Estonian Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand called for more action to be taken on gender equality in politics and the economy at an international conference in Georgia, saying “everyone benefits” from affirmative action.
Kaljurand spoke at the Achieving Gender Equality conference in Tbilisi during her trip to Georgia on Tuesday.
She said: "The United Nations Beijing Declaration and Action Plan was adopted 20 years ago and the Security Council Resolution 1325 on "Women, Peace and Security" 15 years ago. The achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women is also high on the list of the United Nations sustainable development goals in the Agenda 2030."
"The political agreements and legal frameworks are in place – now the countries need to start implementing them more efficiently. Everyone benefits from a larger proportion of women in politics and the economy - equal participation will revitalize the economy and increase overall satisfaction," she said.
Kaljurand also stated that while in Estonia there are a low number of women in fields such as politics, the proportion of women in diplomacy and the field of security, on the other hand, is cause for celebration.
"Stereotypes must actively be broken. An excellent example from Estonia is the teaching of programming to first-grade students – children of this age never think that only boys with ponytails deal with computers. People deal with the things they are interested in," she said.
In addition to official meetings, Kaljurand took part in the opening event of the twinning project "Strengthening of e-governance in Georgia – Phase II", led by the E-Governance Academy and funded by the European Commission. She also gave a lecture at Ilia State University and met with representatives of the opposition to discuss the movements the nation has made towards a visa-free travel plan with Europe.
"Georgia has done a very good job and has taken the necessary steps to achieve visa-free travel. I hope that the European Commission's evaluation will be a positive one," Kaljurand said.
However, she also expressed concern about judicial independence and the situation regarding freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Georgia.
"Although the last few years have shown positive developments in these areas, recent events have created concerns and questions," Kaljurand noted.
Editor: H. Wright