In a speech to last week’s Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on ’Strengthening the Role of Women in Society’ in Istanbul, External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner called upon governments to challenge traditional gender stereotypes and ensure that women’s voices are heard in all spheres of society and at all levels. “Concrete steps have to be taken by governments to eliminate all legal and social obstacles to women’s equality,” she said.
The Commissioner referred to the three priority areas of the Plan of Action that the conference later approved: women’s political and civil rights, women’s economic rights, and women’s cultural rights, expressing her view that much still remains to be done on all three.
“Let’s turn our words into action and close the gap between policy and practice,” she urged. “And let’s ensure that commitments made at this Conference become a cornerstone for progress in women’s equal rights in the Euro-Mediterranean region. We are all aware that only through these and other actions will our countries be able to ensure that women can enjoy their legitimate rights and freedoms.”