OSCE parliamentarians celebrate women in leadership on International Women’s Day

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8 March 2021 – Marking the 110th International Women’s Day, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly leaders today celebrated the efforts of women and girls around the world in building a future that ensures equal rights for all. The parliamentarians noted that women play an essential role in in peace building and conflict prevention in the OSCE area, and have been instrumental in promoting recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. To realize true peace and prosperity, societies must continue to work toward full equality between the genders, they said.

“Throughout the OSCE area, women have been at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said OSCE PA President Peter Lord Bowness. “This has not only further underlined the disproportionate burden that women carry in our societies, but it has also highlighted how female leadership can make a real difference. As we progress towards recovery, it is therefore essential that we continue to empower women for the greater benefit of our communities.”

Several OSCE PA women leaders issued video statements to mark the occasion, including Special Representative on Gender Issues Hedy Fry (Canada), Vice-President and Rapporteur of the human rights committee Kari Henriksen (Norway), economic and environmental committee Rapporteur Elona Gjebrea Hoxha, and Special Representative on Eastern Europe Daniela De Ridder. (The videos are available on the OSCE PA’s YouTube and Twitter pages.)

“On International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate women leaders in peace building and conflict prevention efforts in the OSCE region and beyond,” said Special Representative Fry. “With women’s participation, peace efforts are more successful, yet women accounted for only 3 per cent of mediators, 4 per cent of signatories, and 13 per cent of negotiators from 1992 to 2018. Women should be equal participants, and all women – of different ages, ethnicities, and citizenship status – should be included.”

In an address to the OSCE PA’s 20th Winter Meeting on 25 February, Fry applauded the fact that the OSCE has moved closer to gender equality with many of its leadership roles now filled by women. Helga Schmid, she noted, is the OSCE’s new Secretary General, and the first woman to hold this post. In addition, Teresa Ribeiro is the new Representative on Freedom of the Media, and Ann Linde, Sweden’s Foreign Minister, is the new OSCE Chairperson-in-Office.

The theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”



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