in in decision-making processes.

Women and girls are not a homogenous group and in order to ensure that no woman or girl is left behind we need to make the invisible visible – we urgently need statistics and data disaggregated by gender, age and disability. Only by analyzing the particular human rights challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities can we design informed responses that will contribute to more inclusive societies that respect the dignity of all.

I thank you Mr. President