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Grußwort von Staatsministerin Müntefering zum ersten Treffen “Women, Faith and Diplomacy” von Religions for Peace

10.11.2020 - Rede

Did you follow the general debate of the United Nations via live stream this year?

If so, then you probably had a déjà vu during the first one and a half days: an endless series of black suits.

Diversity was, once again, limited to the question: “spotty or stripy tie”. It took one and a half days before a woman had the chance to be heard.

And that is: 20 years after the adoption of resolution 1325 on “Women, Peace and Security”. And 25 years after the declaration of Beijing.

We know that women around the world engage for peace and human rights.

We know that peace agreements, where women are involved, are more stable and durable.

We know that diversity strengthens innovations, efficiency and sustainability.

We know all of this. And still: progress is happening at a snail’s pace.

We finally need progress.

There are growing frictions in many parts of the world. Women can and must play an important role when we’re deciding in which society we want to live in.

Women are as much part of these societies as men are.

It is crucial that women are represented in governments, parliaments, in NGOs and: religious organizations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is often the women of faith who are at the forefront as bridge-builders and mediators in communities. Women of faith who engage in social and educational work as teachers, health care or community workers.

Also amidst the global COVID 19-pandemic, women of faith have stood up and answered the call of service everywhere in the world – across the entire spectrum of religious communities.

Yet, their commitment is very often not sufficiently acknowledged. They are not as visible as men are.

They do a fantastic and decisive job on the ground, but often not in leadership positions.

It’s high time that we put the engagement of these women into the spotlight!

It matters, if religious actors and faith-based organizations engage for women’s full and equal participation.

You’re voice matters.

Religion and gender equality is no contradiction but should go hand in hand.

When I met Hamsatu Allamin from Nigeria at the Munich Security Conference she told me her story: After her eldest son was kidnapped by Boko Haram, she became a peace activist. She is now at the heart of efforts to make peace, speaking to victims and former fighters alike.

With her engagement, she makes one thing clear: religion is not something that should divide us. It should be a source of strength, to stand together.

She shares her conviction with you.

“Religions for Peace” has been engaging in the field of interreligious dialogue for 50 years now.

During the next days you will raise the profile of women of faith in leadership roles. You will enable them to share their perspective, their experience and their expertise.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If one asked, what diplomacy and religion have in common, one answer could be: They are both traditionally not really champions of gender equality.

We can and must do better.

one key priority is the implementation of Resolution 1325 “Women, Peace and Security”.

Therefore we will create focal points in our embassies. And we will mainstream Women Peace and Security in our entire foreign policy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The tide against equal rights is rising fast. There are many people that would like to undo the progress of the past decades and push women to the sidelines again.

It is important to counter these efforts, right now. Men and women, religious and secular organizations alike.

Thank you for your efforts and for your work.


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