Allow me to thank the Secretary General for assembling this high-level meeting to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women.
We are facing extraordinary challenges in time of COVID-19 which unfortunately has deepened the pre-pandemic gender inequalities. It is only stressing the importance of the transformative global vision for empowering women and girls, as laid down in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
A quarter of a century later, the declarations from the Fourth World Conference remain a powerful reminder of our incomplete endeavours, but, still stood as an inspiration for mobilisation and accountability for the obligations we took for gender equality.
North Macedonia is among the member-states that have sustained the Beijing Declaration and committed to achieve gender equality by removing systemic barriers and accordingly, enabling equal rights and liberties for all women.
Over the last two decades we have improved the legislation and set up institutional mechanisms for advancing gender equality. We have recorded respectable progress in education, partial progress in health and reproductive rights of women and in prevention and protection from gender-based and domestic violence.
There has been also substantial progress in political participation of women as a result of quotas for representation in Parliament. In general, 78% of the national development plans are aligned with the fifth goal for sustainable development – achieving gender equality.
Of course, there is a long road ahead to accomplishing the necessary changes as stipulated in the Beijing Declaration. Progress is still insufficient to overcoming barriers when it comes to employment, discrimination in the labour market, gender pay gap or unpaid labour at home.
We have committed to work on the 5th SDG, especially on elimination of all forms of violence against women, their access to justice and comprehensive participation on every level and equal access to economic resources. In parallel to all of this, however, massive challenge is changing the gender stereotypes.
Even in the time of the pandemic, we must not forget what is crucial. Crucial is to demonstrate political will and tangible effort on empowering women and girls. We must not lose the achievements from the past decades. We have to support the feminist movements, through dedicated work and multilateral cooperation on national, regional and global level.
Gender equality is our common task. It should be a legacy for the new generations to leave a world where women and girls enjoy equal rights in every field, a world of which every human can be proud of.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you for your attention.