The Wife of the president, Ms. Elizabeta Gjorgievska, addressed today the opening of the High-Level Regional Conference “The Power of Choice: Realizing Bodily Autonomy for Women and Girls”, which was held in the Cabinet of the President of the Republic of North Macedonia. The Conference, hosted by Ms. Gjorgievska, is held in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund – UNFPA, under the auspices of President Stevo Pendarovski.
In her address, Ms. Gjorgievska said that bodily autonomy is a fundamental human right, and yet as such remains elusive for far too many women and girls worldwide, emphasizing that the gathering aims to encourage dialogue and amplify the voices of those who have long are marginalized.
“Let this Conference be a testament to our commitment, our compassion and our collective will to make a difference”, Ms. Gjorgievska said in her address.
Jovana Trenchevska, Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Florence Bauer, UNFPA Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Rossana Dudzak, Permanent Coordinator of the United Nations in North Macedonia and Diene Keita, Deputy Director (Program) of UNFPA via a video address.
Through 4 panels on different topics, the speakers at the Conference will give an overview of the exercise of the right to bodily autonomy, will debate the barriers to access to healthcare, education and economic opportunities.
The last panel of the Conference, which starts at 16:00, will be addressed by Armanda Begaj, Wife of the President of the Republic of Albania, Mirela Becirovic, Wife of the member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Elizabeta Gjorgievska, Wife of the President of the Republic of North Macedonia, Tamara Vucic, Wife of the President of the Republic of Serbia, and Ales Musar, Husband of the President of the Republic of Slovenia. The wives of the presidents of the Republic of Croatia and Ukraine, Sanja Music Milanović and Olena Zelenska, will also addressed the panel via a video message.
The Conference is attended by about 100 representatives from the state and the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the UN, the international community, policy makers, women leaders, representatives of civil society, youth, experts and other stakeholders.
Bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights are key to progress towards gender equality, the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the goals of the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo, Egypt, in 1994.
Below is the full text of Ms. Gjorgievska’s opening remarks.
„Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure that I extend a warm and heartfelt welcome to Skopje to each and every one of you.
We are honored to host this crucial gathering under the auspices of the President of North Macedonia and I am delighted to co-host this event alongside UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.
Bodily autonomy is a fundamental human right, and yet, it remains elusive for far too many women and girls worldwide. It is a matter of profound importance that we come together today to address this issue and work towards meaningful change. Through this gathering, we aim to spark a transformative dialogue and amplify the voices of those who have long been marginalized. We are here to listen, to learn, and to forge a path forward that respects and upholds the autonomy, dignity, and rights of women and girls.
The United Nations Population Fund, our invaluable partner in this endeavor, has been at the forefront of advocating for the rights of women and girls around the world. Together, we will work tirelessly to ensure that the power of choice is a reality for all, regardless of their background or circumstances.
Thank you for being here today, for your dedication to this cause, and for your unwavering support. Let this conference be a testament to our commitment, our compassion, and our collective will to make a difference.
Thank you once again, and I look forward to fruitful discussions and collaborative actions during this conference.“