“Europe needs to take the lead in advocating for the empowerment of women and girls today,” said Anne Brasseur, President of the continent-wide Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. She called on leaders at the UN summit on Financing for Development, meeting in Addis Ababa, to make effectively addressing persistent gender inequality a priority in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The President also reminded leaders of the importance of guaranteeing sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls: “The Assembly is convinced that guaranteeing sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls, in particular with a view to avoiding unwanted pregnancies and further reducing maternal mortality, is key to the empowerment we seek. We must not let the SDGs fall behind the MDGs.”
The Assembly adopted Resolution 1975 (2014) on “Stepping up action against global inequalities: Europe’s contribution to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) process” last year, underlining four important areas which should be included in the new SDGs:
1. empowering women and girls in all spheres of society, including the family, the educational sector, the labour market and political decision-making processes, thus allowing them to access resources and opportunities, and a fair share of power;
2. promoting the guarantee of sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls, in particular with a view to avoiding unwanted pregnancies and further reducing maternal mortality;
3. stepping up the fight against violence towards women and girls in the most committed manner through prevention programmes and campaigns, including measures to protect victims;
4. creating equal opportunities for women and young people to access quality education and decent jobs.