In commemoration of International Women's Day, Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement today (8 March):
“There is still a lot of work to do to ensure that men and women truly have equal opportunities. That is why we must advance the protection of women's rights and gender equality worldwide. This remains an important goal for German foreign policy.
While we should be concerned about gender equality worldwide, we shouldn't overlook the fact that there is still pressing work to be done in Germany – as the most recent government report on the implementation of the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women shows. We cannot be satisfied with the status quo in Germany: in particular, we need to ensure that men and women's earnings finally converge!”
Within the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations, Germany is actively working for the realization of women's rights and especially to protect women from violence. The framework for German foreign policy on this issue is provided by the EU guidelines on violence against women, which entered into force at the end of 2008, the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security and Resolution 1820 regarding sexual violence.
German policy places a special emphasis on the role of women in crisis prevention, conflict management and post-conflict peacebuilding. The importance of gender equality and gender mainstreaming is also underlined by the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). A gender adviser was included in an EU mission for the first time in 2007 under the German Council Presidency. Meanwhile, nearly all ESDP missions now work with gender advisers on the ground.
The 53rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, part of the UN Economic and Social Council, is currently taking place in New York where Germany is represented as one of 45 member states. This year the Commission's priority theme is “The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS”. The Commission is also focusing on gender perspectives of the financial crisis as an emerging issue.