On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, President Stevo Pendarovski sent the following message:
Today, when we mark the struggle of women for economic, political and social equality, as well as the achievements in many spheres, let us remember that the struggle for women’s rights is daily and is still a struggle for equality and a dignified life.
Despite the increased awareness of women’s rights, the adopted legal solutions and programs, on the road to equality we are still facing many challenges in terms of consistent implementation of policies, as well as in terms of education and changing gender stereotypes and norms. Women are still underrepresented in political and economic positions where key decisions are made, and economic inequality is clearly visible in a number of sectors where women face discrimination in both salary and access and work conditions. The need for systematic and consistent legal action of the relevant institutions is key to preventing and protecting against violence against women.
Conflicts and peace operations show us that women can be equally at the forefront, resolutely fighting for justice, contributing to conflict resolution, and often women are the victims of war crimes. Not only today, but every day we need to pay tribute to the courage of women in military conflicts and their role in reconciliation.
The pandemic has confronted us with growing inequality in many areas. Faced with the challenges, women again bore the brunt of the burden, taking on multiple roles and unpaid labor in maintaining homes, educating children, and caring for the elderly.
We have a shared responsibility to assess how the decisions we make and the public policies we create affect women. We all have responsibilities, but above all the relevant institutions and political actors, for the changes that will enable greater participation of women in politics, decision-making, policy-making, process management, economic development, science and innovation.
Gender equality is a prerequisite for a free, developed, democratic, just and open society. I applaud the efforts of all stakeholders working to promote gender equality and to create a society in which women can make their own life decisions, free from gender-based violence and sexism, a society in which girls will not be hindered to develop further by prejudice and stereotypes.
Happy 8th of March!