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Speech by Minister of State Michelle Müntefering at the Women’s Night In

27.11.2020 - Speech

In the 70s Bob Marley wrote one of his most famous songs: No Woman, No Cry. He wrote this song when he heard a woman sobbing after a fight with her husband. Bob Marley encouraged her to stop crying and to empower herself.

In another song he added: Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!

Women don’t need to be told. They are willing to stand up for their rights. And they have done so for a long time. The willingness to assume responsibility was the rhythm of Bejing in 1995. And it was the tune of Resolution 1325 that was adopted in the year 2000. Back then, a little revolution.

20 years later, the tonality has changed. The minor key has gained ground. We all know: the tide against gender equality is rising fast. Principles and rights that we have agreed upon decades ago are once again questioned.

The WPS anniversary this year is a reminder that we must stem the tide. And there is no excuse not to do so.

If the voices of those who try to shout women down are on the rise, there is no use for solo artists. What we need, is a strong and united chorus.

That is why Elke Büdenbender and I have decided to organize this Women’s Night. Many women who participated last year at Villa Borsig in Berlin asked us to have a new edition this year. And here it is. Virtual, digital, IN.

Of course, we would very much have liked to meet you all in person. But the digital format has a big advantage: a much larger crowd of women has the chance to tune in. And I’m glad so many did.

Unfortunately the Foreign Office does not have a delivery service, so you have to get your glass of wine or water on your own. For me this is literally a take away for the future.

Ladies, I’m glad you’re all here. Because: Corona makes gender equality even more important. We want to bring together women from all over the world. Women, who are committed to the fight for gender equality.

The virus is not only a medical threat. It must be our political goal that our societies get out of this crisis stronger than they have got into it. And: There are always ways to get ahead.

This year, for the first time, the Federal Foreign Office has systematically taken stock of its past and future engagement in both gender equality and “women, peace and security”. This is what we learned: We are doing well. But WPS is not yet entirely “in our DNA”. That is a very diplomatic way to put it.  

Finally, our room for ideas, especially here in the foreign office is wide open.

We have made the Women, Peace and Security agenda a priority of our Security Council membership and we support the work of the African Women Leaders Network and the Latin American-German Women’s Network Unidas.

Through our project funding, we are strengthening women in conflict prevention, peacebuilding, stabilisation and reconstruction in contexts of fragility. But we have to go further.

- We will mainstream “Women, Peace and Security” in our training programmes

- We will make sure that diplomats are aware of the peace-inclusivity nexus from the beginning of their careers.

- Also, we will establish WPS focal points in our embassies in fragile settings and in our missions to multilateral institutions.

Regarding the implementation of the WPS agenda, we will focus on “women peacebuilders in peace processes.” Support, funding and protection are the three keywords here.

Ladies,

Women around the world show that they are able and willing to take their equal share. The peaceful revolution in Sudan would not have been possible without them.

And as we speak, courageous women in Belarus defy an autocrat who claims women belong to the kitchen table and not to the government bench.

Their courage is our obligation. Let’s strike the chord of female empowerment and of equal participation together.

Bob Marley sang: No Women, No Cry. Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights! A powerful message. But of course, after all from a male perspective.

Of course we could also frame it: Talking about a Revolution.

However, I`m glad that tonight we will have a powerful female performance. Because we all know: It`s the women’s talent that was underestimated for decades.

Our lyrics are: No Women, no Fairness. No Women, no Justice. No Women, no Peace.

Thank you for joining us and have a great Women’s Night In!

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