France reaffirms its commitment to defending women’s rights

France champions women’s rights and autonomy and opposes all forms of violence against women.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development reaffirms its commitment to defending women’s rights.

Jean-Marc Ayrault Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development gave a speech on 8th March on parity in diplomacy at an event for the Ministry personnel.

France champions women’s rights and autonomy and opposes all forms of violence against women. Among other things, it offers its support to female Syrian refugees, to all those involved in fighting gender violence in West African schools, and to those who assist victims of sexual violence in Democratic Republic of Congo. It also seeks to promote the role of women in the fight against climate disruption.

For more information on the Ministry’s efforts and to watch the video made for this occasion, click here.

International Women’s Day : the spirit and history

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day celebrated on 8th March, the Embassy of France in Uganda is publishing the portraits of Women committed to furthering the contribution of women towards development, socioeconomic progress, peace, and in the fight against gender based discrimination. This is an opportunity to recall the history of this day and its principles.

The origin :
The first occurrences of a day dedicated to women were a subject of debate by historians. For a long time attributed to the women demonstrations in the United States in the 1870s, women’s day is said to have been observed for the first time in Russia in 1917 during the St Petersburg’s workers strike, hence the traditional 8th March commemorations.

It was however 60 years later that the UN General Assembly adopted, in 1977, the “UN International Day for women’s rights and international peace”. Five years later, in response to the request made to each member state to choose a commemorative date that corresponds to its tradition, France chose to commemorate its first 8th March in 1982, on the initiative of President François Mitterrand.

The spirit :
Each year, the International Women’s Rights Day provides an opportunity to examine the issue of gender equality in the world and reflect on ways of improvement. Celebrated as a full or partial public holiday in 29 countries around the world, including Uganda, 8th March is celebrated under a guiding theme each year. For 2016, the theme is : “Planet 50-50 by 2030 : Step It Up for gender equality”.
The International Women’s Day aims to impact the 364 other days of the year and address other world issues. In this regard, the theme for 2016, Planet 50-50, among others, aims to improve women representation and participation in the fight against climate change.

In Uganda :
With 35% women representation in Parliament and one third of seats reserved for women Parliamentarians, the Ugandan political sphere gives visibility to women in a better way than many countries in Europe. However, as pointed out in 2012 by the International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR), there is still a gap between political decisions and their implementation. Female genital mutilations are still being practiced in some parts of the country and domestic violence is still widespread.
Nevertheless, new initiatives are aimed at improving the status and empowerment of women, for example the 2015 High Court decision to abolish the refund dowry in case of divorce

Three outstanding feminism figures :

  • Clara Zetkin (1857-1933) : The German journalist was the first, in 1910, to front the idea of an international Women’s day.
  • Louise Weiss (1893-1983) : The French politician and journalist was part of the « suffragettes » who advocated for Women’s right to vote, a right granted in 1944.
  • Wangari Maathai (1940-2011) : The Kenyan biologist and Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2004, was known for her ecological commitment in favour of reforestation.

Dernière modification : 12/10/2016

Haut de page