My speech in General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
131st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,
Geneva, 12-16 October 2014
General Debate: Speech by Ms Ulrika Karlsson
Achieving gender equality, ending violence against women
Mr President, Dear Colleagues,
One of the most dangerous thing you can do on this earth is to be born as a women.
Let me mention a few of the dangers young woman of today are facing.
In the year of 2014 – 14 million girls under the age of 15 will be forced into marriage. Some as young as 5 years old. And 7 million girls will be giving birth. Some as young as 11 years old.
In the year of 2014 – 800 women and girls will die – every single day – from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. That adds up to 300 000 deaths only this year. 70 000 of them are under the age of 15.
In the year of 2014 – 222 million girls and women lack access to contraceptive. And this year 47 000 girls and women will die due to lack of safe abortion.
My fellow colleagues
We are Parliamentarians. We do have power. We can change. And it is time for change now.
Today the world see the largest generation of young people in history. It is our job to ensure that they can exercise their right to education, a decent job and a dignified existence. Their sexual and reproductive rights must be fulfilled and protected. These young people deserve to make their own decision about who they love and if they wish to start a family.
To me, the link between young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services and sustainable development is vital.
Gender equality is not a women’s issue, it is a human rights issue. And requires all our participation. It is essential that you men get involve in the efforts. It is your fight too. We women cannot achieve gender equality without the cooperation and participation of you men.
Violence against women is a problem that affects all countries and hinder development. At a global level, it is estimated that one out of three women has been subjected to violence. Women continue to be targeted in conflict and rape is used as an instrument of war. Untold numbers of women and girls are affected as we speak.
With this in mind 260 parliamentarians from 134 countries meet in Stockholm this spring at the IPCI conference. The Stockholm Statement of Commitment, was agreed upon unanimously. And represents the strongest call ever.
With Stockholm Statement of Commitment we reached an important milestone in our achievement to improve life quality for millions of women, men and children especially young girls.
In Stockholm we Parliamentarians from all over the world agreed for the first time ever in history to set a minimum age of 18 years for marriage. For the first time ever we agreed to decriminalize abortion. For the first time we agreed that every child – both girls and boys – have right to comprehensive sexuality education. And we agreed to stop all forms of female genital mutilation including cutting.
The message was clear to our governments. We want sexual reproductive health and rights to be included in the new Post Millennium Goals.
Stockholm Statement of Commitment is a milestone that places the human being at the core of development. Among other things it stresses the need to keep the girl child, including married girls and pregnant girls, in school at all levels of education without discrimination.
From Stockholm Statement of Commitment we hear an echo across the world. We gets reports from new legislation, budgeting, actions and initiatives. From countries like Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Bahrain, Iraq, Kurdistan, Morocco, Yemen, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, Cook Islands, Indonesia, Kiribati and Tonga, Nepal, Vietnam, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia, United Kingdom and Sweden.
Stockholm Statement of Commitment is not just a piece of paper it is an earthquake that improves lives of millions.
I brought Stockholm Statement of Commitment with. Please use it and join the movement that improves lives of women and men, girls and boys.
Remember we are Parliamentarians. We do have the power. It is our responsibility. We can change. And it is time for change now.
Thank you for your attention!