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Promoting gender equality and women’s rights must be a priority for all OSCE states

DUBLIN, 8 March 2012 – Promoting gender equality and ensuring women’s participation in political, public and economic spheres must be central to the work of the OSCE and all 56 participating States, said the Tánaiste and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Mr.  Eamon Gilmore T.D., marking International Women’s Day.

"Achieving a more secure, peaceful and democratic OSCE area in the long term is impossible without full and equal participation of women.  The Irish Chairmanship of the OSCE calls on the participating States to implement all of the gender-related commitments in politico-military, economic and environmental, as well as human dimension areas, and will continue to examine ways to integrate into the activities of the Organisation the relevant parts of UN Security Council resolution 1325 and related resolutions.”

He underlined the significant role of women and the need to ensure their increased representation in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building. “The participation of women in conflict resolution and peace processes is essential for establishing constructive dialogue with all stakeholders, and for accommodating all gender-specific concerns at all stages of the conflict cycle.”

The Tánaiste emphasised that “Gender-based violence remains a most serious problem, affecting women in all countries, of all classes and all backgrounds.  Preventing violence against women is one of the key commitments contained in the OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality and requires systematic follow-up.  The Irish Chairmanship will seek to focus greater attention on this issue during 2012.”

“In Ireland we are active members of the Joint Consortium on Gender-based Violence, which draws together Irish Aid, the Defence Forces and Irish human rights, development and humanitarian NGOs to work on responding more effectively to gender-based violence.  To mark International Women’s Day the Consortium is holding a conference in Dublin today on the Health and Social Consequences of Violence Against Women and Girls.”

The Tánaiste also stressed the importance of promoting equal opportunity for women in the economic sphere, including labour market participation. “We need to address obstacles which prevent women from fulfilling their potential and effectively contributing to economic security and prosperity in the OSCE region,” he said, adding that this is increasingly important in times of economic hardship.

The Tánaiste stressed the commitment of the Irish Chairmanship to advancing gender equality within the OSCE and its participating States, saying “I decided earlier this year to appoint an OSCE Special Representative on Gender Issues, Ms June Zeitlin. In addition to identifying key programmatic issues that could advance gender equality commitments in OSCE states, I have asked her to explore ways to increase coordination on gender issues within and between the OSCE Secretariat and Institutions, and to identify barriers to increasing representation of women in the OSCE, particularly in senior positions.