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2020-03-06 › On International Women’s Day, OSCE officials call for strengthening intergenerational dialogue to advance gender equality

TIRANA/VIENNA/WARSAW, 6 March 2020 - Ahead of the International Women’s Day OSCE leaders urged further action in promoting gender equality and called for intergenerational dialogue to ensure engagement of young people. This year Women’s Day is marked against the backdrop of the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action for the Advancement of Women, and these occasions provide an opportunity to take stock of progress made, they said.

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Albania’s Prime Minister and Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Edi Rama; OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger; and Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir stressed that in promoting gender equality it is important to hear different experiences and perspectives and noted in particular the need to involve young men and women. Young people represent 38 per cent of the population in the OSCE region and they need to be involved in moving gender equality forward, as doing so contributes to sustainable peace and security efforts.

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Albania’s Prime Minister and Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Edi Rama said: “Gender equality challenges like combating violence against women, ensuring women´s participation in conflict prevention and mediation, reconciliation and the strong promotion of equal opportunities of women in the social, economic and public and political sphere can only be overcome if men and women of all ages work together.” The Chairperson-in Office also said that the OSCE is committed to continue its work in advancing gender equality and empowering women and girls. “We are working together with all participating States to promote advancing laws, policies and implementation tools to a whole new level to support and protect women’s rights.”

OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger noted challenges in increasing women’s inclusion in peace processes in the OSCE area: “Even if there are fewer gender inequalities in a number of areas today compared to 25 years ago, progress has been slow. In peace negotiations, women are still significantly underrepresented. The OSCE is committed to the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda, and to including more young men and women in peace processes."

Referencing the importance of digital technology for the future of gender equality, ODIHR Director Gísladóttir said: "We now have a generation of young women who were raised in the digital world, and they are making their voices heard both on- and offline. In fact, young people often have a well-developed sense of what true equality means, which makes me optimistic.” She added: “At the same time, women seeking an active role in public and political life often find themselves subjected to harassment and abuse. Political leaders must do more to ensure that women and girls are able to engage safely. These are the changemakers of the future, and they need our support.”

The importance of the intergenerational dialogue on gender equality was also the focus of an OSCE event hosted by the Gender Section today in Vienna to mark the International Women’s Day. Participants discussed how different generations of women and men see the opportunities and challenges, and how they can work effectively together to promote gender equality.

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