Embassy RS Cairo /Newsroom /
08.03.2013  

Statement of EU Ambassadors in Egypt on occasion of International Women's Day

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, and following the initiative by Austria, Croatia and Slovenia, the EU Ambassadors in Egypt issued a joint statement. In the joint statement the EU Ambassadors reminded of the essential role of women in societies, which is especially true in the time of transition.

The EU Ambassadors in their joint statement also stressed the importance of gender equality, the full respect of women's rights and the prevention of all forms of violence against them.

The text of the joint statement is attached below:

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International Women's Day is an occasion to celebrate Egyptian women and their vital contribution to this country’s Revolution and their essential role in this challenging transition.

International Women's Day also serves to remind everyone that in many countries around the world gender equality is still elusive - discrimination and violence against women remain prevalent. Global solidarity and action is needed as much as ever.

With this in mind, the European Union Ambassadors think it is a good opportunity to join forces with Egypt to ensure the full respect of women's rights and the prevention of violence against them wherever it occurs. And following the fruitful exchanges during the recent visit of Stavros Lambrinidis, the EU’s special representative for human rights and during our EU-Egypt Association Committee meeting of 28 February, we should step up the exchange of views and discussion of best practice on how to achieve equal pay for equal work, equal opportunities for participation in the political process and decision making, protecting and preserving women’s dignity and integrity and working for an end to gender-based violence.

We would also to appeal to the media to do everything it can to build awareness of the need for equality between men and women in a balanced and non-partisan manner.

All over the world, women still suffer violence simply because they are women. Multiple cases of outrages such as rape, “honour killings”, domestic violence and abuse, are reported in various countries. Particularly worrying here in Egypt is the recent spate of violent gang sexual assaults on female participants in demonstrations, which has horrified Egyptian, European and international citizens alike. Female participation in political and economic decision-making has been improving in the last decade but is uneven from one country to other. Egypt is far from being alone in facing these challenges, but they are much in evidence here. And while there have been advances in the European Union, we must also face up to the fact that much remains to be done before the cause of equal rights is fully achieved in our countries.

The European Union and its Members States are calling upon the government of Egypt and political parties for more concrete action on the protection and implementation of women's rights, considering women an opportunity rather than a vulnerable group, as they represent half of the population, and a vital resource for the country and its future. We encourage steps to be taken to ensure that women have equal opportunities for developing their full potential.

The 21st century poses many challenges to all our societies. Equal participation of women and men in all areas, be they social, economic or political is a hallmark for civilization in all societies, whatever their level of development or cultural character. And it can only be good for their economic development. Unlocking the potential of women to participate fully in the workforce has time and again been shown to be a crucial element in economic success. The full involvement of women in the planning and implementation of Egypt’s political and economic transition is vital to its success.

So let’s work together on the challenges before us, and protect the right of every Egyptian, male and female, “to a decent life, to freedom, to social justice and human dignity”, which Egypt’s new Constitution now deems the most basic of rights for its citizens.