I have the honour of making this intervention on behalf of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden.
A gender perspective is integral to all the work of this Council. It is about capturing the different realities experienced by women and men. Gender is therefore not a ‘women’s issue’ to be treated separately from country situations, or from other thematic initiatives.
But for women’s and girls’ ability to fulfill their entire spectrum of rights – they need to have their bodily autonomy and integrity secured.
Women’s and girls’ full enjoyment of human rights apply everywhere – including in the private sphere.
Sexual coercion, forced pregnancy, gender based and sexual violence, child-, early- and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation – not only constitute severe violations of human rights. They also pose real obstacles for women’s and girls’ meaningful and equal participation in political, economic, and social life.
We need to deal with these issues from a human rights perspective, and not merely address them in terms of health. Women’s and girls’ empowerment and participation at all levels depend on it.
The Nordic-Baltic countries wish to stress the need for more gender informed mandates and terms of reference. We would like to see more women appointed as Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts. This requires proactive measures to support women candidatures and a gender-informed selection process. We believe that human rights reporting and analysis is greatly strengthened by gender disaggregation, and that women and girls need to be systematically consulted. Training on gender should be mandatory for all UN staff AND, including specialized training for senior management. In the field, UN leaders and managers should be required to meet with women's groups, and female and male youth groups on a regular basis. Responsibility and accountability mechanisms for this should be put in place.
Gender equality means freedom for women and men, boys and girls. Because it allows us to transcend restricted and pre-determined social roles. And it allows our societies to prosper and progress.
I thank you, Mr. President.