Member State commitments

Afghanistan commits to implement anti-violence law and national action plan

Afghanistan commits to gender equality and women’s empowerment by protecting constitutional rights and conducting comprehensive reforms in security, legal and judicial institutions to fight impunity. It will take action to fully implement the Law on Elimination of All Forms of Violence against Women, the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan and commitments under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said: “We welcome the fact that the post-2015 development agenda contains a stand-alone goal on achieving gender equality, strengthening women’s role in society, and in ensuring that their rights are protected. Afghanistan will do its part to reach the goals set for 2030.” [Speech]

Albania vows to include more women in decision-making and the labour market

Promising the effective engagement of all institutions responsible for taking action on gender equality and women’s empowerment, Albania vows to take action on women’s economic empowerment, ending violence against women, and increasing their role in decision-making. This will include increasing and improving women’s access to credit, and promoting and expanding employment programmes for women and girls, towards upping the participation of women in labour markets. The country will take steps to prevent and reduce violence against women, and eliminate gender discrimination in education and health services and in the media. Stronger legal and institutional mechanisms will seek to better protect women’s rights, and improved monitoring and evaluation mechanisms will keep progress towards gender equality on track. Efforts to increase the number of women in decision-making will cover central and local positions across public administration, including the police and armed forces. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Edi Rama said: “The Government that I lead has placed gender equality at the centre of its agenda.”

Algeria commits to ongoing efforts to promote peace and tolerance and implement strategies to improve women’s status

Outlining progress made over the past 20 years, in social, economic and political spheres, Algeria highlights recent gains such as the adoption of a Working Woman’s Charter which aims to reconcile family and professional obligations and the participation of women in company management bodies as well as their representation in trade unions. … The National Peace and Reconciliation Charter was adopted on 29 September 2005, as a result of a referendum. In this area, the efforts of the Government and the people are both ongoing and resolute. They are based on the policy of de-radicalization which consists essentially of promoting the civilizing values of peace, concord and tolerance. … Just like in Beijing 20 years ago, my country joins in the commitment of the international community to continue to work for the promotion of women’s rights and to implement strategies which aim to improve their status. [Commitment statement: en | ar | fr]

Angola commits to the empowerment of women and gender equality, the dignity of families and the advancement of women

The policy measures under the National Development Plan aim to promote the full realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for men and women, promote all equal-opportunity aspects in employment policies, including reducing occupational segregation and helping reconcile work and family life, as well as counter the persistent under-representation of women in all decision-making spheres, promote equal access and full enjoyment of social rights for men and women, eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2017 and at other educational levels by 2025, promote equality in civic life and contribute to change gender roles and stereotypes. In compliance with its international commitments, namely CEDAW, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights regarding the Rights of Women in Africa, the SADC Gender and Development Protocol, the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, to which Angola is a party, the Angolan Executive Branch has adopted policies to support gender issues and the advancement of women, as well as to support victims of violence, to give due recognition to families, to develop communities and promote rural women. The country’s Head of State also mandated a review of plans and policies related to the percentage of representation of women at all levels to increase it to at least 40 per cent, and has launched national campaigns to prevent violence and traditional practices that violate the rights of women and girls.  [Commitment statement]

Argentina pledges to break cultural barriers, end prejudice

Argentina commits to sustain its active programmes and policies for social inclusion. It will use its gender equality laws to protect women and do more to increase their access to political decision-making. Argentina will seek to break cultural barriers that assign women inferior roles, and aim to empower women not only as a matter of obligation under conventions or international treaties, but through a deep conviction that it is time to end taboos and prejudice. Argentina equally pledges to ensure that its current high degree of equality will be extended to youth and other sectors of society. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Cristina Fernández said: “We need to break cultural barriers that have considered women as lesser beings. Policies must be aimed at [transforming] cultures.”

Armenia commits to implement a law on equal rights and opportunities and sign the Istanbul Convention

The steps undertaken by the Republic of Armenia to ensure equal participation of women in political and public life include changes made in the Electoral Code in 2011 incorporating gender-sensitive quotas, and the adoption of a “Law on equal rights and equal opportunities for women and men” in 2013, which ensures equality between women and men in all areas and provides legal protection against discrimination. Armenia commits to ensure the effective implementation of its Law on equal rights and equal opportunities and to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (also known as the Istanbul Convention). [Commitment statement]

Australia makes new commitments internationally and at home to empower women and girls

In this anniversary year [of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action] and to progress the 2030 Agenda, Australia is making new commitments both internationally and at home to empower women and girls. Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs has launched a new Gender Equality Fund. This Fund will accelerate support for gender equality in our overseas development program with a focus on women’s economic and leadership participation and addressing violence against women. Australia will confront record levels of homicide of women, and domestic and family violence, committing new funds for frontline services, support for women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who are experiencing violence, and primary prevention initiatives to change the attitudes of young people towards violence against women and their children. To increase women’s workforce participation, responding to G20 commitments of 2014, Australia is providing new financial literacy projects for women, improved assistance for child care and small business reforms that will deliver new opportunities for women in the workforce. [Commitment statement]

Austria promises to reduce gender pay gaps, encourage women candidates and board members

Vowing to tackle gender stereotypes, Austria will expand gender-sensitive vocational orientation and educational guidance, and encourage women in science and technology. Ongoing implementation of the National Action Plan on Gender Equality in the Labour Market will address the high gender pay gap and strengthen income transparency. Other actions will aim to reconcile family work, for women and men, and extend child-care facilities. Intensified mentoring and training programmes will encourage women to stand for elections on all political levels, while women’s roles in company management and board positions will also be promoted. Austria will continue measures to prevent and protect women and girls from all forms of violence. Internationally, it remains committed to the work of UN Women, and will back activities in the fields of women, peace and security, violence against women and access to justice. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Heinz Fischer said: “This new political impetus will reinvigorate and streamline our efforts to promote women’s and girls’ rights and to give them their rightful place in our global society.” [Speech]

Azerbaijan commits to mainstream gender in all State programmes and legislation to help working women

The Government of Azerbaijan actively undertakes measures to distribute opportunities equitably and to support the equal and balanced participation of women and men in public and social life. Specific budgetary allocations have been made to ensure a steady increase in the gender mainstreaming process and all State programmes and services committed to ensure gender equality at all levels and all spheres. The country is working to ensure more girls pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It pledges to introduce new legislation to help working women – including flexible working and accessible childcare. The country will actively support the development and implementation of specific programmes, projects and activities aimed at improving the enjoyment by women and girls of their fundamental human rights. Azerbaijan is prioritizing re-integration of refugee women into society, promoting their participation in political, economic and public life and addressing the causes of, and impunity for, sexual violence in conflict as a central element of all discussions on the peace and security agenda. Calling for the implementation and reinforcement of international initiatives and conventions on women rights, Azerbaijan also commits to do everything it can to ensure a safe future for women. [Commitment statement]

Bangladesh promises more opportunities for women to participate, and an end to child marriage by 2041

Through continued commitment to work towards the social, economic, and political empowerment of women and girls, including in higher education, Bangladesh pledges to create more opportunities for women to participate in politics, business and government. It will act to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women, and foster a safer environment for women and girls to thrive as agents of change, in part through eliminating child marriage by 2041. The country will maintain efforts around maternal health and nutrition, and increase skilled birth attendance. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said: “The Sustainable Development Agenda offers us added impetus to bring positive change in the lives of our women and girls. We should seize this opportunity.” [Speech]

Belgium makes 25 commitments to action, in external and internal policies

With 25 commitments to act, covering both its external and internal policies, Belgium steps it up for gender equality and women’s empowerment. While continuing its strategic partnership with UN Women, Belgium will adopt a new gender strategy for its development cooperation. Domestically, all government levels will adopt, implement and evaluate gender mainstreaming legislation or methods. Furthermore, a sixth national action plan on the fight against gender-based violence is being developed in line with the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. This Convention will be ratified by Belgium as soon as possible and without formulating any reservations. Its legislation on gender discrimination will be evaluated and adapted and awareness-raising campaigns on gender discrimination and stereotypes and their consequences will be launched. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said: "Twenty years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the time for balance sheets is over; we have to move towards concrete and accelerated implementation." [ Speech | commitment ]

Benin commits to ongoing programmes for women in political and private sector leadership

Committing to action at the highest level of the State, and to transformative leadership accompanied by effective policies and legislative measures, Benin commits to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women. The country will ensure that women are involved in productive work and decision-making, including through programmes fostering their leadership roles in political parties and the private sector, among others. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Thomas Boni Yayi said: “I have come to express our commitment again, not only to the women of my country, but of Africa and the entire world.”

Bhutan promises to accelerate implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the 2030 Agenda gender equality goal

Pledging its full commitment to the accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development gender equality goal, Bhutan steps it up. It will continue backing initiatives to increase women’s representation in governance and decision-making at all levels, including through nationwide consultations on measures to encourage participation. The country commits to stronger programmes for economic empowerment to address women’s persistent poverty and remove economic inequalities. Enhanced investment will go towards equal access to education and training, and health care. Bhutan promises full support to organizations combating violence against women and girls, as well as programmes and policies bolstering women’s roles in managing natural resources and the environment. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said: “The international community has a unique opportunity to ensure that … gender issues remain at the forefront of sustainable development.” [Speech]

Bolivia vows to ensure new laws are adequately implemented to achieve transformative change

Highlighting its changes to the Constitution as well as specific laws to confront violence against women, against racism or discrimination of any kind, and to confront harassment and political violence, as well as new laws requiring gender parity and alternating political representation—as a result of which women now make up 53.1 per cent of Bolivia’s Legislative Assembly and 47.2 per cent of its Senate—Bolivia commits to continue such progress and ensure that these norms are adequately implemented so that laws can effectively transform the lives of rural and urban women and girls. To this end, Bolivia pledges to provide all the necessary conditions, human and economic resources, and strengthened institutions. [Commitment statement]

Bosnia and Herzegovina pledges implementation of the Istanbul Convention

Committing to gender equality and the empowerment of women on the national and international levels, Bosnia and Herzegovina will build on a solid legal and institutional framework for the advancement of gender equality, requiring affirmative measures by the State aimed at achieving gender equality. It will act in line with its Gender Action Plan 2013-2017 and 1325 Action Plan 2014-2017. It pledges to implement the Council of Europe [Istanbul] Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Three areas it will address in particular include greater inclusion of women and reduction of labour market segregation; prevention of domestic violence; and support for women survivors of conflict-related sexual violence. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Chairman of the Presidency Dragan Čović said: “Our continued dedication to issues of women’s empowerment and advancement is a way of healing our society…and providing for its further development.” [Speech]

Botswana remains committed to the principle of elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women

Through firm commitment to eliminating all forms of discrimination against women, Botswana vows to step it up. Its National Policy on Gender and Development will serve as a springboard for implementing the gender equality goal in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and all other goals to improve the dignity and status of women. The National Gender-Based Violence Strategy 2015-2020 will guide multiple, integrated actions to eliminate gender-based violence. A men’s sector under the ministry responsible for gender will engage men as critical partners in promoting gender equality. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Vice-President Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi said: “I wish to reaffirm Botswana’s unwavering commitment to the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment.”

Brazil commits to realizing women’s rights on all fronts

Brazil affirms its unwavering commitment to uphold gender equality, to empower women and to realize women’s rights on all fronts. It will ensure that all women in situations of violence find protection and support, and take further actions to engage women in policies. It will support women’s development at all educational levels. Maternal health care and assistance to girls will be strengthened.

Brazil had previously committed to: establish a new plan for the care provided to victims of sexual violence by public safety and health professionals, establish a working group on health for women with disabilities, grant six months’ maternity leave to military women, allow women to register the birth of their children without the father's presence, and impose harsher penalties for those who harm or kill women or girls with a new "Feminicide/Femicide" law.

Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Dilma Rousseff said: “I bring you a message of unwavering and firm commitment to implementing the Beijing Platform for Action.” [ Commitment ]

Brunei Darussalam reaffirms commitment to implement the Beijing Platform for Action

Brunei Darussalam’s long-standing policy to provide universal access to education has given girls and women equal opportunities to upgrade their knowledge and skills, and attain employment in various professional fields. The country will continue making efforts to protect women's rights through legislation and plans of action, and will review these as necessary. It serves on a regional commission on promoting and protecting the rights of women and children, and pledges efforts to fulfil international responsibilities as demonstrated by its commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals as well as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Sultan and Yang di-Pertuan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah said: “I'm pleased to reaffirm our commitment towards implementing the objectives of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.”

Bulgaria pledges adoption of a gender equality law and aims to achieve full equality in 15 years

Bulgaria views gender equality as a key priority in the national human rights agenda and an absolute necessity for the full realization of human rights. To achieve full gender equality in the next 15 years, it plans to adopt a new specialized law on gender equality that has already been drafted, and will ensure that a gender perspective is mainstreamed into all policies. The Government has committed to further developing and updating the national strategy on gender equality. It is determined to abolish the gender wage gap, and committed to combatting all forms of violence against women. Within the UN system, it will support the inclusion of women in all aspects of decision-making. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Rosen Plevneliev said: “We need to turn words into actions in order to be true to the commitments we all made when adopting the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.” [Speech]

Burundi commits to reinforcing gains and advancing gender equality under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Free schooling for basic education has helped Burundi improve equality between boys and girls. A gender-based violence law has been adopted, and women’s participation in national and local decision-making has seen remarkable progress. Socioeconomic problems persist, however, exacerbated by limited funding. Burundi commits to the Beijing Platform for Action to reinforce gains that have been made in the lives of women and girls. It affirms support for gender equality and women’s empowerment in development programmes under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and pledges continued efforts to help ensure women and young girls do not experience discrimination. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Vice-President Joseph Butore said: “[We] support the reinforcement of equality … and [efforts] to help women and young girls to make sure they are empowered and not discriminated against.”

Cabo Verde promises to boost efforts to implement a national plan, gender-based violence law and public funding for gender equality

The Government of Cabo Verde joins Step It Up for Gender Equality with a pledge to implement the National Plan for Gender Equality as the main national instrument for mainstreaming gender in order to promote equal rights and empowerment of women. Furthermore, Cabo Verde will implement the National Plan to combat gender-based violence and boost efforts to fully implement the Gender-Based Violence Law. Cabo Verde commits to have in place effective gender-responsive budgeting and allocate public funding for the promotion of gender equality in the country. [Commitment]

Cambodia vows more investment in gender equality, stronger accountability for progress

Cambodia has been committed to progress in major areas such as reducing violence against women and girls, promoting gender equality in education, empowering women in the economy, achieving the MDG target on maternal mortality, and backing the engagement of women in political affairs and decision-making. Moving forward, major priorities will comprise increased investment in gender equality, especially through reviewing fiscal policies to generate and raise public spending, and using gender-responsive budgeting to analyse and monitor impacts on gender equality. Other steps will boost protection of women’s rights, and aim for the full and equal participation of women in decision-making at all levels. Stronger accountability for gender equality will come through equipping government institutions with effective means to monitor progress. There will be a continued push for women’s involvement in the economy and financial inclusion. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Hun Sen said: “This meeting will indeed serve as an important platform for us to further tighten our efforts and [resolve] to achieve gender equality.” [Speech]

Central African Republic commits to promote women candidates, calls for bold policy to improve women’s lives

For the 2015 presidential and legislative elections, the Central African Republic will promote and encourage women candidates. It reaffirms its commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment, and reiterates an appeal to the international community to mobilize their forces for the peace and security of the people of the Central African Republic, including to support lasting efforts towards transition and women’s empowerment. New and bolder policy will improve living conditions of women everywhere in the world. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Catherine Samba-Panza said: “I continue to promote and encourage the nomination and candidature of women for the next presidential and legislative elections.” [Speech]

Chile endorses women’s leadership in politics and aims for women to direct 40 per cent of public enterprises by 2018

Chile intends to train 300,000 women for highly skilled jobs and empower women entrepreneurs. It will improve the ability of women to negotiate as workers, including in organizations representing the labour force, with a focus on reducing the wage gap between men and women. A national action plan against violence against women has been implemented, and more centres assist survivors of abuse. Programmes train community leaders and government officials to prevent and halt violence against women. The new Chilean electoral system for the first time has a quota system whereby at least 40 per cent of candidates standing for Parliament must be women. As incentives to comply, any party with less than 40 per cent cannot register candidates, and those meeting the quota receive economic incentives. By 2018, Chile aims to have 40 per cent of public enterprises directed by women. It will support equality, empowerment and solidarity between spouses. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Michelle Bachelet said: “For gender equality to be effective, we also have to look at the decision-making area, in social and political spheres.”

China pledges USD 10 million commitment to UN Women, assistance for other developing countries to build 100 health projects for women and children

Every Chinese woman has the opportunities to excel in life and make her dream come true. Through their own development, Chinese women will also play a greater part in the global women’s movement and make a greater contribution to gender equality in the world. To support women’s development worldwide and the work of UN Women, China will donate USD $10 million to UN Women for the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the realization of the related goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In the coming five years, China will help other developing countries build 100 health projects for women and children, send teams of medical experts to provide services and implement 100 happy campus projects to finance the schooling of poor girls and raise girls’ school enrolment rates. It will also host 30,000 women from developing countries to take part in training programmes in China, and provide 100,000 skills training opportunities in local communities of other developing countries. Under a related fund co-sponsored by China and the United Nations, there will be special capacity-building programmes for women from developing countries. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Xi Jinping said: “China will do more to enhance gender equality as its basic State policy, give play to women's important role as ‘half of the sky’ and support them in realizing their own dreams and aspirations in both career and life.”[Speech]

Colombia commits to strengthen gender equality policies, eliminate gender disparities in education, reduce female unemployment, implement a plan on ending gender-based violence

Colombia commits to: strengthen the institutions and gender equality policies for the promotion, respect, protection and guarantee of the rights of all women with special attention to the most vulnerable, including the victims of conflict and women living in rural areas; to continue working to eliminate gender disparities in education and to guarantee equal access for women to all levels of schooling and training; to undertake all necessary efforts so that all boys and girls have access to quality early childhood care and development services and pre-school education; to continue to strengthen and promote the economic empowerment and autonomy of women and increase efforts to reduce the female unemployment rate from 11.9 per cent to 10.5 per cent; to continue working to transform work structures in companies, seeking to ensure that they not only generate employment and wealth for society at large but also serve as an equal work environment and contribute to creating a fairer society; to strengthen democratic representation and electoral participation and increase the full and effective participation of women and equal leadership opportunities at all levels of decision-making; to adopt additional measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls in private and public spheres… In 2015, the country approved a law against femicide. … Colombia pledges to create a national mechanism of coordination across sectors and institutions to create a global approach to gender violence, including prevention, care, protection, sanction and eradication; to establish and strengthen the necessary mechanisms and measures for the promotion, protection, full exercise and guarantee of sexual and reproductive rights; to strengthen women’s capacity to make decisions as to their bodies, sexuality and reproduction; to work towards the construction of new masculinities; and to strengthen the processes of planning, monitoring, assessing and creating proposals which are gender-sensitive. [Commitment statement]

Comoros promises continued support for reproductive health and expanded economic roles for women

Comoros seeks a social fabric where women can take their rightful place. Women’s empowerment needs to be strongly promoted, and Comoros reiterates its commitment to the swift implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. It will continue building on its 2011 policy on preschool attendance in public schools, which has resulted in the enrolment of some 6,000 children. Stepped-up measures will extend appropriate services to women during pregnancy, delivery and after birth. Reproductive health is a priority in the national health strategy, under which maternal mortality rates fell from 381 to 170 deaths per 100,000 live births between 2007 and 2012. Comoros pledges to beef up its multi-sectoral strategy on HIV and continue actions to bring more women into key decision-making posts across national institutions. Women’s enhanced access to microcredit will bolster their key role in the national economy. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Ikililou Dhoinine said: “Women are [full-fledged actors] leveraging their capabilities to deliver development. Therefore, their empowerment needs to be strongly promoted.” [Speech]

Costa Rica plans to embrace shared caregiving, promote women’s equality in the workplace

Costa Rica intends to put shared responsibility for caregiving at the centre of public policy as an engine for cultural change. It will promote instruments that generate scientific evidence on barriers to using women’s talent. Job creation through affirmative action for women will occur through public/private partnerships, and job creation programmes with affirmative action will benefit youth, women and persons with disabilities. It will create and implement a seal of quality to check and certify gender equality in businesses and institutions, while guaranteeing the effective implementation of inspections in places of work. Within the framework of the United Nations, it will help uphold promises and commitments. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera said: “[We commit ourselves] to place at the centre of public policy the shared responsibility for caregiving as an engine for cultural change.” [Speech]

Côte d’Ivoire launches the National Council for Women to guide efforts on women’s rights

Côte d’Ivoire is stepping it up with the launch of its National Council for Women on 2 March in line with the country’s commitment to international norms, such as the Beijing Platform for Action, and its Constitution’s tenet to promote gender equality. Côte d’Ivoire’s President, Alassane Ouattara, will chair the National Council. In conjunction with the Observatory for Equity and Gender established in 2014, the National Council will guide and advise the government in decisions related to women’s rights. President Ouattara is also urging Ivorians to double efforts to change attitudes and to promote equitable roles in decision-making for women and men.

Croatia commits to providing active support for women’s empowerment both domestically and internationally, combat stereotypes and aim for better work-life balance

The notion that women’s progress represents human progress lies at the core of Croatia’s national policy for gender equality, and it will continue to support women’s empowerment both domestically and internationally. This is and will remain one of Croatia’s major foreign policy priorities, with a focus on conflict and post-conflict societies. It will actively support efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women, and devote further work in Croatia and globally to vigorously combatting gender stereotypes, and raising public knowledge and awareness of gender equality. Also essential is to enable women to balance private and professional obligations, including through increasing the provision of child care services. Croatia will continue to work closely with other members of the Equal Futures Partnership and take an active role as a member of UN Women’s Executive Board. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said: “The Beijing Platform for Action remains as relevant today as it was on the historic day of its adoption. We still have a long way to go to full implementation as no country has achieved full gender equality yet.”

Cuba reaffirms ongoing efforts to equalize women’s and men’s roles at home and numbers of women in government decision-making

While Cuban women have a life expectancy close to 81 years of age, the direct maternal mortality rate is one of the lowest in the world, and women make up 66.8 per cent of the labour force, Cuba recognizes it still has much to do. It will continue to work to change cultural patterns so that men and women share the care of their family. It pledges to increase the number of women in decision-making positions in government. Some achievements have been made but are fragile and insufficient. The full realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women requires a more just and equitable international order that eradicates poverty and hunger, puts an end to conflicts, favours human beings above capital, and preserves the environment. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Raúl Castro said: “Political will is much needed to avoid turning the results obtained so far into our goals instead of making them a starting point and a pledge to achieve true equality for women.” [Speech]

Cyprus commits to scale up support for gender equality rooted in a new national action plan

A new national action plan on equality between women and men for 2014-2017 is a flagship national policy signaling continued strong support for achieving gender equality and realizing the human rights of women and girls. Cyprus reaffirms its commitment to relevant legal action plans and directives, and all relevant international instruments combatting all forms of violence against women. Promoting women’s economic empowerment and eliminating deeply rooted gender stereotypes are among its priorities, as is combatting trafficking in human beings. Cyprus signed the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence. It has established a technical committee on gender equality and commits to backing full implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Cyprus will also prepare a Green Book for Mass Media practitioners to provide guiding principles on promoting gender equality through the media, including how to cover violence against women and avoid gender stereotypes. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Nicos Anastasiades said: “The role of women in the promotion of reconciliation and peace is invaluable.” [ Speech | commitment: enesfr ]

Denmark vows equal opportunities in education and work, and to combat domestic violence

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets out new and ambitious goals that Denmark welcomes. It will continue its long-standing acts of support for gender equality. It remains committed to intensifying efforts to ensure that all women and girls have equal opportunities to pursue the education and career they want, and have free and equal access to the labour market. Further, it is determined to combat domestic violence and proud to organize the next Women Deliver conference in 2016 in Copenhagen. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said: “We remain committed to intensifying our efforts to ensure that all women and girls have equal opportunities to pursue the education and career they want and have free and equal access to the labour market.”

Dominican Republic promises a plan to extend early childhood services and financing for women’s businesses

Having achieved some important targets in education, the Dominican Republic is developing a plan for early childhood. This is helping hundreds of free community and other centres that assist women every day. The country pledges to expand financing for women’s businesses, with 70 per cent of loans granted by the country’s solidarity bank already going to women to set up microenterprises and cooperatives that increase their income. It will take steps to ensure that economic factors in general do not become barriers to women’s empowerment, and aspires to eradicate violence against women. Political resolve is strong to continue every effort to achieve human well-being and a more just society. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Danilo Medina Sánchez said: “We want to work to prevent women from...not achieving empowerment because of economic factors…[and] we want to eradicate violence against women.”

Estonia commits to reduce the gender pay gap and protect against discrimination under first national gender equality action plan

Estonia is committed to promoting women’s rights and gender equality at the national and global levels. A financial supporter of UN Women since its creation, it will continue its assistance. Towards full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, it will actively work to reduce its national gender pay gap, seek to prevent and reduce violence against women around the world, and continue to advocate for women’s rights and gender equality globally as a key component of its development cooperation. Estonia is preparing its first action plan for gender equality to promote economic equality, achieve balanced participation at all levels of decision-making and management, and tackle the negative impacts of gender stereotypes. The action plan will help diminish the gender pay gap, guarantee efficient legal protection against gender-based discrimination and support institutional capacities to reduce gender inequality. Estonia also intends to improve services for victims of violence, including gender-based violence. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said: “Estonia has taken upon itself to concentrate on women’s human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women also in development cooperation.” [Speech]

Fiji pledges to develop gender-inclusive policies and laws, improve protections against gender-based violence

Fiji has a gender-responsive and socially inclusive Constitution, and now, for the first time, a female speaker leads Parliament and four women possess significant ministerial portfolios. Over the last seven years, the Government has increased funding to the national women’s machinery by some 320 per cent. With adequate funding and human resources, it will continue to strengthen gender-disaggregated data to better influence policies. It intends to amend criminal laws to make them modern and gender inclusive, with family laws already amended to recognize the rights of women in de facto relationships, and provide legal protection in terms of spousal maintenance and property rights. A domestic violence law that allows any person to apply for a domestic violence restraining order has been introduced, while the police are now legally obligated to enforce measures to promote the safety and well-being of victims of domestic violence, particularly women and children. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama said: “We are leaving no stone unturned to ensure the success of our national gender policy and ensure that gender equality is a strong thread woven through all our work.” [Speech]

Finland plans to reduce cases of violence, and a boost for women mediators and training for peacekeepers

One of the largest donors to UN Women, Finland has initiated preparation of a new National Action Plan for Gender Equality, with gender mainstreaming at its core. In its foreign and development policy, gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls and the full realization of their rights are key priorities. Recognizing that violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world, Finland has endorsed a national goal of substantially decreasing the number of cases of violence perpetrated by young men, including through educating all conscripts on the issue. It plans to support an increased number of women mediators, and gender training for all peace operations personnel. To succeed in the fight against impunity, it calls on all men and boys together with women and girls to build equal and sustainable societies. A particular goal is to have gender aspects included in the new international climate agreement. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Sauli Niinistö said: “Gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls and the full realization of their rights are key priorities in our foreign and development policy.” [Speech]

France pledges to advocate financing for women as a priority in climate talks

France commits to a goal of enabling all women and girls in the world to freely go to school, to have access to work, to found their own businesses and to lead independent lives. A second goal is to promote the place of women in peace. Having noted that climate injustices deepen inequalities, and that women can be among the most capable in finding solutions to global warming and preserving the environment, France urges that financing for women be a priority in the Paris climate negotiations. It calls for the universal ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, noting that to promote the equality of women is to act for dignity. For the Sustainable Development Goals to truly become the global order, France will advocate for women to have more responsibility in countries that make up the international community, and for measures to ensure equality at all levels of administration and politics. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President François Hollande said: “The goal is to enable all girls in the world to freely go to school, to have access to work, to also be able to found their own businesses, and to be able to be autonomous and independent in their lives.”

Georgia commits to legal reforms to tighten provisions for non-discrimination, campaigns to combat early marriages

With 2015 the year of women in Georgia, it commits to continuing to update, enhance and develop action plans on gender equality, domestic violence, and women, peace and security. It will enhance institutional mechanisms by setting up an interministerial commission on gender equality. Ongoing legal reforms will encompass amending the labour code to protect women’s employment rights, and revising the gender equality law to address cases of gender discrimination in line with the newly adopted non-discrimination law. Georgia will ratify and implement the Council of Europe [Istanbul] Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, and work with development partners to prevent early marriages, with activities on this issue coordinated by an inter-sectorial taskforce. Dedicated awareness raising-campaigns will combat violence against women and girls and aim at stopping early marriages. Georgia will continue to adhere to human rights standards and implement international commitments to women’s rights, particularly those in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Beijing Platform for Action. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said: “Georgia’s commitments have taken us a long way, but there can be no cause for complacency.” [Speech]

Germany pledges to expand support for women’s professional skills in developing countries, and require corporate boards at home to apply a 30 per cent quota for women

Calling for women to play a more prominent role in politics, the economy and society, Germany commits to launching an initiative to bolster women’s professional qualifications in developing countries and promote women’s entrepreneurial empowerment. It recognizes that there is still room for improvement in Germany, and has taken steps forward by enhancing options for child care and passing a law on women in leadership positions. Germany had previously committed that in 2016, stock-listed and fully co-determined companies will be required to reserve at least 30 per cent of supervisory seats on their boards for women. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “We all committed ourselves in 1995 to implement the Beijing Platform for Action. Now we are making a new commitment with Sustainable Development Goal 5. Commitments are good. Action is better. Let us take action!" [Previous commitment]

Guyana commits to safety and protection from violence, offers full support to SDG 5

Guyana seeks to build a country in which women and girls live in safety, and are protected from different forms of abuse, such as trafficking in persons, domestic violence and workplace hazards. It continues to make great strides towards achievement of the internationally agreed development goals relative to gender equality and women’s empowerment, particularly in mainstreaming a gender perspective into policies and programmes, ensuring equal pay for equal work, enhancing education and training opportunities for women and girls, and increasing women in leadership positions. It will fully support Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals, on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President David A. Granger said: “We seek to build a country in which women and girls can expect to live in safety, to be protected from abuse, such as trafficking in persons, domestic violence and workplace hazards.”

Honduras vows to apply parity to political parties and systematically implement the National Gender Plan

Improved living conditions and housing, and proactive State employment programmes are among the measures Honduras has used and will continue to deploy to advance gender equality. To reduce maternal mortality, it has made the issue one of the main planks in health system reforms. Starting in 2016, Honduras will apply the principle of parity to managerial positions within political parties and elected posts. Since domestic violence and femicide are among the main constraints to gender equity in the country, it commits to initiatives aimed at better understanding these phenomena, their impact on policies to promote gender equality and the development of effective strategies to tackle them. Implementation of its new Gender Equality and Equity Plan will begin through guidelines for integration of related activities in the strategic planning of all State institutions. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Juan Orlando Hernández said: “Two decades past the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, my country, Honduras, has made significant inroads in the promotion of gender equality and equity.” [Speech]

Hungary commits to take action to prevent and eliminate domestic violence and sexual violence in conflict, increase employment and provide flexible day-care options for women

To contribute to the full implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, Hungary commits to actively work to combat discrimination against women in all its forms, improve gender equality and promote the advancement of women, through three priority areas of concern: preventing and eliminating domestic violence, advancing gender equality, and ending sexual violence in conflict. In accordance with the Parliamentary Resolution on the national strategic goal to combat domestic violence, Hungary pledges, among other actions, to provide the necessary financial and human resources for combatting domestic violence according to the prevailing budgetary opportunities; to put a priority emphasis on prevention, with special emphasis on young people; to ensure the protection and support of the victims in accordance with their special needs; to maintain and elevate the necessary number of shelters and half-way houses for survivors of domestic violence; to continually provide trainings for professionals who may encounter domestic violence, with special focus on professionals working on child protection; to consider the special needs of survivors of domestic violence during tribunal and other proceedings; to continually disseminate information in society about the prevailing forms of services; and to ensure that actions taken against domestic violence are based on scientific research, assessment and data collection, and that public actions are monitored regularly. Hungary pledges to invest in gender equality at the national level to further improve the economic status of women. In particular, it will seek to increase women’s employment and develop and implement new and more flexible daycare options in order to help reconcile work and family life. In order to combat sexual violence against women and girls in conflict, Hungary pledges to contribute to international initiatives and to support projects aimed at eliminating all forms of such crimes, including assistance for survivors. [Commitment statement]

Iceland aims to close gender pay gap, provide grants for international equality efforts

Iceland is committed to closing the gender pay gap by 2022, building on its proven track record on advancing gender equality. Its new session of Parliament has the highest share of women parliamentarians yet, at about 45 per cent, and 6 per cent of Icelandic men are HeforShe champions. Iceland is determined to encourage more of its countrymen to sign up, and will also encourage males around the world to do so and engage in achieving gender equality. Parliament has confirmed a huge increase for funding issues of equality. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s rights to vote and stand in parliamentary elections, Iceland has set up a five-year equality fund, and pledges that over half the grants will be awarded to international equality efforts. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson said: “Men cannot sit idly by when issues such as gender-based violence and the gender pay gap are being discussed. These are not only women‘s issues. These are issues of general human rights.” [Speech]

Indonesia intent on more women leaders, fewer maternal deaths and eliminating gender-based violence

Towards improving women’s quality of life and ensuring their equal and inclusive participation in all arenas, Indonesia is focusing on three key issues. First, it aims to increase the participation and representation of women in decision-making processes, including by promoting them in senior leadership positions. Second, it intends to reduce maternal mortality by expanding access to reproductive health services. And third, it seeks to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by informing all stakeholders in the family and community, including men, about combatting this heinous crime. Indonesia believes that stronger commitment, improved means of implementation and better cooperation are essential to overcoming current and future challenges. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Vice-President Jusuf Kalla said: “We are more than eager to improve the quality of life of women. We must ensure that women have equal and inclusive access to greater participation in as well as better control of and benefit from all sectors.” [Speech]

Ireland vows gender equality a foreign policy priority in the push for the Sustainable Development Goals

Gender equality is a priority area of Ireland’s foreign policy. It takes every opportunity to highlight the right of all girls in every country to quality education, the centrality of women’s participation in decision-making at all levels, and the importance of eradicating harmful practices, especially female genital mutilation. Ireland remains firmly dedicated to implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. Another priority is the prevention of and response to gender-based violence, which undermines the health, well-being and livelihoods of millions of women. Since without gender equality, the world cannot achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals, Ireland pledges to help maintain momentum behind both. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Michael Higgins said: “We should not have to wait 15 years to end violence against women and girls; any paradigm of gender equality is not the gift of men, either generously or reluctantly given.” [Speech]

Italy pledges new resources of up to 50 million euros will advance gender equality and women’s rights

Italy considers the Beijing Platform for Action the blueprint for advancing women’s rights and a more sustainable future for everyone, and remains fully committed to the Platform’s implementation. It will continue to back multilateral initiatives to eliminate harmful practices, especially female genital mutilation, and child, early and forced marriage. New resources of up to 50 million Euros in the next two years will be dedicated to advancing gender equality, and ensuring the full enjoyment of human rights by women and girls. Italy commits to continued strong support to UN Women and the UN Population Fund by maintaining high levels of national contributions to resources and programmes. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi: “When we adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we pledge to leave no one behind. Despite progress, much remains to be done.” [Speech]

Japan vows to boost women’s leadership and development assistance for gender equality

A fundamental pillar of Japanese policy has been the realization of a society where women shine. As a result, in the past three years, more than 90,000 women have entered the Japanese labour market. A goal for women to occupy about 30 per cent of leadership positions by 2020 has already been exceeded among newly hired national public servants. Japan has enacted a new law to promote the active engagement of women in society, making it commonplace for both men and women to share responsibility for work, household chores and child rearing. Internationally, its donation to UN Women has increased tenfold in the past two years. Over the next three years, Japan pledges to contribute more than 42 billion yen in official development assistance towards continued actions to resolve challenges to gender equality, development and peace. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe said: “Since I became Prime Minister of Japan, the fundamental pillar of my policy has been the realization of a society where women shine.” [Speech]

Jordan pledges to align national laws with international commitments and expand support to women and girls in many areas

The Jordanian Government has committed to close the gender equality gap by 2030 through a variety of actions, including intensifying efforts to align national legislation with the Kingdom’s international and regional commitments, in a participatory manner that ensures gender equality and the elimination of violence against women. The Government pledges to accelerate the implementation of resolutions to which it has committed itself before international committees and review relevant national plans and strategies to bring them in line with the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, as well as provide the necessary financial and human resources to carry them out. Jordan pledges to expand the scope of economic, social, cultural and political support to women and girls, with special emphasis on marginalized adolescents, elderly women, poor or vulnerable women, rural women, women with disabilities, female refugees, displaced women and survivors of gender-based violence. It will address social norms and stereotypes that instill discrimination against women through education, cultural and media productions that promote positive roles of women as active partners in sustainable development and community building. The Kingdom will also: adopt policies that support women’s access to leadership positions and participation in all levels of decision-making; empower the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) as a national mechanism in order to be able to carry out its mandate; as well as supporting and facilitating the work of civil society organizations, offering protection and social, economic and legal empowerment services to women throughout the country, including refugee camps and host communities. Jordan further commits to enhance women’s access to justice and promote gender sensitization among judges in regular and Shari’a courts, general prosecutors and judicial police; and to accelerate the adoption of a national action plan to implement Security Council’s resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, and all subsequent resolutions. [Commitment (English and Arabic)]

Kazakhstan steps it up: Will provide regional leadership to galvanize transformative change

Kazakhstan commits to going beyond ensuring gender equality and women’s empowerment at the national level by providing regional leadership to achieve the goals of the Beijing Declaration in the region of Central Asia and beyond. To manage the transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals, it will advocate for carrying forward lessons learned and galvanizing transformative change, especially for the most marginalized and disadvantaged women and girls facing multiple forms of discrimination and abuse. It stands behind this process through support for adequate financing, transparent and open accountability mechanisms, and high-level comparable gender data. The Government will provide USD 56 million for developing programmes for women’s entrepreneurship. Having enacted national legislation and made long-term financial commitments to the Beijing Declaration, it pledges to continue upholding all international instruments—including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women—that have a bearing on women. In a speech prepared in the context of the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Senator Byrganym Aitimova said: “My country will go beyond ensuring gender equality and women’s empowerment at the national level to providing regional leadership.” [Commitment]

Kenya aims for universal access to sexual and reproductive health, progressive action towards economic empowerment

To safeguard gains realized by women under a new Constitution, Kenya will enact appropriate legislation and policies, and commits to implementation and effective monitoring. It aims for accelerated progress on achieving the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, including through universal access to sexual and reproductive health. It will allocate adequate resources for gender equality and strengthen mechanisms for gender-sensitive budgeting. Towards women’s economic empowerment, the public procurement policy will be refined to open opportunities for women. Progressive action will improve women’s access to decent work and address the gender wage gap. Accelerated implementation of national policies and laws on gender-based violence will encompass continued engagement of men and boys, and continued commitment to eradicating all harmful practices, including female genital mutilation and child marriages. Kenya aims to ensure women can fully and effectively participate in all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life. It will take steps to ensure equal access to quality education for boys and girls, and to encourage women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Uhuru Kenyatta said: “We commit to ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.” [Speech]

Kyrgyzstan announces new commitments in its National Action Plan for Gender Equality

The Government of Kyrgyzstan holds gender equality as a priority and has several measures outlined in the National Strategy for the Achievement of Gender Equality by 2020 for the advancement of women in the economy; education for girls and women; access to justice; and gender parity in decision-making and women’s political participation. To support the implementation of this long-term strategy and to help close gender equality gaps, Kyrgyzstan joins Step It Up by committing to strengthen its 2015–2017 National Action Plan for Gender Equality by adding the following new measures: integrating gender-sensitive principles into human resources policy at a State and municipal level; providing informational support for promoting women’s political participation and leadership; and implementing a social order mechanism for supporting women’s political leadership at all levels and promoting female leaders’ potential. [Commitment: en | Русский ]

Lao People’s Democratic Republic vows to take steps to stop violence, commits to continued action on gender equality in national plans

Lao People’s Democratic Republic has established a national institution to promote gender equality and women's advancement. Gender equality has advanced, including in education and health, where the maternal mortality rate has declined. A National Plan of Action on Violence against Women and Violence against Children and a law on preventing violence have both been endorsed. Through 2030, Lao People’s Democratic Republic commits to continued implementation of its gender equality policy, including through national socioeconomic development plans. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Deputy Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said: “I would like to reiterate the commitment of the Lao PDR to continue working closely with the international community to promote and advance the role and status of women.” [Speech]

Latvia promises to bolster laws and support partners to fight violence

By 2018, Latvia agrees to strengthen its legal framework and accede to the Council of Europe [Istanbul] Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. It will continue supporting other partner countries, including to provide support to local authorities and civil society in Central Asia to fight all forms of violence against women. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Raimonds Vējonis said: “We will continue to provide support to local authorities and civil society in Central Asia… to fight all forms of violence against women.”

Liberia pledges to pass domestic violence bill and press for an end to female genital mutilation

Liberia commits to passing its Domestic Violence Bill, and to sustaining enforcement of the law that denies bail to those who commit rape. It will continue to upholding rights and laws to ensure children’s access to quality education, and will provide training and better working conditions for health-care workers to improve healthcare delivery, given recent experience with Ebola. Despite much difficulty, it will press for laws to abolish female genital mutilation as well as actions to enforce a ban on the practice. Other efforts will improve the living and working conditions of vulnerable women in informal jobs. An ongoing constitutional review process will guarantee women’s full participation in governance and national affairs on a priority basis. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said: “My Government commits to improving the living and working conditions of women in the informal sector, who provide the resilience of our economy and are the most disadvantaged.”

Liechtenstein affirms commitment to gender issues in international criminal justice, promises more action to end violence

Committed to the full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, Liechtenstein endorses the Political Declaration adopted by the Commission on the Status of Women earlier this year. Its commitment to international criminal justice has a strong focus on gender issues, and it affirms additional efforts to reach goals for political participation and ensure equal pay for equal work, noting in this regard the calls to action by the UN Global Compact and others. Liechtenstein will pay special attention to ending violence against women, and to this end has already strengthened national legislation and run a successful government campaign to raise awareness. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Adrian Hasler said: “The full inclusion and participation of women is not a matter of political correctness, but rather an indispensable element of success.” [Speech]

Luxembourg aims for 40 per cent participation on boards and among candidates

To eliminate inequalities in decision-making, especially in the political and economic spheres, Luxembourg expects to implement a very robust policy to achieve, by 2019, a minimum quota of 40 per cent of women on all executive boards in public establishments, and among stakeholders and shareholders of large enterprises and private businesses. Further, 40 per cent of candidates on party lists for elections will be women. Luxembourg intends to make family and professional life more compatible, including by involving men, and will ratify the Council of Europe [Istanbul] Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence as soon as possible. Women and girls must have access to the same educational opportunities as men, especially in sciences and math, so awareness-raising campaigns will work to deconstruct stereotypes in the educational sphere. Luxembourg commits to ending all forms of discrimination at the national and international level, and will sustain contributions to gender equality at the United Nations and UN Women. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said: “It is time for action. We will continue to make our contribution to the consolidation of equality between women and men.” [Speech]

fYR Macedonia commits to provide equal opportunities to men and women, step up measures to prevent and address domestic violence

The Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia highlights the priorities of equal opportunities for men and women included in the National Strategy for Gender Equality 2013-2020, and commits to the following measures to Step It Up for Gender Equality. The Government is committed to continue its effort for prevention and protection against domestic violence via effective implementation of the National Strategy for Prevention and Protection against Domestic Violence, and via effective implementation of the new law for prevention and protection of family violence. In the year 2015, the efforts of the Government of fYR Macedonia will focus on enhancing legal and institutional frameworks for countering all types of domestic violence, by strengthening the rule of law, with a particular emphasis on strengthening the capacities of judges and public prosecutors for identifying and working on cases of domestic violence. The government will continue to enhance the quality and access for support to domestic violence victims, by strengthening the capacities of service providers and expanding the scope of the services. The Government will continue to conduct activities for the prevention of domestic violence among parents and children, as well as to provide support to those who have directly or indirectly witnessed violence. It will promote the implementation of the Law on Equal Opportunities of Women and Men, for greater and more efficient protection of women and improvement of the position of women in all spheres of social life. The local self-government units and state government bodies will be required to comply with the Law on Equal Opportunities of Women and Men for job positions. The Government commits to incorporate a gender perspective into policies, budgets and programmes of the state government bodies and the local self-government units. The Government further commits to the establishment of inter-ministerial cooperation, support and coordination between the institutional mechanisms for gender equality at the local and national level; and provision of increased financial assets within the state bodies and the local self-government units to support activities towards promotion of gender equality. Efforts will also be made for harmonized approach to the collection of data by sex, and to establish a harmonized system of indicators. [ Commitment Statement ]

Malawi vows to act to end child marriage, make gender equality integral to national growth and development

Malawi commits to the accelerated implementation of actions to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. A National Plan of Action on Gender-Based Violence has been developed to end the epidemic, and the HeforShe Campaign has led to nationwide sensitization on the issue, including by mobilizing men. Subsequently, Malawi enacted the ground-breaking Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Law that puts the age of marriage at 18 years. Traditional leaders established a Chief’s Gender Council to support a campaign on ending child marriage. Malawi has identified gender equality and women’s empowerment as core priorities of the revised Malawi Growth and Development Strategy, and integrated gender-responsive budgeting in the national budget. Close work with banks, microfinance institutions and other stakeholders will continue to increase women’s access to financial services and productive resources. New legislation is aimed at bringing women’s representation in politics and decision-making to a minimum level of 40 per cent. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Arthur Peter Mutharika said: “My Government and I personally [are] committed to the accelerated implementation of actions and activities which aim to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in Malawi.” [Speech]

Malaysia aims for more women in the workforce and greater support for single mothers

Malaysia stands by the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. It aims to achieve high-income status by 2020, but cannot do this without women being equal partners and drivers of growth and prosperity for all citizens. Its most recent budget made upholding the role of women a core strategy, and it aims to boost the female labour participation rate from 54 per cent as of last year to 59 per cent by 2020. By 2016, all Malaysian public companies will be required to disclose their level of gender diversity in their annual reports. Since single mothers and female-headed households are often socially and economically disadvantaged, particularly in rural areas, Malaysia has developed a national action plan to empower them. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Najib Razak said: “We aim to achieve high-income nation status by 2020. But we cannot do this without women being equal partners, and we need them to be drivers of growth – growth that will bring prosperity to all our citizens.”

Mauritania will continue to empower women in all arenas as an absolute necessity

Through national policies, Mauritania has sought to empower women in all arenas and positions of leadership, including in legislative, judicial and executive institutions, as well as political parties, civil society organizations, military and security agencies, and businesses. Women have become influential actors who cannot be bypassed in national life. Mauritania remains committed to gender equality as an absolute necessity that it will continue to work to achieve. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said: “One cannot imagine the achievement of any development that excludes the active participation of women and their contribution to the progress of [humankind].” [Speech]

Mexico commits to better coordination of national gender equality actions, scaled up measures on reproductive health

Mexico has integrated gender across its strategy guiding international support for development, and put gender equality at the core of the national development plan. Political reform committing parties to ensuring that women fill 50 per cent of legislative candidacies led to women winning 42 per cent of seats in the recently elected Chamber of Deputies. To continue moving towards greater equality, the Government will implement three important measures. At the ministerial level, it will coordinate national work on the equality of men and women. It will promote more shared responsibility between men and women to improve the distribution of work in the home. And it will scale up actions to prevent adolescent pregnancies and reduce maternal mortality. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Enrique Peña Nieto said: “The sustained development of the world could be achieved if women have the same opportunities as men, for health, study, work, decision-making, and in building their own lives.” [Speech]

The Federated States of Micronesia vows to finish unfinished business and aim for women’s participation in all areas of nation-building

Micronesia’s strategic development plan started in 2004 and will end in 2023. It encompasses the participation of women in all spheres of nation building, guided by a Gender Strategic Planning Matrix. The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia will pursue with more vigour the unfinished work of the MDGs, while focusing on Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment, and its cross-cutting effects. As part of the collective commitment to move forward, it stresses the need for adequate resources and human capacities. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Peter Christian said: “Let us commit ourselves to another homework in addition to those already suggested—and that is that we reach our goal before its time.” [Speech]

Montenegro commits to implementing national plan and law towards equality in all areas

Montenegro is committed to ensuring that women and girls have equal rights and opportunities in all spheres of life and live free of violence, including through its National Plan for Achieving Gender Equality, which is based on the Beijing Platform for Action. It commits to implementation of the plan and to carrying forward the amended national law on gender equality to ensure women’s full participation in decision-making. It will undertake regular awareness-raising and educational campaigns on ending violence against women, including by engaging men and boys. Montenegro was a strong advocate for the stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment, along with all gender-related targets and indicators in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It stands behind all national and international standards guiding the achievement of gender equality. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Filip Vujanović said: “I am confident that the 2030 Agenda [marks] the turning point for the future efforts of the international community to address the issue of gender equality.” [Speech]

Mozambique stands firm in combatting harmful traditional practices, will expand social protection and access to productive resources

National planning guidelines in Mozambique will have a strong gender dimension, accompanied by technical support and capacity-building for public institutions to meet related objectives. The country stands firm in combatting harmful gender practices that violate human rights, such as early marriage, sexual abuse and trafficking of children. A national strategy on these issues is underway as well as a review of the current gender policy and its implementation strategy to end discriminatory practices. Mozambique also commits to expansion of social protection and access to productive resources for women as well as funding income-generation activities for them. It supports the principles of the African Union and the United Nations concerning gender equality and women’s rights. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi said: “[We are] firm in combatting harmful gender practices that violate human rights such as early marriage, sexual abuse and trafficking of children.”

Namibia aims for equal access to services, roles for women as agents of peace

Namibia has paid special attention to women’s empowerment and gender equality, an integral part of its Constitution. Significant targets have been met, such as an increase in the number of girls in primary and secondary school, and a boost in the share of women in the National Assembly to 46 per cent in 2015. Still, challenges remain, so Namibia commits to women’s empowerment and ensuring that women's rights are protected in all areas, and to ensuring that women have access to services for education, health and employment, among others. It will fight gender-based violence, and make sure women can play their roles as agents of peace at the community and national levels. Namibian women in uniform will continue to serve in UN peacekeeping. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said: “Namibia commits herself to continue to sensitize our people to fully embrace the critical role women play in society.” [Speech]

Nepal advances guarantees of rights related to reproduction, property and political participation

Substantive efforts to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in Nepal include affirmative policies and laws, mandatory participation of women in all civil and security agencies, and a zero-tolerance policy on sexual and domestic violence. The national women’s commission has constitutional status, and gender features across all development policies and programmes, including through a gender-responsive budgeting system that covers 22 per cent of the total budget. Women enjoy all fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in Nepal’s new Constitution, with article 43 devoted to rights to lineage, safe maternity and reproduction, protection against all forms of exploitation, and equality in family matters and property. The Constitution ensures at least 33 per cent of parliamentarians are women, and requires the president and the vice-president to be different genders. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Deputy Prime Minister Prakash Man Singh said: “Women's empowerment through their full and effective participation in all spheres of society and elimination of violence and discrimination constitute the key to socioeconomic development on a sustainable basis.” [Speech]

Netherlands promises two new funds to back advances in economic and political participation, combat violence, support sexual and reproductive rights

The Netherlands remains committed to increasing women’s economic independence and financial self-sufficiency. Equality between women and men is a guiding principle of foreign and development efforts, providing a basis for stability and economic prosperity. In 2016, the Netherlands plans to launch a programme called Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women to support women’s economic and political participation, and combat violence against women and girls in low-income and lower-middle-income countries. It will be the world’s largest fund of its kind. Another major fund will support advances in sexual and reproductive health and rights, since for women to have a voice and economic opportunities, they need to be able to make their own choices about sexuality and family planning. Speaking at the Global Leaders’ Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: “Equality between women and men is also a guiding principle of our foreign and development efforts because gender equality provides a basis for stability and economic prosperity.” [ Speech ]

New Zealand commits to supporting women’s education, leadership and participation, and improving women’s safety

New Zealand reaffirms its commitments to gender equality and is committed to improving outcomes for women in the following priority areas: supporting women and girls in education and training; utilizing women’s skills and growing the economy; encouraging and developing women leaders by inspiring them to participation at the highest levels of governance and management; and improving women’s safety from violence. Recognizing that some groups of women experience poorer outcomes relative to others, New Zealand is working to develop solutions that are appropriate for Māori, Pacific, migrant and refugee women. New Zealand recognizes that addressing gender equality, the empowerment of women and the human rights of women and girls in Agenda 2030 is essential to achieving other goals, and has mainstreamed gender across its international development assistance programme and continues to target the prevention of domestic violence as a high priority within the Pacific region. New Zealand has also developed a National Action Plan to implement United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security, which focuses on the participation and leadership of women, including by improving international deployment rates of senior staff within the New Zealand Defense Force and New Zealand Police; and support in relevant development assistance targeting leadership in the Pacific.

Norway plans long-term efforts to speed up action on gender equality, including through strong laws

A white paper to the Norwegian Parliament on gender equality will lay the foundation for long-term targeted efforts for equality between women and men, with a focus on education, work and the business world, as well as health, violence and abuse. Since a strong legal framework is essential for combatting discrimination, including gender discrimination, Norway pledges to develop a renewed comprehensive equality act and discrimination bill. It calls for speeding up action on gender equality as a question of human rights, and accelerating implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. Speaking at the Global Leaders’ Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said: “UN Member States formally agreed on the [Sustainable Development Goals], which sets 2030 as an expiration date for gender inequality. Some say that this is too ambitious. I say, ‘Let’s speed it up.’” [ Speech ]

Pakistan determined that women will have central roles in political, economic and other spheres

Pakistan welcomes a stand-alone goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and calls for investing sufficient resources and adopting appropriate policies to ensure its realization. Pakistan’s initiatives have included the establishment of national and provincial commissions on the status of women that are led by women, and contribute to legislation and policies for women’s empowerment and gender equality. It has strengthened the national policy for development and empowerment of women, and enacted and implemented pro-women legislation, including through amending the criminal law. Women’s empowerment is the first pillar of a key national planning document, Vision 2025, signaling determination to ensure a more central role for women in political, economic and other spheres of national life. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said: “All countries stand to benefit from empowerment of women. We are therefore determined to ensure a more central role for women in the political, economic and other spheres of our national life.” [ Speech ]

Panama commits to greater political participation and the eradication of violence against women

Panama is a country where women have been protagonists and propellers of the development of a plural and diverse nation, loving and respectful of peace and human rights. Panama pledges to continue working to strengthen its electoral system in terms of women’s greater representation. It is determined to make headway in taking steps to promote the rights of women and girls, close gender gaps in the labour force and in social inclusion, and ensure women play a full and equal role in the country’s development. Moreover, Panama reiterates its commitment to eradicate violence against women, calling on all UN Member States to devote greater resources to combating human trafficking rings, as well as to develop public policies to combat femicide and violence against women in all its forms. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Vice-President Isabel Saint Malo said: “…… Sustainable development is only possible if thee 50 per cent of the population we represent is fully incorporated in the transformation that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development seeks to achieve.” [ Speech ]

Paraguay commits to boost resources for rural women and improve coordinated action to prevent violence against women and punish perpetrators

In a speech prepared in the context of the Global Leaders’ Meeting, President Horacio Cartes said: “I make a firm commitment to strengthening the actions needed to speed up the advancement of real and effective equality between men and women in my country in accordance with the national regulatory framework.” He outlined the country’s priorities for increasing women’s economic empowerment, through significant steps to include rural women with scant resources in public programmes by getting them into productive projects, providing them with access to credit and training, and enacting the Public Policy Law for Rural Women. He committed to boost the implementation of this Law with as many resources as possible and to increase the number of rural women engaged in agricultural work who are beneficiaries of agrarian extension programmes. To preventing and punish gender-based violence, he said he is doubling political support to approve the Draft Law for Comprehensive Protection for Women against any kind of Violence, now being discussed in the National Congress, and committed to improving the coordinated actions among the different institutions to prevent any danger, help women facing violence and trafficking, and punish perpetrators. To improve women’s public and political participation, through the governing mechanism for public policies for gender equality, he said Paraguay will promote legislative reform aimed at democratic parity, and political agreements to increase women’s presence in decision-making positions and in positions of power. [Commitment statement: en | es]

Romania vows to launch an integrated system to prevent all forms of violence and encourage a cadre of gender equality experts

Romania will continue to be fully committed to the protection and promotion of all of women’s right as well as to the implementation of legal international instruments, such as the Beijing Platform for Action, the Council of Europe [Istanbul] Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence and UN Security Council resolution 1325. It plans to launch a new integrated system to track, report and prevent all forms of violence, and will create a professional cadre of gender equality experts. Programmes to engage girls and boys in political, social and economic life will aim at creating the next generation of leaders. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Klaus Werner Iohannis said: “Non-discrimination, including on gender criteria, is one of the most important values of any modern society as equality between women and men is not only a human rights issue, but also a prerequisite for social justice, development and peace.” [ Speech ]

Rwanda commits to increase economic participation of women

Rwanda makes the following commitments to increase the economic participation of women: Achieve gender parity in financial inclusion by 2030. To close the existing gap, the country pledges to work to increase access to financial services for women as well as improve use of available financial products. Rwanda also commits to achieve gender parity in waged non-farm employment. Currently, women account for just over a quarter of all off-farm jobs, and their transition from agriculture is slower than that of men. As part of this effort, Rwanda will triple the number of girls enrolled in Technical and Vocational Training by the year 2020. Finally, Rwanda commits to bridge the digital divide between men and women, and to attain parity in ICT usage by the year 2020. Currently, only 35 per cent of women own mobile phones compared to 49 per cent of men. Women are also under-represented as ICT graduates in higher education. [Speech]

Samoa vows gender equality and women’s empowerment policies will feature in all areas of government

Having made important strides in women’s education and employment opportunities, Samoa recognizes that much remains to be done. It is committed to integrating policies on gender equality and women’s empowerment across all areas of government, including national climate resilience and disaster prevention and response policies and operations. Salaries for village women representatives were recently raised to close a gender pay gap, while the Constitutional Amendment Act of 2013, which reserves a minimum of 10 per cent of seats for women in the national Parliament, will open permanent space for women representatives. Samoa remains committed to advancing the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action within the next development agenda. Speaking at the Global Leaders’ Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said: “We are acutely aware that we must make every effort to develop and release the full potential of our women who make up at least 50 per cent of Samoa’s population. It is economically sensible!” [ Speech ]

Senegal enacts legal and policy reforms, commits to meaningful empowerment and true equality

Legal reform in Senegal has included a law on equality in elected public bodies and a stipulation that Senegalese women can pass their citizenship to their foreign spouse and children. New policies provide free caesarean operations in public hospitals and extend social security grants to help the most vulnerable. An essential plank of the emergency community development programme is to lighten burdens on women working in rural areas. Senegal is committed to giving meaning to the empowerment of women, ensuring that women’s participation in society is not measured just in terms of numbers, but in terms of quality so that true equality is achieved. Speaking at the Global Leaders’ Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Macky Sall said: “We are committed to giving meaning to the empowerment of women. ... We want to ensure that the presence of women is not just shown in terms of quantity but in terms of quality, so that we have true equality.”

Sierra Leone commits to legal reforms, free education and health care to empower women and girls

New legislation in Sierra Leone aims to empower women and ensure gender equality, including through greater protections against domestic violence and sexual offences. Gender equality and women’s empowerment are central to the national Agenda for Prosperity. Knowing that education is key, Sierra Leone has emphasized providing free education for girls in primary and senior secondary schools, achieving gender parity at the primary level. It has established gender-sensitive curricula, while free tertiary education scholarships encourage girls to study the sciences. Towards the aim of universal reproductive health care, women who are pregnant, lactating mothers and children under five can access free services. Speaking at the Global Leaders’ Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Ernest Bai Koroma said: “I reaffirm Sierra Leone’s commitment to deepen and enhance the space for women’s participation in all spheres of society and governance.” His speech builds on the country’s previous commitment to fully implement the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol), including taking legal action against practices such as Bondo [Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting]. Sierra Leone further pledged to strengthen legislation on women’s and children’s rights, including the right to take part in political leadership and decision-making processes, and improve women’s reproductive health and rights. The Government is also establishing a Legal Aid Board to provide accessible, affordable, credible and sustainable legal aid services for all. [ Speech | Previous commitment ]

Slovakia commits to new targets, such as reducing the gender pay gap and increasing support services for women survivors

The Government of Slovakia commits to Step it up for gender equality through its National Strategy for Gender Equality, and the related Action Plan for Gender Equality. The Government commits to new targets, such as: to reduce the gender pay gap and promote conditions for women’s employment; to strengthen the principle of non-discrimination, focusing especially on women from marginalized social groups such as Roma women and women with disabilities; to increase women’s representation in decision-making positions; and to continue efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women, in accordance with the Istanbul Convention. Two national projects on violence against women have already been launched, with EUR 12 million allocated to combat violence against women and domestic violence. Seven new shelters for survivors, providing 170 family spaces, and 15 new counselling centres will be launched next year. [Commitment statement]

Slovenia pledges to challenge traditional norms, call on men and boys as agents of change and pursue equality by 2020

Fully committed to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, Slovenia affirms the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, calling for each and every goal to involve the equal participation and equal enjoyment of rights for women and girls. Gender equality requires the active involvement of men and boys, which is why leading officials have joined the HeForShe campaign. Slovenia will continue to promote the roles and responsibilities of men and boys as allies and agents of change. Having kept the issue of violence against women and girls high on the political agenda, and becoming a party to the Council of Europe [Istanbul] Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, Slovenia has made significant progress on prevention and response. It further affirms its commitment to foster gender equality by planning to adopt a national programme for equality between women and men by 2020. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Miroslav Cerar said: “Inequalities between women and men still exist, and no country is immune to this. We pledge and call on others to… further challenge traditional notions of masculinities, and traditional norms, laws, and practices that support them.”

South Africa commits to equity in the workplace by 2030, reduce HIV and AIDS and end violence against women

For the next five years, South Africa commits to focus on: equal representation and women’s empowerment, women’s health and ending violence against women. Two of South Africa’s legislative mechanisms for equity—the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act and the Employment Equity Act—will be fully implemented to reach gender parity by 2030 in accordance with the African Union’s Agenda 2063. This will include mandatory affirmative action, as well as the enforcement of a Code of Good Practice to ensure equal pay for work of equal value within the next five years. Further measures to put women at the forefront include procurement changes, inclusion for women to reach universal financial access by 2020 and making budgets more gender-responsive at all levels. South Africa sets a five-year goal to concentrate efforts on achieving an HIV-free generation, with particular reference to girls and young women. The country will also prioritize the elimination of violence against women, including through national dialogues and a public awareness campaign aligned with UN Women’s HeForShe initiative. [ Commitment statement ]

South Sudan envisions keeping gender equality at the centre of public policy and ending inequality by 2040

South Sudan remains committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment, which are at the centre of public policy and initiatives. Even though it says it is lagging behind on many indicators around women’s empowerment, the country has taken steps to catch up with the rest of the world. Women’s health facilities have been built across the country, leading to a marked reduction in maternal and infant mortality rates. The vision and policy is to end gender inequality by 2040. Speaking at the Global Leaders’ Meeting on 27 September 2015, Vice-President James Wani Igga said: “Gender equality and women’s empowerment have been at the centre of our Government’s policy and initiatives. We are committed to that.”

Spain promises investments in equal opportunities, awareness campaigns

Emphasizing that the fight against gender violence is a "national priority” that deserves special attention, Spain vows to continue working for a comprehensive response to all forms of violence, such as trafficking for sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, forced marriage and sexual assault. Investing in gender equality, Spain's Strategic Plan for Equal Opportunities 2014-2016 is allocated a budget of EUR 3.1 million. To promote the participation and leadership of women in political, economic, social and cultural life, the country commits to strengthen the initiative "More Women, Better Business", aimed at moving towards balanced participation in management positions in companies. A Code of Good Governance of Listed Companies, adopted in February 2015, urges companies to increase the number of directors representing at least 30 per cent of the total by 2020. Spain also commits to conduct awareness campaigns to fight against stereotypes, promote equal opportunities and combat violence against women, primarily directed at youth and adolescents. In October, under the Spanish presidency of the Security Council, the High-level Review on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 will be held to assess progress, renew commitments and address obstacles in the implementation of the resolution, as the country celebrates the 15th anniversary of its adoption. As a symbol of its importance, the Prime Minister of Spain will host a high-level debate on 13 October. [Commitment: es]

Sri Lanka commits to update national action plan, and sustain firm commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment

Since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, Sri Lanka’s steps to achieve gender equality have comprised reforms to domestic laws and the integration of gender-related priorities into government action plans. It is currently updating a national action plan on women and has a dedicated ministry on women’s matters. It intends to take the promotion and protection of the rights of women very seriously, remaining firm in a commitment to strive continuously and with diligence to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. Speaking at the Global Leaders’ Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Maithripala Sirisena said: “My Government and I take the responsibility of ensuring [the] promotion and protection of the rights of women in my country very seriously and we remain firm in our commitment to strive continuously with diligence to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment.” [ Speech ]

Sweden vows that all national policies, budgets and international aid will contribute to gender equality

Sweden pledges to ensure that national policies and budget allocations contribute to gender equality, and that development and humanitarian aid are gender-sensitive across all areas. A proclaimed feminist Government, Sweden has set a gender equality policy goal and committed to implement gender mainstreaming and gender-responsive budgeting. Equal employment and pay, representation and health will be three specific focus areas for the Government. With the Beijing Platform for Action and the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development providing powerful action plans for equality, development and peace, Sweden will take action to strengthen women’s contributions to peace and security. It intends to develop a network of women mediators that within two years will be ready to assist peace efforts wherever they occur. The aim of this initiative is not only to develop Sweden’s own capabilities, but more importantly, to cooperate with female mediation networks from the global South. With women’s participation at all levels vital to the success and sustainability of peace and peacebuilding efforts, proactive leadership is needed to promote and include women. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said: “Gender equality is a fundamental matter of human rights—but it is also smart economics. By offering one half of our populations the same opportunities as the other half, we can double the talent pool and unlock enormous potential for prosperity.” [ Commitment | Speech ]

Switzerland commits to combat wage discrimination, achieve a better work-family balance and act against domestic violence

Switzerland will promote women’s freedom of action and of expression, and seek to connect implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to move forward complementary goals. The translation of related actions into internal policies remains a priority. It intends in particular to combat wage discrimination, achieve a better work-family balance and act against domestic violence. Switzerland pledges to continue supporting UN Women and will increase its contribution to almost USD 50 million for the 2015 to 2017 period. It calls on all other UN entities whose mandates it supports to integrate gender into their respective activities. Since international commitments must be accompanied by strong follow-up, Switzerland emphasizes the central role of the Commission on the Status of Women, due to its responsibility in the follow-up and implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Simonetta Sommaruga said: “True to its commitment to the protection of those who defend women’s rights, Switzerland will pursue the promotion of their freedom of action and of expression, without fear of reprisal.” [ Speech: en | fr ]

United Republic of Tanzania intends to amend all laws with discriminatory provisions and leverage economic growth to advance women’s equality

The United Republic of Tanzania affirms it will do everything in its power to implement Sustainable Development Goal 5 on women’s empowerment and other key gender equality targets and indicators in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It will ensure the full integration within national law of all women’s rights treaties, particularly the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. All remaining laws with discriminatory provisions will be amended, specifically those related to marriage, property and inheritance, and a stand-alone act on ending violence against women will be developed. The United Republic of Tanzania will support financing of gender equality in line with the Addis Ababa Financing for Development Agenda, implement the principle of 50/50, collect sex-disaggregated data, and put in place effective mechanisms to monitor and propel progress on women’s rights commitments. It will seek to leverage economic growth to support women’s rights and advance equal economic opportunities, which are critical to sustainable development. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete said: “Tanzania commits itself to ensure that the economic growth is leveraged to support women’s rights in economic equality and opportunity which recognizes their critical importance for sustainable development.” [Speech]

Thailand promises education to cultivate acceptance of gender equality, data to monitor progress, training to promote gender-responsive budgeting

Thailand’s 2015 Gender Equality Act protects all individuals from gender-based discrimination. Thailand is resolved to move forward on gender equality by developing a curriculum on gender roles that cultivates positive attitudes and acceptance of gender equality in children from an early age. It will collect sex-disaggregated data, for analytical purposes and for formulating gender-sensitive policies, as well as for monitoring progress made to achieve gender equality. In providing training to relevant national public agencies, it will promote gender-responsive budgeting. Thailand’s next national and economic and social development plan will focus on people-centred, inclusive development and on reducing social inequality, providing further opportunities for women to participate even more equally in national development. Speaking at the Global Leaders’ Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said: “Promoting gender equality is not a matter that lies only in the hands of women. Men and boys must also do their part to foster positive attitudes on gender roles.” [ Speech ]

Timor-Leste affirms ending gender discrimination an ongoing priority in commitment to the SDGs and Beijing Platform for Action

In its Constitution, Timor-Leste provides that men and women must be treated equally in all aspects of life, and it pledges to continue prioritizing actions to end gender discrimination and stop gender-based violence. Women actively participated in Timor-Leste’s struggle for independence, and now, at 38 per cent, the country has one of the greatest proportions of women parliamentarians in the world and the highest in the Asia-Pacific region. Timor-Leste fully supports Sustainable Development Goal 5 on achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, and recommits to implementing the Beijing Platform for Action. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araújo said: “We consider the position of women and girls in our country a key test of our development progress, which means we must improve the situation of women and address pervasive gender discrimination if we are to meet our development goals.” [Speech]

Tunisia seeks to expand participation of women in office

Gender equality principles have been enhanced in Tunisian law, including its Constitution. Progress towards gender equality is evident in many indicators, including increased school enrolment, enhanced services for training and greater women’s participation in all walks of life. Tunisia is committed to protecting women and overcoming all attempts against modern society. Its recent experience in democratic transition bears witness to the fact that women should be represented in all legislative bodies, and it commits to women's expanded ability to participate in politics and in public affairs, including through a 50 per cent quota for candidate lists in elections. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Prime Minister Habib Essid said: “Our experience in democratic transition recently is witness to the fact that women should be represented in all legislative bodies. Hence, we enhance women's ability to participate in politics and in public affairs. This is a commitment.”

The United States of America to work towards a world where every woman and girl can enjoy their rights and freedoms

In a statement for the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, US President Barack Obama recommitted his country to the basic principle affirmed in Beijing: “[w]omen's empowerment and their full participation on the basis of equality in all spheres of society, including participation in the decision-making process and access to power, are fundamental for the achievement of equality, development and peace.” He said: “Within the United States, we are taking steps to support working families, encourage women and girls to pursue careers in the STEM fields, and provide additional opportunities for women entrepreneurs. But we know that much work remains … my Administration continues to work to advance the empowerment and education of women and girls here and abroad. It's why we are dedicating additional resources to address violence against women and girls. It's why we are investing in job training and apprenticeships to help women earn better-paying jobs. It is why we launched ‘Let Girls Learn’, to address the challenges adolescent girls around the world face in enrolling, completing and succeeding in school. And it is why my Administration's Stand with Civil Society initiative is supporting the right of women and all people around the world to work peacefully for the betterment of their societies without fear that their rights and freedoms will be unjustly abridged. Today, we renew our resolve to work tirelessly towards a world where every woman and girl can enjoy the rights and freedoms that are her birthright.”

Viet Nam will devote all necessary resources to close gender gaps, extend employment and other services for women in remote areas

Viet Nam pledges to devote all resources needed to bridge the gender gap in all domains. It will intensify awareness-raising campaigns on gender equality, and work to ensure that all radio and television stations broadcast gender equality programmes. It plans to further improve women’s access, especially in underserved or remote areas, to healthcare, education and employment services, committing to targets, by 2020, of 50 per cent of rural women having access to various forms of vocational training, and 95 per cent of women aged 15-40 in remote areas being literate. It will spare no efforts to gradually eradicate all forms of violence against women and girls, and has set a target for at least 50 per cent of all reported survivors of domestic violence to be provided with health care and counselling services. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Trương Tấn Sang said: “Gender equality is not merely a goal but rather the common thread of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” [Speech]

Zambia vows to fight the scourge of gender-based violence and to invest in women’s economic empowerment

Twenty years since the Beijing Platform for Action and 15 years since the Millennium Declaration, much has been accomplished, but more must be done, and Zambia is dedicated to ensuring that this happens. It aims to address persistent gender inequalities and empower women in the pursuit of national development. It will fight the continued scourge of violence against women and girls—including trafficking and forced early and child marriage. At the same time, Zambia pledges to invest in women’s economic empowerment, such as through the facilitation of access to and control of land and other resources, and enhanced credit for small to medium businesses. It envisions a government with full participation of men and women in decision-making processes, and aspires for sustainable development where no one is left behind on account of sex, age, social or economic and health status. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu said: “Much has been accomplished, [but] I believe a lot more remains to be done. I therefore wish to commit myself and the people of Zambia to ensuring that what remains to be done will truly be done.”