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Statement of the Minister of Social Protection H.E. Mr. Margus Tsahkna, at the UN Commission of the Status of the Women 60th session, 15 March, 2016

16.03.2016

Excellences, distinguished members of delegations and civil society,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Estonia aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union earlier.

Adoption of the 2030 agenda gives us all a strong impetus to take more decisive steps towards achieving gender equality. I am pleased to see that not only was a separate goal set to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, gender aspect is also highlighted in other key policy areas.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the 21st century, no effort made without a joint international commitment is enough to bring about real and durable change.

Last September in New York, many world leaders took a stand on behalf of their country, making a pledge to step it up to close the gender gap. Estonia specifically committed to work actively towards:

-       Reducing the gender pay gap in Estonia;

-       preventing and reducing violence against women in the world;

-       continuing to promote women`s rights and gender equality at global level;

-       and opening opportunities for women in ICT, where we already stand out.

Estonian government will soon adopt the first development plan that includes also strategic view on gender equality policy. Our main aim from 2016 to 2023 will be to promote equal economic independence of women and men, balanced participation of them at all levels of decision-making and management, and to tackle gender stereotypes. The activities will also contribute to reducing gender pay gap, guaranteeing efficient legal protection against gender-based discrimination and supporting institutional capacity to promote gender equality.

Estonia is putting also a remarkable effort into preventing gender based violence and supporting its victims. A new comprehensive strategy to Prevent Violence for the period of 2015-2020 was adopted by the Government last year.

Dear Colleagues,

Estonia is committed to promoting women’s rights and gender equality also on a global level.

The work of UN Women has been essential in advancing women’s human rights in the world. As one of the founders, Estonia is committed to continue to support its work.

Estonia has also taken upon itself to concentrate on women’s human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women in its development cooperation.

We are committed to spreading the knowledge and possibilities that ICT brings to education, considering an access to quality education to be a key to empowerment of women and girls. Development of digitalization helps to create better educational opportunities to children in remote rural areas and in conflict situation where access to schools and teachers is limited or missing.

We firmly believe also in the wider positive impact that ICTs and related knowledge has on the economic and political empowerment of women. Women and girls who have access to Internet and skills to use ICTs have numerous new opportunities in life. From one hand, they have access to information and a possibility to learn about their own rights. On the other hand, this enables women to participate in a modern society on more equal terms with men. Use of ICTs provides women with an opportunity to make their voice more easily and widely heard, therefore also louder and more influential.

It has been proven that ICTs and related knowledge directly contribute to economic empowerment of women from which the community as a whole - men and women, boys and girls – benefits. Based on this assumption,  Estonia has, for example, supported a project in Afghanistan where local women received a thorough six-month IT training according to the needs of local entrepreneurs which brought about improvement of the employment rate and subsistence of women in that specific region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank you, and I wish us continuation of a lively and fruitful discussion.

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