Pendarovski: Gender equality is a precondition for free, developed, democratic, just and open society

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Today, upon celebrating women’s fight for economic, political and social equality, as well as their achievements in multiple spheres, we should be reminded more than ever that this battle for equality and a dignified life is ongoing, President Stevo Pendarovski said.

Despite the increased awareness of women’s rights, the adopted legal solutions and programs, on the road to equality we still face 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 key 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 pay and access and working 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 precondition for a free, developed, democratic, just and open society. I applaud the efforts of all stakeholders working to promote gender equality and 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 by prejudice and stereotypes, said the president.