– As delivered –
Remarks by H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly
23 March 2021
Members of civil society,
I thank you for joining us for this important discussion. The theme of this year’s Commission on the Status of Women could not be more pertinent: women’s political participation and the elimination of violence against women. Over the past few weeks, we have been highlighting the need to address the increase in gender-based violence, and in particular, incidents of violence against women in politics.
Today, with an esteemed panel of experts and leaders in the field, from the UN system, civil society, academia and other stakeholders, we are going to connect these issues, and look at the root causes of violence, and how we can improve prevention and uphold the rights of all women and girls around the world.
If we are to protect and uphold the rights of the people we serve, those who govern should reflect those who are governed. In short: we need to elect more women. We need to remove barriers to participation, and end violence against women in politics. I believe that this is crucial to ensuring that more women enter – and remain active – in politics.
Twenty-five years ago the Beijing Declaration and Programme for Action was adopted, and we are still struggling to combat violence against women. The recent spike in reports during the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that policy approaches in times of crisis do not meet the needs of women. Indeed, discriminatory laws and policies exist around the world, undermining the empowerment of women and girls.
If we are to protect and uphold the rights of the people we serve, those who govern should reflect those who are governed. In short: we need to elect more women.
We need to remove barriers to participation, and end violence against women in politics. I believe that this is crucial to ensuring that more women enter – and remain active – in politics.
Politics is not for the faint of heart, I say this from personal experience! Among our esteemed panellists today is Martin Chungong, Secretary-General of Inter-Parliamentary Union. I’m sure he would agree with the value in supporting the fierce, ambitious women who run for office. It takes much more courage to put your name on a ballot paper than it does to mount an attack on someone else.
It is a sad reality that women in leadership around the world have defeated the odds. Despite a myriad of attacks, they persist. Women in leadership serve as an inspiration to us all. We should applaud their resilience, amplify their impact on the world, and encourage girls around the world to emulate their determination.
In October, I established an Advisory Group on Gender in order to mainstream the issue of gender equality throughout the work of the General Assembly. I am really proud of this, and I am really benefitting from the results of the work that this Group is doing. I thank His Excellency Ambassador Kabba and our moderator Soon-Young Yoon, for their continued engagement in the Advisory Group and for joining us for this important event.
I look forward to listening to, and learning from, all of our panelists today. Unfortunately, I will not be able to stay until the end, but my Chef de Cabinet will be here for the entirety of the meeting on my behalf. I wish you all the best today and in your endeavours going forward.
I thank you.