International Women’s Day – gender equality and women’s empowerment critical to success of future development framework


(Brussels, 08/03/2013) Gender inequality poses a serious threat towards progress on the Millennium Development Goals, warns CONCORD, the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs on International Women’s Day.


The European Commission recently proposed that a greater emphasis should be placed on the promotion and protection of women’s and girls’ rights and gender equality in its Communication on the future development framework post-2015.
For CONCORD, gender issues must be at the centre of poverty eradication efforts.
Education crucial
“Girls education is critical to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. We know that girls who receive a quality basic education are more likely to marry later, have fewer, healthier children, and earn more. Quality basic education can have a transformational effect on girls, making them drivers of lasting change in their families, communities and countries.” Says Karen Schroh, Head of Plan EU Office.
Gender based violence overlooked
“Gender Based Violence is one of the most pervasive and yet dramatically under-addressed human rights abuses in the world. Disturbingly, one billion women will be victims of sexual violence in their lifetime, with widespread consequences for individuals, families, communities and economies. We call on the EU to use their international power to shape the post-2015 development agenda to prioritise the elimination of sexual and gender-based violence.” says Ester Asin Martinez, EU Representative at CARE International.
Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights fundamental
“Gender equality will only be possible when every woman and every man will be enabled to make informed choices about their body, sexuality, health, marriage and whether or not to have children, and when, and how many. When women and girls are empowered and have access to their Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, they will be able to take control of their lives. It is now the moment to work together towards a rights-based framework that puts women and girls front and center in its development.” says Eef Wuyts, International Advocacy Manager at the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network:
Future development framework
CONCORD believes the new post-2015 development framework can act as a catalyst for progress on gender equality, but for it to be successful and truly transformational, gender equality must be both mainstreamed as well as addressed in a specific goal. It must also be tackled holistically, which means covering all spheres of life, from social issues such as health and education to economic empowerment, political participation, and the power to take their own decisions about their lives. It must also directly address the issue of violence against women and girls, which remains one of the biggest barriers to achieving gender equality.
Notes to editors
  1. The EU announced that 90% of its citizens believe gender equality improves the way societies function and that all aid programmes should take specific account of women’s rights, according to a Eurobarometer survey published on 7 March.
  2. The threat to progress is affected by the ongoing global recession, with a decrease in primary school completion for girls and increased risks for infant mortality, research by Plan and ODI shows.