Statement of Germany in the discussion of the UNGA77 3rd Committee (Human Rights) on Advancement of Women
The Statement was delivered by Political Coordinator Michael Geisler.
Germany aligns itself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union.
We are currently facing a worrying multitude of overlapping crises: the global climate crisis, the pandemic, Russia’s war against Ukraine, as well as the resulting food and energy crises. These crises compound the pre-existing gender gaps.
No matter where in the world, it is women and girls who bear the brunt of worsening living conditions, diminished public services, dwindling socioeconomic perspectives and security threats.
However, women are not passive victims. They are powerful agents of change who contribute to more stable, peaceful and just societies.
Studies show that empowering women economically and politically leads to sustainable growth and more resilience for society as a whole. This makes countries better prepared to respond effectively to crises. After all, you cannot win the game with only half the team!
The same is true in the area of peace and security: peace agreements are more likely to last when women participate meaningfully. Therefore, Germany recognizes the crucial importance of the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
Ensuring equal rights with full, equal and meaningful participation for women, girls and marginalised communities, is a key policy objective for Germany. That is why Germany has committed to an explicitly feminist foreign and development policy as an indispensable foundation for securing peace, stability and prosperity for all.
The degree of gender equality in a society is an indicator of its overall stability and level of public welfare. Women’s rights are often a yardstick for freedom and democracy in our societies. For this very reason, women’s rights are not a women’s issue. They are a human rights issue, a democracy issue and a rule of law issue.
Feminist foreign policy is a task for society as a whole. Men and boys should use their de facto privileges as for instance their larger representation in parliaments, political parties and governing bodies to advance gender equality. They can also help realize equal rights by practicing a positive masculinity based on the principle of equality of all genders, which includes an equal distribution of unpaid care and domestic work.
Feminist foreign policy is also about making qualitative changes to decision making, placing it on a broader basis of perspectives and thus making it more legitimate and sustainable.
Women are urgently needed transformative change makers in our societies. This is especially evident in Iran, where courageous women are fearlessly standing up for their freedom and for an overall more liberal society. The brutal attack on women and their rights in Iran is an attack on human rights as a whole. This is why we plan to discuss this also at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
We need to transform gender roles and power relations and challenge the too-narrow assumptions of traditional economic thought. This is necessary in order to ensure women’s access to financing and other economic resources.
We also need to stay strong in the face of the ongoing backlash against women’s rights. An international consensus supporting women’s full and equal enjoyment of their human rights, including their rights to sexual and reproductive health and self-determination, is crucial.
For the anti-gender movement, sexual and reproductive health and rights often serve as an entry point for a broader pushback on women’s rights. We must therefore be aware of the gender dimensions of overall political developments.
Let me conclude by highlighting the important role and contributions of civil society and women’s organizations, of women human rights and environmental defenders, and of the young women and men around the world in changing our ailing world for the better. More space for them in decision-making processes will accelerate urgently needed transformative change in our societies, and will pave the way to recovery and resilience.