Dr Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement today (8 March) marking International Women’s Day:
I am both concerned and hopeful as I look at the situation of women around the world.
In many places, women’s rights are still being trampled underfoot, and achievements are being wiped out. Women in many countries are being handed down prison sentences only because they are demanding their rights through constitutional means, women’s reproductive rights are being restricted, and women are paid less for equal work. As in many other areas, the coronavirus lens has magnified problems, exposing women’s precarious position – last year’s shocking increase in domestic violence is only one particularly brutal example of this.
But it also fills me with hope to see the courage that a large number of women around the world are showing as they advocate for their rights. I have spoken with many of them. Women are leading democracy movements, they are fighting for the rights of women employees, and they are getting organised on the internet. Protecting and supporting these inspirational people must remain a key focus of foreign policy. I will continue to work towards this goal.
We will be matching these words with deeds by making more money available to human rights projects, as well as through a new programme to protect human rights defenders.
The fight for equal opportunity is also a key security policy issue. I am proud that Germany has taken a leading role in this regard. For example, last week, we presented our new National Action Plan to implement the Women, Peace and Security agenda, through which we are fighting for women to play a central role in peace processes. In the world’s trouble spots, we can clearly see that, for peace to be sustainable, women must be part of this effort. For we know that only when women play a full and equal role can a society actually move forward.