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rethinking women's empowerment and gender equality at unesco

Lilianne Picard, ICJW Unesco Representative - 5 March 2015.

The UNESCO meeting was chaired by Mrs Irina Bokova, Director of Unesco, and drew a very large audience.

After Mrs Bokova’s introduction, the floor was given to key speakers, who were very remarkable women:

Mrs Tsetska Tsacheva, First President of the National Assembly of Bulgaria explained the importance of the role of women in politics and the economy;

S.E Dr Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice President of Iran and Director of the Organisation for the Protection of the Environment, who plays a very important role in the fight for women's rights in her country; she explained that women play a very important part in Iran in politics, education, economics;

S. E Madame Laura Chinchilla, First President of Costa Rica from 2010 to 2014, who has fought against organized crime, public corruption, domestic violence and crime against children; she explained the importance of women in her country; she said that equality of gender has been completed in her country;

Madame Gertude Mangelia, former General Secretary of the 4th Conference on Women in 1995, who has been Minister in charge of the condition of women; she is now a member of the Parliament of Tanzania, of the Parliament of East Africa and of the Pan African Parliament; she spoke of the difficult situation of women in Africa but said that, in many countries, this situation is evolving;

Mrs Nicole Ameline, President of the Committee for Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. She is a member of the French Parliament and was Minister of Parity and Professional Equality until May 2005; she spoke about the importance of including women's rights in the general development;

Mrs Hynd Ayoubi Idrissi, who is a professor of Law at Rabat University, is a member of the Committee on children's rights. She is a member of the Unesco Chair 'Woman and her Rights" at the Law School of Rabat (Morocco) and she is an expert at UN Women and at the International NGO "Earth of Men"; she pointed out the importance of legislative measures and means to implement them.

It is difficult to summarize the interventions, but they all concluded that, while important progress has been made, there is still a lot of work to do. There will be no real democracy in the world until equality is reached between men and women. All the speakers agreed upon the importance of Unesco and praised Mrs Bokova for her action.

In conclusion, there is still a lot to achieve but let us hope that women will take their destiny in their own hands and reach their goals.