Ms. Liron Zaslansky
Gender equality is a fundamental principle that has long guided the Government of Israel. It is enshrined in our 1948 Declaration of Independence and in the 1951 Equal Rights for Women Law. Israel was the third country in the world to be led by a female Prime Minister, Golda Meir and women hold senior leadership positions throughout Israel today in government, business, law, and academia.
Over the last decade, Israel has advanced legislation and public awareness initiatives and expanded public budgets to improve the status of women in Israel. Under the leadership of the Israeli Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women, we have established numerous frameworks for mainstreaming gender.
Israel's Parliament has enacted a range of legislation to advance gender equality. For instance, the Law on Gender Implications in Legislation mandates that all bills are reviewed from a gender perspective before they are passed.
Israel is proud of the progress we have made to ensure women’s equality in our society – and is deeply committed to empowering women everywhere in the world. We are honored to serve as a member of the Commission on the Status of Women – the principal global policymaking body dedicated to gender equality and the advancement of women. We are especially proud to serve as Chair of the "Working Group on Communications" of the CSW.
Israel continues to strongly support the full implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 — adopted in 2000 — and its subsequent resolutions. In this regard, we welcome the increased deployment of gender advisers and the routine inclusion of provisions in peacekeeping mandates that protect women and girls from sexual violence. We also welcome the progress in gender mainstreaming, as noted in the Secretary General Report on the Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. While gender equality remains a priority within the work of our committee, most of the other General Assembly committees rarely refer to gender equality and the empowerment of women. The report also noted a significant decrease in the number of ECOSOC resolutions that refer to gender equality and women's empowerment. Promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women is integral for achieving all three pillars of the United Nations’ work: peace and security, development, and human rights. It is our duty to call on every body of the United Nations to fully mainstream a gender perspective into all issues under their consideration and within their mandates.
Israel greatly appreciates and supports the important work of UN WOMEN in promoting gender mainstreaming across the UN system. We welcome its growing presence in the field all over the world. Several of our embassies are working with UN WOMEN field offices on various projects and we hope to expand cooperation in the future. I would like to thank Executive Director Michelle Bachelet for her effective leadership—and to commend her dedicated team at UN WOMEN for their tireless work.
NGOs are a critical pillar for global efforts to empower women. We must expand partnerships with women's organizations and related NGOs and share best practices with them. In Israel we have a vibrant civil society that is dedicated to improving the status of women, regardless of political affiliation, religious outlook or ethnic origin.
While a change of policy will improve the condition of women today, only a change of attitude and mindset will ensure the truly equal status of women tomorrow. Education can guarantee that our daughters live in a society free of prejudice and discrimination. MASHAV – Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation — conducts numerous education programs for women. MASHAV’s Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center is one of the world’s oldest development training centers dedicated to the empowerment of women. Since 1961 it has trained over 17,500 women from over 150 different countries in Community Development, Early Childhood Education and Organization and Management of Microenterprises, all with gender as a cross-cutting issue.
Israel recognizes the integral link between empowering women and ending violence against women. As noted in the Secretary-General report "Intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women" (A/67/220), enhancing women's empowerment and independence is one of the most effective strategies to combat violence against women. Women who are educated and economically independent are better equipped to fight gender-based violence and discrimination. We welcome all the recommendations of the Secretary-General’s report on the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls, and look forward to the upcoming session of the CSW to continue discuss the best approach to ending all forms of violence against women.
Israel supports the Secretary General's UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign. In this respect, I am proud to announce that we joined the list of donors this year for the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.
We have made progress in empowering women around the world. However, we still have a long way to go to achieve the MDGs related to gender equality. We must seriously address issues like early and forced marriage, harmful traditional practices, female genital mutilation, honor killings and human trafficking. We must ensure that women have access to health services and information related to their sexual and reproductive rights. Finally, we must make certain that the empowerment of women and girls is a central pillar of the post-2015 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Gender equality is not a Women's issue – it is a Universal Human Rights issue. Societies that constrain and restrict women and do not treat them as equal will never be able to achieve their full potential.
The systematic challenges associated with true equality between women and men, girls and boys, remain considerable.
Israel looks forward to partnering with others to take advantage of the unique opportunities that lie before us. Together, we can make significant progress on mainstreaming gender on both the national and international scale.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.