Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Women, has pledged to ensure that ‘gender equality is at the top of the international agenda’. She also stressed that, ‘this is, beyond doubt, a critical time for gender equality’.
Speaking to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, Dinenage spoke of the continued need to campaign for and raise awareness of gender equality.
She said, “There is no time to be complacent. It is over twenty years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was agreed and yet people continue to be disadvantaged, abused and even killed for simply being born female. We, in this room, need to show determination against forces that are hindering progress: discrimination, regressive ideas, and harmful social norms.”
Dinenage concluded that the UK was ‘lucky’ to have been making progress towards gender equality.
She went on to highlight that in the UK, there are more women in work and more women-led businesses than ever before; the UK has achieved the lowest ever gender pay gap on record; and has more than doubled women’s representation on boards since 2011.
However, she went on to say that, “economic freedom must go hand in hand with social freedom, and in particular the right to live without fear.”
Last week, the government launched the Violence Against Women and Girls strategy, which aims to prevent violence, support victims and take action against abusers. It was also announced that the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women was to be extended to the Cayman Island and Anguila.
Concluding Dinenage said, “I wish we could bottle the courage and the vision of those early campaigners and use it to counter the tiredness and cynicism of much public debate on gender equality. But while I am here at the CSW, surrounded by wise, passionate and committed women, I realise perhaps we already have.”