Joint N5 statement regarding gender equality and the rights of all women and girls

The Foreign Ministers of Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark mark the International Women's Day 2021 with strong commitment to Gender Equality and the rights of all women and girls.

For decades, Nordic countries have prospered due to the equal participation and inclusion of women and girls in all areas of societal life. For us, ensuring the enjoyment of human rights of all women and girls, in all their diversity, and ending gender-based discrimination in all of its forms, is the right and the smart thing to do because gender equality benefits everyone.

Globally, we have seen remarkable improvements for the health and rights of women and girls over the past decades. But the global pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities, with disproportional impact on the health, participation, wellbeing and socio-economic status of women and girls worldwide – and has also increased gender-based violence. Now, global leaders must commit to placing women at the center of recovery plans, ensuring their participation in decision making processes, and redouble efforts to secure the health, rights and needs of all women and girls.

Additionally, we will continue to counter the growing pressure on human rights of women and girls and attacks on the notion of gender equality both globally, in multilateral fora and within Europe. We are particularly concerned about actions to undermine or roll back sexual and reproductive health and rights, including the access to safe and legal abortions, comprehensive sexuality education and modern contraceptives.

We also remain committed to strengthening the agenda for Women, Peace and Security, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. Women peacebuilders and women human rights defenders play key roles in ensuring sustainable peace. They must be empowered and protected.

For International Women’s Day 2021, the Nordic Ministers for Foreign Affairs strongly recommit to the fundamental values and principles of gender equality. We condemn any attacks on the rights of women and girls and take this opportunity to reiterate that they must be defended and safeguarded at all times.