Åsa Regnér har entledigats
Barn-, äldre- och jämställdhetsminister

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Tal vid FN:s kvinnokommissions (CSW) årliga möte

FN:s högkvarter, New York 9 mars 2015
Det talade ordet gäller.

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Mr/Madam Chair,

It is an honour for me to address the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Sweden aligns itself with the statement made by Latvia on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

Mr/Madam Chair,

Sweden has a feminist government. This stems from our firm conviction that achieving gender equality is a fundamental human rights issue, as well as a precondition for sustainable development. It reflects a strong commitment to making a difference in policy choices, priorities and allocation of resources.

Today, twenty years after Beijing, it is globally recognised that advancing gender equality and empowering women and girls is not only right, it is also the answer to many of the challenges our societies face. Sweden recognises that many of the transformative advances in gender equality have been driven by women’s movements, feminist organisations and women human rights defenders.

Mr/Madam Chair,

Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights. They must never be violated in the name of culture, tradition, honour or religion.

Efforts and actions to achieve gender equality must tackle the structural drivers of gender inequality that are common to many societies: unequal power relations between women and men, discriminatory laws, social norms and practices.

It is deeply concerning that violence against women and girls persist in every country, as a pervasive violation of the enjoyment of human rights. This violence is an expression of the unequal power relations between women and men, and it reinforces women’s and girls’ subordinate status. As such, it constitutes an absolute obstacle to the achievement of gender equality, development, peace and security.

Gender power relations and social norms that uphold traditional gender stereotypes and norms of masculinity that prescribe violence stand in the way of women’s and girls’ empowerment and gender equality. Therefore, it is essential to recognise the crucial role and responsibility of men and boys in promoting gender equality, human rights and the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls, including sexual exploitation. Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven is dedicated to promoting this issue, also in his role as an impact Champion in the “HeforShe”- campaign.

Women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights are a precondition for gender equality. Women and girls have the right to decide and exercise control over their own body, sexuality, reproductive health and childbearing. When women have choices, such as whether, when and whom to marry or enter a partnership, whether and when to have children, they can participate in society on an equal footing with men.

Women’s and adolescent girls’ right to safe and legal abortion must be guaranteed. Sexual and reproductive health and rights, including access to contraceptives and comprehensive sexuality education, are central to development. And it is our responsibility to make sure that these rights are protected and promoted. The ICPD Programme of Action and the review conferences are thus as important today as ever before and it is our duty to guarantee implementation.

Mr/Madam Chair,

Sweden recognizes the Secretary General’s review report as an important contribution to the CSW and to the ongoing negotiations on gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights beyond 2015.

The report shows that overall progress in the implementation of the Platform for Action has been particularly slow for women and girls who experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. Gender inequality tends to intersect with other forms of inequalities, and increases the risk of poverty. Marginalised groups of women, such as women with disabilities, indigenous women, migrant women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and poor elderly women are at particular risk of poverty, discrimination and violence. Young women are at much greater risk of being infected with HIV.

Unequal access to and control over resources, power, opportunities and services lie at the root of women’s poverty. And even when formal restrictions are removed women still face multiple constraints on their ability to move out of poverty.

Women’s and girl’s disproportionate share of unpaid care work is one crucial universal constraint that limits their enjoyment of human rights. It also limits their economic empowerment and ability to engage in income-earning activities. This is worrying, since enhancing women’s access to decent paid employment can be one of the most effective ways to reduce income poverty. Enabling policies, such as child care services and parental leave, are essential to facilitate women’s participation in the labour market and all spheres of society. Social protection is crucial for reducing poverty and inequality and reducing women’s risk of poverty throughout the life cycle. These policies not only increase women’s income security but also strengthen their autonomy within the household.

Sweden is deeply concerned about the different forms of extremism and conservatism on the rise, often with the explicit aim of suppressing women’s and girls’ human rights. We must combat all attempts to restrict women’s and girl’s rights, autonomy and engagement in the private and public spheres. It is unacceptable that women’s rights advocates and human rights defenders are increasingly subjected to threats and violence as a result of their work.

Mr/Madam Chair,

Sweden is a strong voice for addressing all these critical issues. We must all seize this historic opportunity at hand.

Now is the time for us to reaffirm the commitments made at Beijing, including through a new development agenda that delivers irreversible, substantial and sustainable progress for gender equality and the realisation of women’s and girls’ human rights.

As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the ground-breaking UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, all parties must move from normative commitments to full implementation.

Join us in our call for a post-2015 development agenda that acknowledges gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights, both as a goal and as a mean, as an imperative for sustainable development.

Thank you.