UNFPA Patron Addresses Women Deliver Conference in Malaysia

30 May 2013
Author: UNFPA

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – “The evidence is so clear. So why is this agenda so far from being completed?”
This was the question posed by H.R.H Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, from the stage at the Women Deliver conference in Malaysia, about the slow progress on women’s empowerment and gender equality.

The Women Deliver conference, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 28-30 May, is one of the largest gatherings to date bringing together policymakers, advocates, and researchers focused exclusively on women's health and empowerment.

Her Royal Highness, who for almost three years has been a devoted patron of UNFPA, the United Nations’ Population Fund, used the Women Deliver platform to highlight gender equality and the empowerment of women as the keys to tackle worldwide poverty. She attended the conference as a member of the High-Level Task Force for the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

“We consider women’s empowerment, gender equality, the rights of adolescents and youth, and sexual and reproductive health and rights to be essential pillars in any sustainable development agenda, as well as the foundations for building vibrant, healthy and prosperous societies and economies,” she said.

The Crown Princess called for a paradigm shift away from regarding women’s empowerment as simply ‘women’s issues’: “I find it perplexing that often men are erased from the conversation. There can be no bystanders on these issues. They are relevant to everybody, no matter who you are or where you live. We must take these issues from women’s issues to humankind issues, because they affect our families, our societies, our economies, our environment, and our nations.”

“Whether you are talking about female genital mutilation/cutting, child brides, HIV and AIDS, rights to ownership of land, maternal mortality or violence against women, they are all intrinsically linked to the broader issues of equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights,” she said.

Calling the ICPD Programme of Action “visionary and groundbreaking,” the Crown Princess said that millions of lives have been saved and improved because of policies and programmes inspired by the ICPD in Cairo.

“But the Cairo agenda is an unfinished agenda, and much remains to be implemented,” she reminded.

In conclusion, she highlighted the key points that UNFPA would like to see as part of the post-2015 agenda:

  • A standalone goal on women’s empowerment and gender equality.
  • A goal on violence against women, stronger laws, and better implementation and services.
  • A youth goal
  • Sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Population : 32.4 mil
Fertility rate
Maternal Mortality Ratio
Contraceptives prevalence rate
Population aged 10-24
Youth secondary school enrollment
Boys 69%
Girls 75%

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