PRESS BRIEFING BY BRENDEN VARMA, SPOKESPERSON FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT VOLKAN BOZKIR

“NO WOMAN SHOULD BE UNDER THREAT, UNDERPAID OR UNDERESTIMATED,” PRESIDENT TELLS COMMISSION ON STATUS OF WOMEN

  • This morning the President addressed the opening of the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which is a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
  • In his remarks, he said we can only truly achieve gender equality if we ensure the full and effective participation of women in decision-making.
  • Noting that only one in four parliamentarians today are women, he said under-representation in decision-making processes has led to the specific needs of women being overlooked.
  • He also asked how we could expect laws to empower women and girls, when women lawmakers themselves were subjected to online, psychological, physical and sexual violence. He also noted pervasive attempts to discourage women from exercising their right to vote and running for election.
  • The President called on all Member States to: strengthen laws against gender-based violence; establish reporting and redress mechanisms for victims; and commit to data collection, election observation and violence monitoring.
  • He also asked journalists to end gender-based stereotyping and gendered media coverage of women in politics and public life.
  • The President concluded by saying that no woman should feel the need to justify her presence. Or make herself smaller so that others are comfortable. Or fear expressing herself, exercising her right to vote or seeking election to public office.
  • He said no woman should be under threat, underpaid, or underestimated.

 

PRESIDENT TO HOLD SPECIAL EVENT ON POLITICAL LEADERSHIP & VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

  • The President will convene a Special Event under the theme, “Political Leadership and Violence Against Women and Girls: Prevention First.” That will be held virtually on Tuesday, 23 March, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • The Special Event is being organized following advice from the President’s Gender Advisory Group and feedback from Member States on enhancing the relationship between the General Assembly and the Commission on the Status of Women.
  • The event will bring together experts and stakeholders to highlight the urgency of preventing violence against women and girls and promoting women’s participation and leadership in all spheres.

 

PREPARATIONS FOR DIGITAL COOPERATON DEBATE BEING DISCUSSED

  • The President met virtually this morning with the co-chairs of the Group of Friends on Digital Technologies. Those are the Permanent Representatives of Mexico, Finland and Singapore. They were also joined by Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, the Secretary-General’s Acting Envoy on Technology.
  • They discussed preparations for the President’s High-level Thematic Debate on Digital Cooperation and Connectivity, which will be held on 27 April.
  • The Thematic Debate’s aim is to generate political will and momentum to address the digital divide – in order to support COVID-19 adaptation and recovery.

 

SPOKESPERSON FIELDS QUESTIONS ON SECRETARY-GENERAL SELECTION & APPOINTMENT PROCESS

  • Asked to comment on whether the next Secretary-General should be a woman, the Spokesperson said that, as the President had already said, that was a matter for Member States.
  • Replying to a further question on the Secretary-General selection and appointment process, the Spokesperson said that, if Member States presented candidates, those names would be circulated to all Member States, as per the joint letter on this topic from the Presidents of the General Assembly and Security Council, and then made public.