The French State Secretary for Gender Equality and the Fight Against Discrimination Marlène Schiappa today opened a conference, bringing together more than 100 high-level participants from around the world to strengthen international cooperation and to “bridge the gap” between law and practice in the fight against discrimination and violence against women.
“We can neither fight for professional equality between women and men, nor for women’s place in public and political life, if we do not fight against gender-based and sexual violence,” said Schiappa, welcoming the Council of Europe’s work on equality between women and men.
While no country in the world has achieved perfect equality, Europe is a most effective ladder to advance and protect the rights of women everywhere,” she said.
Schiappa denounced a backlash against women’s rights and called on all countries in Europe and beyond to commit to adopting the convention’s standards, which effectively protect women.
France has launched a concept of feminist diplomacy and has approached the G7 Presidency to promote and defend the Istanbul Convention as part of a campaign to universalize it.
Just before she took the floor, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland congratulated participants for exchanging their views on how best to remedy a “backlash” against women’s rights, “seen in many of our Member States”.
The Secretary General stressed the need to “show that women's rights create a better and more just society for all" and that "women's freedom is not at the expense of men, but to their advantage”.
He congratulated representatives from around the world for their support for gender equality and their efforts to end violence against women.
“By working together, you will be more effective and put into place the structures and expertise that will help overcome the opposition and implement measures that guarantee women’s rights in our societies.”