Statement by Ms. Tekea Tesfamichael
President of the National Union of Eritrean Women during the High-Level Meeting on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the
Fourth World Conference on Women Asmara, 1 October 2020
Excellencies and Distinguished Colleagues,
I have the honor to address this august gathering on behalf of the Eritrean women in the country and the diaspora.
25 years ago, we committed to a historic declaration in the most comprehensive, progressive and critical way to advance the agenda of women everywhere.
We made a solemn pledge to ensure women’s equality and protect the rights and dignity of every woman. Beijing, however, is not only a commitment for women, but also a vision to build a better world, as without unleashing the boundless potential of women we cannot achieve peace and sustainable development.
Since Beijing globally progress has been achieved in alignment with the commitments of national policies and legal reforms by increasing programs for gender equality and women empowerment, enhancing access to education and health, combating violence against women as well as targeting harmful practices and discriminatory laws.
While progress can be hailed, it has been uneven and limited in its scope across regions and countries. No country has fully achieved the full aspirations of
Beijing and many challenges remain. This should not deter our enthusiasm to make further progress.
An important lesson from implementing the Beijing agenda is the elimination of the long term systemic structural barriers and negative patriarchal social norms which remain a very challenging task.
Moving forward, we need to be cognizant of not only new challenges but on concretizing the existing achievements and avoid losing our hard -won gains. We have to remain committed to emancipate women from the yoke of structural discrimination and create conditions for their meaningful contributions in all spheres of life through implementing programs for economic, social and political empowerment.
In Eritrea, the struggle for women’s equality has always been part and parcel of the struggle for self-determination and nation-building.
In the past 25 years much progress has been made in transforming societal norms and practices and enacting laws to eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women. Through our grassroots advocacy and resolve, and the commitment of the Government, underage marriage and female genital mutilation are illegal, equal access to land is guaranteed by law, and gender equality and empowerment of women is mainstreamed in national policies and programs.
Eritrea has been making a synergic approach among its gover nmental institutions for the coordinated implementation and monitoring of progress in achieving the Beijing Program of Action and in 2017 it conducted a comprehensive assessment for the status of gender equality and the empowerment of women across the board.
Our progress is still modest, and much remains to be done. We believe active community participation, leadership commitment, and strong grassroots organization will enable us to consolidate and further our gains.
In conclusion, let us collectively reaffirm our commitment in order to ensure a full implementation of the 12 critical areas of Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
You can count on the partnership of the Eritrean women and their organization—the National Union of Eritrean Women—to make the dream of Beijing a reality.
I thank you, Mr. President