Women’s empowerment must be central to EU’s foreign policy

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The European Parliament today backed the S&D Group’s call for female empowerment to be put at the heart of the EU’s foreign policy. Progressive MEPs in the Parliament ensured that the report highlighted the importance of women’s empowerment and their right to sexual and reproductive self-determination, as a pre-condition for sustainable development.
 
Linda McAvan, chair of the European Parliament’s development committee said:
 
“Advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment must be an essential part of the EU’s external relations. Improving the lives of girls and women around the world is the only way of achieving sustainable development. This needs to be taken into account whenever the EU is dealing with third countries, be it in trade matters, agriculture or development issues. We need to work with countries around the world to ensure that their national budgets are focused on women’s development. Investing in girls and women is vital to boost developing economies.”
 
Liliana Rodrigues, S&D MEP responsible for the report in the women’s rights committee added:
 
“The right to decide over one’s own body and life is not only a human right but also a precondition for achieving the UN’s sustainable development goals. We as the S&Ds insist that access to family planning, maternal health services and safe and legal abortion services are not negotiable. These help save millions of lives and are particularly important for those living in war zones, where thousands of women and girls are victims of rape.
 
“We are pleased that progressive forces in the Parliament defeated an attempt by right-wing groups to water down this report. It is essential that the Parliament continues to fight for the rights of girls and women around the world.”