Statement at the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women by Norway's Deputy Foreign Minister Ms. Laila Bokhari, 15 March 2017.
Thank you, Chair,
13 years is not a long time. By 2030, the states of the world have agreed to end all forms of gender discrimination.
- to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls,
- to achieve women's full and effective participation in political, economic and public life
- and to ensure women's equal rights both to economic resources – and to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.
At a time when women are being specifically targeted by extremists, we must work even harder to reach these goals.
Norway will continue to speak up for girls' and women's rights.
Equal access to education is crucial for women's empowerment.
Educated women have children later in life and are more likely to send their children to school.
This is why Norway has doubled its development aid for education. And why we have increased our humanitarian aid for women and girls' health and education.
Work is a key to self-sufficiency and independence.
We have seen progress, but we are far from reaching our goals.
Still, many women are not part of formal working life.
In most countries, women's income is between 60 and 75 per cent of men's.
Women do most of the unpaid care work.
Many women work outside the formal, organised labour market. They own less and do not have equal access to loans.
Traditions, religion, attitudes, and – in some countries – laws, are limiting women's opportunities in working life.
When we look for more and better jobs for women, we must look to the private sector.
We must reduce the boundaries that limit women's participation in working life, and we must support female entrepreneurs.
Our efforts to include women in working life must encompass all women. Women with minority or indigenous backgrounds have a weaker position in the labour market.
So do women with disabilities. Lesbian, bisexual and trans women are also discriminated against.
The right of women to make decisions about their own sexuality is crucial.
Access to safe and legal abortions should be part of women's right to decide freely on matters related to their sexuality.
Two weeks ago, more than 50 countries met in Brussels to mobilise support for women’s reproductive health through the She Decides initiative.
At a time when this agenda has come under pressure, joint efforts are of paramount importance.
Violence and harassment at work and at home restrict women's participation in work life.
We must enact and enforce laws to eliminate violence against women.
Family policy is closely linked to women’s economic empowerment.
Affordable childcare and generous parental leave schemes make it possible for both mothers and fathers to work.
These welfare schemes are costly.
So – why should governments provide them?
The answer is – because it is an investment that pays off.
The fact is that the world's most gender equal countries are also the countries with the highest levels of development.
Countries that deny women and girls their rights are denying themselves development.
That is something no country can afford.
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