Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to speak at this event dedicated to the Role of Turkic World Women in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
I would like to thank the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic Speaking Countries for organising this event, which aims to strengthen the role of the women of Turkic world in various fields of society.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In 2015 world leaders came together and made a historic promise. They signed up to 17 Global Goals – the Sustainable Development Goals – that have the potential to end poverty, to reduce inequality and to tackle climate change in 15 years.
At the heart of these goals is a commitment to ensure that ‘no one is left behind’ and that no goal is considered met unless met for all including women.
We cannot build the future we want and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without the full participation of women.
Gender equality is the focus of the SDG 5 and is integrated in the other goals, with many targets specifically recognizing women’s equality and empowerment as both the objective, and as part of the solution.
This reflects the growing consensus that gender equality is a driver of progress across all development goals.
There is no doubt that women’s empowerment and gender equality are essential to global progress.
Studies show that, if women were able to participate equally in the economy, global GDP could increase by 26 per cent – the equivalent of $12 trillion dollars – by 2025, but unfortunately only 50 per cent of women of working age, worldwide are active in the labour force – compared to 77 per cent of men.
In the United Nations we understand, we have to do our share for equality and inclusion. Under the leadership and reforms initiated by our Secretary-General, António Guterres for the first time in UN history, the UN has the highest-ever numbers of women in senior management team.
And the UN has achieved full gender parity among its field leadership, namely UN Resident Coordinators around the world.
There is a commitment to continue to build on this progress and achieve gender parity across the whole United Nations system within a decade.
Azerbaijan has made good progress towards gender equality and some of which has historical roots.
I would like to return to the Progress Azerbaijan has made in women empowerment in the last century.
Azerbaijan was the first Muslim Country to enfranchise women when it introduced Universal suffrage in 1918.
The first secular girls’ school and the first of such kind in the Russian Empire opened in Baku in 1901.
The country has a well-developed legislative base for protection of women’s rights.
The Constitution of Azerbaijan guarantees its citizens gender equality and freedom from all kinds of discrimination in all spheres of life.
Azerbaijan also joined major international conventions on women’s rights such as the landmark UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
Azerbaijan’s history is full of extraordinary women such as Leyla Mammadbayova, the first Azerbaijani female pilot, Shovkat Salimova, the first Azerbaijani female ship captain, Keisar Kashieva, the first Azerbaijani female artist, to name just a few.
Today, we witness the talent, courage, and dedication of more Azerbaijani women including H.E 1st Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva as role models.
While this progress is commendable, more can be done to improve the environment for women empowerment and gender equality in Azerbaijan and other countries of the Turkic world.
For instance, more women should be represented in leadership positions and decision-making both in Government and the private sector.
More women can be employed in the high paid formal sector jobs.
More robust measures should be taken to address gender stereotypes and discrimination that often leads to, early marriage, gender biased sex selection and violence against women.
Also, gender issues should be mainstreamed across policies and programmes to ensure equal access to education, decent work, good standard of health care, representation in political and economic decision-making.
I commend the government of Azerbaijan and the National Coordination Council for Sustainable Development for nationalizing all targets and indicators of SDG 5 – “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” This means Azerbaijan has taken full responsibility to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women and build a future of equality.
Let me also take this opportunity to recognize UN’s partnership with the Government to promote women empowerment.
The UN has been supporting the efforts of State Committee for Women, Family, and Children Affairs to eliminate domestic violence, prevent early and forced marriages, abolish gender-selective abortions, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and promote women’s economic empowerment.
In rural communities, we help women gain access to resources, establish businesses of their own and become financially independent.
In conclusion, I would like to praise the secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic Speaking Countries for their efforts to promote the role of women from the Turkic world in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. I believe such forums is? an excellent opportunity to share experiences, best practices and highlight the both the achievements and barriers to women empowerment in Turkic speaking countries.
The United Nations stands ready to work closely with all Governments, and other partners such as TURKPA towards achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls in Azerbaijan and in the world.