CM in Ottawa 021117Hedy Fry, Christine Muttonen and Christine Moore at the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, 2 Nov. 2017.OTTAWA, 3 November 2017— OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Christine Muttonen (Austria) is in Ottawa where she met yesterday with OSCE PA Special Representative on Gender Issues Hedy Fry (Canada) for discussions on the promotion of women’s leadership in the OSCE, its Parliamentary Assembly and within national parliaments.

President Muttonen noted that the Assembly’s proactive approach has resulted in a significant increase in the OSCE PA of women in leadership positions, with 19 national delegations currently headed by women, as well as a decrease over the years of men-only delegations.

Yet, Muttonen underlined that there is still a long way to go in promoting greater representation of women in the Parliamentary Assembly, including its elected leadership. She expressed appreciation for Fry’s work since being appointed Special Representative in October 2010 to promote equality between men and women, and to incorporate gender issues into all aspects of the Assembly’s work.

“Prioritizing gender equality and mainstreaming a gender perspective is a full-time job that requires ongoing attention and long-term perseverance,” Muttonen said. “The Parliamentary Assembly is grateful to have a Special Representative who is fully committed to the ultimate goal of achieving true gender equality.”

Fry also thanked Muttonen for her leadership and said that she looked forward to carrying on the efforts for gender balance within the OSCE and in public life more broadly. “Throughout the OSCE area, women account for a greater proportion of the population than men, but we remain underrepresented in public life,” Fry said. “This results in real-world imbalances between men and women, and this must change.”

Muttonen, Fry and other members of the Canadian Delegation to the OSCE PA also discussed issues including the prospects for nuclear disarmament and the security implications of climate change, as well as the importance of active Canadian engagement in the OSCE. Another topic of discussion was the Assembly’s recent Autumn Meeting in Andorra, where cybersecurity, climate change and the importance of education as a guarantee of stability were the focus of debate.

While in Ottawa, President Muttonen attended on Thursday a House of Commons session. On Tuesday, the President spoke at an OSCE conference in Washington, D.C., on the topic of the role of parliaments in promoting democratic control of armed and security forces. In her remarks, Muttonen stressed that full implementation of the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security is needed today more than ever, and that parliamentarians can help ensure that this takes place.

“In a time of renewed military tensions and confrontation, democratic control and oversight can contribute to stability and the respect for international and national legal frameworks,” she said.