Excerpts from the daily press briefing by Bernard Valero, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesman (Paris, 7 March 2012)
International Women’s Day – March 8, 2012
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, France would like to reaffirm its commitment to promoting women’s rights and equality between men and women.
Several events are being organized by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs :
- A symposium at the Arab World Institute today is dedicated to the “Arab Springs : Women’s Spring ?” This symposium, which will bring together many personalities from the Arab world, including Tunisia’s Minister for Women and Family Affairs and Yemen’s Human Rights Minister, was opened this morning by Ms. Roselyne Bachelot, Minister for Solidarity and Social Cohesion.
- A debate will take place tomorrow morning at the Quai d’Orsay led by Mr. Alain Juppé, with the participation of the speakers from the symposium at the Arab World Institute, as well as French female parliamentarians and several Paris-based female ambassadors. The Ministre d’Etat will pay tribute to the role of women in the Arab Springs and will signal his attachment to the freedoms that they fight for.
Within the United Nations, France contributed to the adoption of the Security Council resolutions on “Women, peace and security” and adopted a national action plan to implement them in October 2010. These resolutions underscore the need to strengthen the protection of women in conflicts and establish the principle that women must participate fully in decision making processes on an equal footing with men, a key factor in establishing and maintaining lasting peace.
France also actively participated in drafting the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, to which it was one of the first signatories (May 2011), and the ratification process of which is under way.
It fully supports UN Women, the UN body devoted to promoting women’s rights, with which it is implementing several cooperation activities :
- a program to combat violence in the Arab world (Algeria, Jordan, Morocco) and sub-Saharan Africa (Cameroon, Mali, Niger), with funding of €1.5 million over 3 years ;
- a program to promote women’s access to justice in Afghanistan (€500,000) ;
- within the framework of the Muskoka G8 Summit, France pledged to devote a further €500 million to the fight against maternal and infant mortality. A partnership was concluded with “UN Women,” with funding amounting to €5 million over 5 years (2011-2015).