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International Women’s Day: Croatian president addresses European Parliament

President Grabar-Kitarović arrives at the European Parliament (Photo: Ured Presjednice)

7 March 2019 – Upon the invitation of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality of the European Parliament and on the occasion of marking International Women’s Day, the President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović delivered a keynote address at the Inter-parliamentary Committee Meeting in Brussels.

In her address on the theme “Women’s Power in Politics,” President Grabar-Kitarović said that women are the minority at any major gathering or world body – be it at the United Nations, the European Union, the OCSE, or the Council of Europe – adding that this is also the case in the European Parliament and in the Parliaments of most EU Member States.

Women are the often untapped power source and agents of peace and security, remarked the Croatian President, assessing their political participation as crucial for development, good governance and democracy. She added this is why we need more women involved in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, and in the maintenance of a sustainable and inclusive peace and politics in general.

(Photo: Ured Presjednice)

President Grabar-Kitarović noted that during the aggression against Croatia, women have defended the country’s liberty and independence side-by-side with men and they were doctors and nurses, political negotiators and humanitarian workers. Women were also pivotal in post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction, the President pointed out, saying that the positive contribution of women to sustainable peace and development is irreplaceable. “When given full and equal access to resources and opportunities, and when included in decision-making, women drive development and peace forward. Without women, peace is frail and development unattainable,” underscored President Grabar-Kitarović.

(Photo: Ured Presjednice)

According to research, the Croatian President reminded, countries with a higher share of women in executive and non-executive positions are more prosperous and there is a huge positive impact on the GDP, a higher level of employment, increased productivity and response to the challenges of aging populations. “Best gender policies reap best economic benefits. And economically successful societies have a simple formula: they are inclusive and their women are empowered,” emphasized President Grabar-Kitarović.

Women continue to prove daily that they are indeed successful and this is why they must be equally represented in politics, governments, parliaments and governing boards, highlighted the Croatian President, adding that a political culture conducive to equal participation of women needs to be built.

(Photo: Ured Presjednice)

President Grabar-Kitarović said that education is crucial in opening people’s minds, but also in our effort to build a better future for women, and with it for men and humanity on the whole, as this is the strongest weapon against all forms of prejudice and inequality.

President Grabar-Kitarović ended her keynote address in the European Parliament with the following words: “My message to women and girls is – have faith and believe in yourselves – in your value, your strength, your knowledge and your capabilities. Stand up for yourself and never give up. There is more and more of us each day, both women and men, who will support you. Your determination will make all remaining obstacles fall.”

(Text/Photos: Ured Presjednice)

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