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LAST March 8 we commemorated International Women’s Day—a date to remember the ongoing struggle for the rights of women and girls worldwide.
Within the framework of the United Nations (UN), the date was initially recognized in 1975 as the “International Women’s Year” when the First World Conference on Women was held in Mexico City, which addressed the importance of gender equality and the contribution of women to development and peace.
Mexico is on the list of countries with a Feminist Foreign Policy—locally, “PEF” or Política Exterior Feminista. It was the first nation in Latin America to adopt one. The PEF was announced in September 2019 at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, and formalized in early 2020 during the annual meeting of Mexican ambassadors and consuls.
The PEF seeks, among other objectives, to make visible the contributions of women in foreign policy from a gender perspective, and with a transversal approach to human rights and intersectionality. Mexico’s PEF was recently acknowledged as one of the three best in the world by the Feminist Foreign Policy Index of the International Center for Research on Women, or ICRW.
Mexico and the Philippines have coincided at the multilateral level in the promotion of women’s rights, such as in the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women or CEDAW, which monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and has among its experts Doctor Leticia Bonifaz (Mexico) and Ambassador Rosario Manalo (Philippines).
Another example of the two countries’ collaboration in this area can be seen in the Generation Equality Forum, which was organized by Mexico along with France and UN Women in 2021. It brought together representatives of government, international agencies and civil society organizations to identify initiatives and sources of funding to ensure the realization of the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
In the framework of this important forum held in Mexico City in March 2021, three Philippine experts participated in the thematic roundtables on women’s and girls’ human rights in the context of Covid-19, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women.
Among the results of the Generation Equality Forum were the launch of a Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality, the formulation of the Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action, as well as the Mexico-UN Women Initiative for an alliance for Care Work.
More recently Mexico and the Philippines participated in the 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, celebrated from March 6 to 17 in New York City. On that occasion and following the theme adopted by the UN for this year’s International Women’s Day, the CSW67 discussed the relevance of “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.”
Certainly, the occurrence of the pandemic in 2020 has negatively impacted the advances in gender equality, driven by the UN 2030 Agenda, with women and girls being among the most affected. So today, more than ever, we must continue to work together to promote an equal world.
In that sense, let us make International Women’s Day a date to reflect on the progress made so far, and the road ahead in terms of gender equality.