First and foremost, I would like to pay tribute to the women who are gathered here today. I have had the opportunity to meet many of you over the last 6 months and I have been so impressed by the work that you do in each of your fields. I know from my own experience that no matter what country you come from your journey has not been easy. Gender parity simply does not exist in any country in the world. According to the latest report by the World Economic Forum it will take another hundred years before the world equality gap between men and women disappears entirely.
As Hanna so eloquently put it just now, gender equality is about ensuring that women and men have the same power to shape their society and their own lives. Unfortunately, this is far from reality. In the European Union, gender equality is a fundamental value enshrined in our treaties and we are proud of the fact that Europe is one of the safest and most equal places for women in the world. However, we acknowledge that even in Europe women still face harassment, abuse and violence. Women still too often receive lower pay and fewer opportunities for career and business development.
Excerpt: “no stopping us now: the adventures of older women in american history”
But we know that we can and must do better. Advancing women's leadership and economic empowerment is an absolute priority for the EU. We want girls and women to achieve equality in all aspects of life: access to education, equal pay for equal work, access to top positions in companies and politics as well as protection from violence, both inside the EU and outside.
Gender equality is not just about fairness and justice in Europe — it is also a necessity to achieve sustainable peace, security, development, economic prosperity and growth around the world. To quote the youngest Nobel Prize laureate and activist for female education Malala: we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.
This year, the EU assumes the leadership of the "Call to Action for Protection Against Gender-Based Violence" This initiative brings together over 60 countries and organisations to ensure that gender-based violence is addressed in humanitarian crises. This sadly is a very real issue in South Sudan. According to the United Nations, one in every four women experience gender-based violence in South Sudan on a daily basis. More than half of young women between the ages of 24 have suffered some form of gender-based violence.
And we know too that gender based violence is also perpetrated against men in this conflict. In supporting the current efforts to find peace, we should be conscious that we are sowing seeds for a future society where there must be no place for gender based violence. We must encourage women to speak out on the impact of violence on their lives and their hopes for the peace to come. This enables women to transcend their differences and speak not only for their family, group or party but the wider constituency of women. In encouraging women to speak out and press for progress we most lead by example.
Men and women must ensure that our mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces female colleagues and friends have an equal opportunity to be heard, listened to and understood in our homes, our workplaces and in society at large. As individuals we must question when women are silent; why do they not speak, why do they not express their views, what are the barriers? I would like to take this opportunity to thank Embassy of Sweden Juba Office for co-hosting this event. We are very fortunate in Europe to have a whole country which has become a gender champion. In conclusion, investing in the potential of women and girls is an investment in our whole society and is the responsibility of men and boys as much as women and girls across the globe.
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Statements on behalf of the EU. You might be interested in. It is the first visit in South Sudan by a member of the EU executive body since The humanitarian situation across South Sudan is so dire that aid alone will not resolve the situation, the European Union Commissioner for Crisis Management has said as he wound up his two Ambassador Bader calls for more transparent management of oil resources Ambassador Christian Bader speaking at the first EITI Conference on Wednesday.
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