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Address by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

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Address by Irina Bokova,
Director-General of UNESCO
on the occasion of the Inauguration of the Exhibition for International
Women’s Day 2016
UNESCO, 8 March 2016
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to welcome you to UNESCO for this exhibition on the role of
women in sustainable development, held on the occasion of International Women’s
Day.
As you know, promoting gender equality is a UNESCO Global Priority.
It is also my firm personal priority.
Gender equality is about defending human rights and fundamental freedoms.
We know how vital it is for healthy societies.
Gender equality is a security imperative.
Girls and women suffer disproportionately from armed conflict.
They are also often the best advocates for reconciliation and peace.
The empowerment of girls and women is also a powerful motor of growth.
All studies point in the same direction –- gender equality is a game-changer for
more sustainable, more inclusive, more just human development.
DG/2016/028 – Original: Multilingual
I say this at a time when the world is turning to implement the new 2030 Agenda for
Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
In the words of its Declaration, this is an agenda “of the people, by the people and
for the people.”
The promise of the new agenda to leave no one behind.
This must start with girls and women, who are still left behind, forced out of school,
married early, held back.
We have seen progress across the world – but steep obstacles remain before
genuine equality for all girls and women.
There can be no sustainable development without empowering girls and women…
There can be no genuine human development without making the most of the
creativity and innovation, the genius of half of humanity…
Goal 5 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is dedicated to achieving gender
equality and empowering all women and girls.
The truth is gender equality must be the motor for progress across all of the
Sustainable Development Goals.
This must be the starting point for all action – and the measure of all success.
Because there is no more powerful transformational force for human rights and
dignity, for more just, inclusive and sustainable societies.
We must recognise the wisdom and knowledge of women.
We must bolster their roles of agents of change, in mitigating the consequences of
climate change, in strengthening the foundations for lasting peace.
DG/2016/028 - Page 2
Mesdames et Messieurs,
« L’art ne reproduit pas le visible, il rend visible » disait le peintre Paul Klee.
L’art est un éclaireur, un éveilleur de consciences, et nous sommes heureux
aujourd’hui à l’UNESCO de rendre hommage à des artistes qui rendent visibles, et
qui mettent en lumière notre combat pour les femmes et pour l’égalité.
Cette exposition nous invite à réfléchir sur le rôle des femmes dans le
développement durable.
Elle nous montre la créativité de femmes de grand talent, et leur manière de
bousculer les idées reçues, de construire, par la force de l’art, des sociétés plus
justes, plus ouvertes, plus libres, et donc plus fortes.
Je voudrais remercier tout spécialement :
Madame Cahide Erel, sculptrice, céramiste et architecte, de Turquie,
Mme Arev Petrosyan, artiste multimédia, de l'Arménie,
Mme Olga Novokhatska, peintre, d'Ukraine,
Mme Alicia Leal, Mme Zaida del Rio et Mme Isabel Gimeno, peintres de Cuba,
Mme Raquel Paiewonsky, artiste multimédia, Mme Belkis Ramírez, artiste
d'installation, et Mme Iris Pérez, artiste visuel de la République Dominicaine,
Mme Maksuda Iqbal Nipa et M. Muhammad Iqbal, peintres du Bangladesh,
Mme Balqees Fakhro, peintre du Bahreïn,
M. Yao Matsoko, peintre du Togo,
Mme Sherine El Baroudi et Mme Aya El Fallah, peintres d’Egypte,
DG/2016/028 - Page 3
C’est un plaisir de vous accueillir pour célébrer, cette année encore, l’art et l’égalité
des genres, la façon dont la culture peut affermir l’égalité, et dont l’égalité à son
tour, enrichit et renforce la culture.
Merci à tous.
DG/2016/028 - Page 4
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