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March, 2006 - Nr. 3


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Europe's Fastest Computer
Merkel: Equality

Level the playing field for women, says Merkel

  TWIG - German Chancellor Angela Merkel Wednesday joined Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and women around the world in calling for global action to narrow the opportunity gap between men and women.

"More and more countries are coming to realize that they cannot afford to do without the abilities of their women if they want to achieve successful economic and social development," Merkel said in a message marking International Women’s Day, which has been celebrated by the United Nations since 1975.

"As such, women need to be given the same access to working life and the same opportunities for career advancement as men have."

Merkel — Germany’s first female chancellor and one of eleven female heads of state and government worldwide — said that Germany is making strides in closing the gender gap.

Six women serve as Cabinet ministers in Germany’s left-right "grand coalition" government, Merkel noted, adding that women hold nearly one-third of the seats in the German parliament, compared to a global average of around 15%.

Yet despite all the progress that has been made, the equality of women and men is not something that can be taken for granted everywhere, Merkel said, calling on the international community to redouble its efforts to shield women from the effects of poverty, violence and war.

"In keeping with this, we attribute particular importance to gender equality in our national action plans," she said. "This includes our action plan to fight extreme poverty around the world as well as to our action plan for civilian crisis prevention and conflict management."

Merkel’s call to end gender-based violence was echoed by Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman, who Wednesday made a video statement in her role as a special goodwill ambassador for the UN.

"We must protect women and children caught up in conflict situations, and we must care for women affected by sexual and gender-based violence," said Kidman.

From the UN’s New York headquarters, Secretary General Kofi Annan meanwhile pointed to vital contribution of women in promoting peace and spurring development in the world’s poorest nations.

"The world is also starting to grasp that there is no policy more effective in promoting development, health and education than the empowerment of women and girls," Annan said in a statement.
Republished with permission from "The Week in Germany"


International Women’s Day


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