The full participation of women will help build a more just and equal society [fr]

Security Council Arria-formula meeting on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda focusing on inequality in women’s participation in peace and political processes
Speech by Marlène Schiappa, Minister of State for Gender Equality and the Fight against Discrimination, attached to the Prime Minister
13 March 2019

Security Council Arria-formula meeting on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda focusing on inequality in women’s participation in peace and political processes
Speech by Marlène Schiappa, Minister of State for Gender Equality and the Fight against Discrimination, attached to the Prime Minister
March 13, 2019

Dear colleagues,
Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to welcome you all here this morning to discuss inequality between men and women with respect to participation in political processes.

We will be joined by five distinguished panel guests who will brief the Security Council and provide their personal accounts, which are key to strengthening women’s participation in peace processes:

- Asa Regner, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women
- Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict

I would like to reaffirm the full support of France and our authorities for them.

- Fatima Maïga, Coalition of Malian Women for the Women, Peace and Security Agenda
- Delphine Djiraïbe, Public Interest Law Center (PILC)
- Bineta Diop, Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Women, Peace and Security and President of Femmes Africa Solidarité

who defend Malian and Chadian women’s rights on the ground.

Before giving our full attention to them, I will first give a few introductory remarks in my national capacity.

I would first of all like to thank the nine Security Council members who agreed to co-sponsor this meeting: South Africa, Belgium, Côte d’Ivoire, the United States, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, Kuwait, Poland, Peru, the Dominican Republic and the United Kingdom, bringing the number of supporters of this initiative to 11.

I would also like to thank my ministerial colleagues who have joined us today.

France decided to jointly host with Germany this Arria-formula on inequality in women’s participation in peace and political processes because there is still a yawning gap between the current situation and a world in which women would truly and fully participate at all levels in peace processes and political life.

The figures are as striking as they are troubling: Only 2% of mediators, 5% of witnesses to and signatories of peace agreements and 8% of negotiators were women between 1990 and 2017, while women represent more than half of the world’s population (52% of the population). As I said on Monday, 50% is already a compromise. Worse still, the trend has been downward since the beginning of the 2010s. We must therefore take action. And the Security Council has a critical role to play.

I would like to draw your attention to three points:

1/ Women’s participation in peace processes extends their durability.

2/ It is also the best way to ensure future respect for their fundamental rights and the elimination of violence against women and girls.

According to data gathered in more than 40 countries, there is for example a positive correlation between the percentage of women in police forces and the number of complaints of sexual violence received. In Liberia, patrols conducted by UNMIL’s female police units have effectively contributed to reducing the number of gender-based violence incidents.

3/ The full and meaningful participation of women, on an equal footing with men, will help build a more just and equal society as a whole.

The role of women in our societies, especially in countries experiencing conflict, must not be limited to the role of victim. Women are also agents of change in their countries. As was the case for example in Tunisia. And they play a key role in reconstruction in all sectors, including political, economic, social and even cultural sectors.

So what can we do to improve women’s participation in peace processes?

We need a comprehensive and holistic response, that will make it possible to break down initial barriers and to address the underlying causes of the exclusion of women.

We must combat the continued use of stereotypes with respect to the role of women in society. Whether they stem from patriarchal social structures, a lack of understanding of the challenges associated with the role of women in conflict or a lack of political will, they lead to the same outcome: Women’s participation is hampered by a lack of willingness or negligence on the part of warring parties to take their situation and their demands into consideration. We therefore have a duty to take action: at the local, national and international level.

The Security Council must continue to do everything possible to implement the Women, Peace and Security Agenda and incorporate women’s participation in its daily work: For example, this month, the French presidency of the Security Council invited female civil society representatives to meetings on Afghanistan and South Sudan; this is also the case with respect to its resolutions and presidential statements and we can ensure that 100% of Security Council statements include provisions relating to the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. I sometimes hear that it must be relevant. I would be curious to know in which circumstances it is not relevant.

Above all, these provisions must be implemented on the ground.

The three levels of action that I described are especially relevant in the Sahel, which faces several challenges:

• extreme poverty and famine;

• terrorism – which, we must remember, specifically targets women, who are overwhelmingly the principle victims of sexual violence. In this respect, I would also like to commend the progress achieved following the signing of a joint communiqué between the UN, represented by Pramila Patten, and the Malian government. This is a very positive and very encouraging development;

• Climate risks – with a direct impact on women’s rights, especially with respect to their access to water and sanitation.

Coordinated action is therefore absolutely essential in order to guarantee the meaningful participation of women in all areas.

This is why President Macron decided to allocate €120 million in French official development assistance to projects that will help change women’s lives. Within the framework of the G7, France has partnered with Mauritania on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. We will also support initiatives that promote female entrepreneurship and women’s participation in security forces.

With this in mind, we must also strengthen our collective action on education, especially for young girls, and on training, including vocational training. These two areas are key to women’s participation in political, social and economic life. It is in this spirit that France signed an agreement with Niger to provide €15 million to the new “Education Sector Fund” led by the prime minister. This fund is key to promoting girls’ enrolment in school.

Men and boys have a key role to play in supporting this change. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote in her manifesto on a feminist education: “Let’s do it together.” Peace also means peace between men and women.

We must fight against mansplaining at all levels: Women have expertise that must be highlighted and fully integrated into decision-making processes.

During his visit to Chad in December, President Macron reaffirmed the key role of women in the region’s development by meeting with 100 female Chadian entrepreneurs and by proposing plans for a female entrepreneurship bank. This action is complemented by support for a socio-economic recovery project to promote food security and community resilience for host, returning and displaced households affected by the Boko Haram crisis in the Lake Chad region: The aim is in particular to increase women’s empowerment and allow them to become leaders in their communities. Lastly, France supports the training of women serving in armed and security forces: In 2018, it supported the training of 21% of female trainees at the Military Paramedic Personnel School of Niamey and the training of women enrolled in courses at regionally-focused national schools in Burkina Faso and Mali.

You can depend on France to remain totally committed to fully implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda and to promoting it based on a comprehensive approach within the framework of the G7 and of course at the Security Council, under the auspices of Ambassador François Delattre, in the run-up to the agenda’s 20th anniversary in 2020.

Thank you for your attention.

Dernière modification : 15/03/2019

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