National Gender Mechanisms in European Countries

Date: Sunday, September 25, 2011

Message of Michelle Bachelet on the occasion of the International Conference on National Gender Mechanisms in European Countries, Kiev, Ukraine, 25 September 2011.

[Check against delivery]

It is my pleasure to address this international conference on national gender mechanisms in European Countries. I thank the Government of Ukraine and the United Nations Office in Ukraine for organizing this important meeting and bringing all of you together.

As you share your experiences in carrying forward gender policies, in developing equitable legislation and monitoring their implementation, I urge you to join me in asking ourselves: What more can I do to open doors to women? What more can I do to advance women's rights, and enforce laws and policies? What more can I do to make justice systems work for women? And what more can I do to ensure accountability?

At UN Women, we stand behind women's equal participation in all aspects of life and we are focusing on five priority areas.
The first is increasing women's leadership and participation. When women lead the way, they pave a path of progress that benefits all. The second is ending violence against women and girls. When women can live free of violence and discrimination, societies enjoy greater freedom, welfare and prosperity.

The third is engaging women in all aspects of peace and security processes. When women build peace, they create conditions for truth, reconciliation and democracy. The fourth is enhancing women's economic empowerment. When women are empowered, their families, communities and nations are stronger and more resilient and vibrant too.

And the fifth and final priority is making gender equality central to national development plans and budgets. And this one, as all of you know, is extremely important because when women's rights and gender equality are made a political priority, the progress that ensues is substantial, remarkable and hard to ignore.

We know that countries with greater gender equality are not only more fair and just; they also have economies that are more competitive and grow faster, a fact that is backed by research from 114 countries. And we also know that our priorities at UN Women are priorities shared by women and girls around the world.

So as you engage in this conference and when you go back home, I urge you to keep pushing, to make women's empowerment and gender equality a top political priority in your country backed by adequate resources. I encourage you to reach out, build partnerships and mainstream and monitor gender across all government structures and sectors.

And I want to assure you that UN Women stands beside you to make gender equality a shared reality for all.

I thank you and wish you much success in your meeting.