‘Right across the world, every woman and girl should be free to exercise her freedoms, her choices, and realise her rights. This includes her right to live free from violence, her right to control her own body, to go to school, to participate fully and freely in political processes and to earn equal pay for equal work.’
This year’s thematic focus on rural women and girls provided a strong platform for discussions on gender equality and the rights of women and girls often living far from health clinics, justice systems and social services.
The Commission expressed concern 1.6 billion people still live in multidimensional poverty, nearly 80 per cent of the extreme poor live in rural areas, and progress in the eradication of poverty has been uneven. Head of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka noted “we have heard clearly from the women and girls themselves what they want: from the rights to own property, to the need for quality infrastructure, to the rights to make decisions about their own bodies and lives,” and the Agreed Conclusions of the Commission reflected these calls.
Australian representatives including Ambassador for Women and Girls Sharman Stone and Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer spoke in sessions around the Commission on the work of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Male Champions for Change program, and National Human Rights Institutions.