Women in the public sphere, including journalists, human rights activists and women in politics, are particularly targeted by intimidation, hate speech and sexual harassment, according to a joint statement to Agerpres signed by over 20 embassies in Bucharest and the European Commission Representation in Romania.
“The intensification of sexual harassment, intimidation and hate speech against women and girls, including in the online environment, requires immediate and firm action,” the text states, emphasising that perpetrators must be brought to justice.
This is one of the five key themes of the joint declaration.
The message was sent on Wednesday, on International Women’s Day.
“We celebrate the successes achieved in terms of significant gender equality and the progress made so far in securing the rights of women and girls across the globe. At the same time, we must recognize that much remains to be done for women and girls to exercise their full human rights,” the signatories declared.
According to the declaration, “essential in achieving gender equality is ensuring the full, equal, effective and significant participation of women in all spheres of private and public life, including through political representation and at the leadership level in decision-making processes”.
The signatories also emphasize that women and girls have the right to a life free from violence and discrimination.
“However, violence against women and girls is the most frequent violation of human rights, with one in three women experiencing physical and/or sexual violence at least once in their lives, a fact that has not changed for more than a decade. In conflict zones, women and girls are the main targets of sexual and gender-based violence. Too often this male-dominated violence becomes the norm and goes unpunished. This must stop. Access to justice and comprehensive support services for victims need to be ensured and survivors of sexual and gender violence,” reads the declaration.
The message that girls and women are the only ones who should be able to make decisions about their bodies is reinforced.
“Sexual and reproductive health rights are part of basic human rights. We need to support women and girls to be able to exercise these rights, including the right to decide for themselves how many children they want to have and when to have them. For this purpose, it is essential to ensure women and girls full access to information, education and services related to sexual and reproductive health rights,” the declaration also shows.
The need for access to basic services is also emphasized, including quality education, decent housing and medical services for all women and girls, which are essential in fair societies.
“Too many women and girls are denied these rights, they are exposed to exploitation and marginalisation, especially when they face multiple, structural and simultaneous forms of discrimination.
At the same time, they need support in developing their economic potential in order to exercise their rights and gender equality,” highlight the diplomatic missions.
The signatories thus reaffirm their commitment to ensuring gender equality and the full respect and protection of the rights of women and girls as human rights.
“We call on all states to do the same. Gender equality and equity benefit not only women and girls, but also the entire society, including men and boys,” the embassies point out.
The declaration is signed by the following embassies and international representatives: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Spain , the United States of America, Sweden and the Representation of the European Commission in Romania.