Remarks by the European Union Head of Delegation, H.E. Paola Amadei on the occasion of International Women's 2023 - #TakingParliamentToThePeople

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Three points.

Why are we here today?

Why do we partner with Parliament?

What are we doing here and now for gender equality and to fight gender-based violence?

We are here today because gender equality is still work in progress and the pace to achieving it leaves much to be desired.

In the European Union, on a scale of 100, gender equality is set less than 69 points, since 2010 the index has only gone up 5.5 points and it has been negatively affected by the pandemic.

If no measures are taken, 286 years will be needed to put an end to the gender pay gap.

Innovation and technology represent opportunities for women and girls but also pose new risks such as online abuse and violence. Gender disparities and gender-based violence are global challenges that that require all actors nationally and internationally to continue making efforts including by celebrating here this March 8.

Why do we partner today with the Parliament?  

Because legislation can make a difference and accelerate the pace to achieve gender equality and fight gender-based violence.

The adoption of the Counter Domestic Violence Bill and the Amendment to the Married Persons Bill by this Parliament are major milestones – a summary prepared by Parliament is on your table – and more are on the horizon for the next months and years.

In the EU, as a result of legislation on gender balance in corporate boards, women make 32% of the boards of listed companies – still far from parity but a major step forward. Legislation on pay transparency has been introduced or is in preparation to address the gender pay gap, and so have rules to combat online violence and abuse. Furthermore, we partner with the Parliament as we believe in the merits of creating opportunities for dialogue between the public and legislators.

What are we doing here and now? My third point.

Funds alone do not make the difference but without financial resources certain objectives are more difficult to achieve. The commitment of the EU is to ensure that by 2025, 85% of all development cooperation funds contribute to gender equality. As we speak, in the EU Delegation applications for a new programme supporting women, youth, and people with disabilities is being evaluated.

I will conclude this last point by presenting to you presenting to you a joint initiative of all five Ambassadors Resident in Lesotho and the UN Resident Coordinator. I will invite my colleagues to join me on the podium:

The Ambassador of China
The Ambassador of United States
The High Commissioner of South Africa
The High Commissioner of the United Kingdom
The United Nations Resident Coordinator

For the first time in Lesotho and with the impulse of the British High Commissioner, we have jointly organised a competition to select girls aged 14 to 18 years old to shadow the Ambassadors and the United Nations Resident Coordinator during one day in March and then in the course of the year.

The initiative is aimed to offer opportunities to the girls to gain insights on a diplomatic career, to build their confidence and motivate them to break the glass ceiling.

60 girls have submitted essays and videos to explain how they could contribute to change in society for more gender equality.  

6 girls have been chosen and I will now ask each colleague to announce the name of the girls who will shadow them and that they will be mentoring.

For the EU, it will be Maphakisane Letlola, 15 years old of Lesotho High School, Grade 10.