8 March 2012: International Women's Day
To honour International Women’s Day on 8 March, Minister of State Cornelia Pieper issued the following statement in Berlin today (8 March):
“Germany will step up its commitment to fight violence against women and female genital mutilation. Women’s rights are a focus of German foreign policy. Even in the 21st century, women’s rights are being systematically violated throughout the world. I am particularly concerned at the high number of women and girls affected by female genital mutilation: 140 million women have to cope with lasting mutilation, with another three million girls at risk every year. Not only does this tradition violate women’s human rights and dignity, it is also a real threat to their lives. This dangerous tradition must be brought to an end. Through negotiations at international level, by way of local projects for the treatment of the women affected and with public awareness campaigns, German foreign policy is working towards this goal. Women and girls must be able to assert control over their own bodies rather than being forced by traditional values to lead a life of pain and, as is often the case, barrenness. Today this is more relevant than ever.”
Parliamentary State Secretary Gudrun Kopp of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) issued the following statement:
"Women play a crucial role for national development. Worldwide, 70 per cent of the poor are women. Most of them live in rural areas. Women continue to suffer discrimination in terms of their rights to assets, land and resources. Worldwide, women only have 2 per cent of land titles, but it is often they who secure their families' survival through agricultural production. The risk of suffering from hunger is lower in countries where women have better access to resources and services. So I welcome the fact that this year's session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women is addressing the empowerment of women in rural areas and their role in eradicating poverty and hunger."
The empowerment of women, women's rights and women's role for development are a focus of German development policy. The new BMZ "Roadmap on Gender Equality" and the BMZ "Ten-Point Programme for Rural Development and Food Security" both highlight the empowerment of women as a tool for eradicating hunger and poverty. The BMZ's Gender Action Plan, too, is geared toward the inclusion of women in trade and value chains in agricultural production and processing.