I have the honour of making this intervention on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Gender equality is sometimes perceived to be a soft optional extra: A women’s issue to be treated in separation from other more pressing and strategic concerns.
It is not.
Evidence shows that gender equality and empowerment of women are among the most effective ways of achieving sustainable peace and economic development.
Gender equality is both the smart thing and the right thing to do.
The human rights of women are indivisible.
To attain gender equality, women’s increased participation and influence in political, economic and social decision-making is fundamental.
Gender based and sexual violence remains a very real obstacle to women’s empowerment. Domestic violence is not a private issue – but a block to societal development.
The way to fully integrate a gender perspective – in the work of the UN and of the Human Rights Council – is to become detailed and operational.
The Nordic countries believe there is a need for appointing more women as Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts. We call for gender informed mandates and terms of reference. Reporting and analysis will be strengthened by disaggregation by gender. Where you get information from is key. Women as rights holders need to be systematically consulted. To track progress on, for instance, women’s right to own property, to inherit, and to decent paid jobs – we also need monitoring and evaluation. In this Council we should aim to have at least one representative of the underrepresented sex as speaker in panel discussions and events.
The Human Rights Council and its Special Procedures cannot be treated in isolation.
The entire UN system needs to intensify its efforts on gender equality. Men need to actively participate.
For this to happen, training on gender should be mandatory for all UN staff, including specialized training for senior management. UN leaders and managers in the field should be required to meet with women's groups and civil society regularly and within the first weeks of their posting.
Ultimately, gender equality means freedom for women and men. Because it allows the overall fulfillment of human potential – beyond restricted and pre-determined social roles.
I thank you, Mr. President.