“Our focus on the women in the pandemic and the post-pandemic is the recognition of their significant contribution to a better and safer world. Today women being the main part of our societies continue to play an important role in responding to challenges imposed by the global health crisis. I do believe that today it is important to empower women to save our achievements and to develop them in post-pandemic period,” said Speaker of the Azerbaijani Milli Majlis Sahiba Gafarova as she addressed the 13th Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Vienna.
Speaker Sahiba Gafarova briefed the audience on the achievements her country has in women empowerment, stressing Azerbaijan having a proud history in providing good environment for women to play an important role in the society. “Azerbaijan was the first country in the Muslim world granting women the rights to vote and to be elected; it happened in 1918, even earlier than in many European countries,” the Speaker emphasized.
“After restoring its independence in 1991 Azerbaijan has made considerable progress in empowering women, including the establishment of the State Committee on Women Issues, Orders on the increase of role of women and state policy on women, as well as adoption of various laws dealing with the eradication of gender inequality and violence against women. And today women in Azerbaijan take high decision-making positions as well,” Speaker Gafarova mentioned.
“It should be mentioned that specific budgetary allocations have been made to ensure an increase in the gender mainstreaming process in Azerbaijan. Some international projects on this issue are being implemented in Azerbaijan now,” Gafarova noted.
Speaker Sahiba Gafarova said she believed that in time of pandemic special attention should be paid worldwide to the needs and concerns of the women and girls who are refugees and internally displaced persons, in particular by advocating and promoting their rights to return to their places of origin in dignity and safety.
“Unfortunately, nowadays there are many countries having these vulnerable groups. One of those countries is Azerbaijan. We have more than one million refugees and IDPs who left their homes followed by the Armenian aggression at the end of 20th century. The big part of them are women and girls”, Gafarova pointed out.
“After the 44-day Patriotic War last year Azerbaijan by its military-political means put an end to the nearly 30-year-long occupation of 20% of our territories by Armenia and liberated its historical land Karabakh and restored its territorial integrity. That was followed by the signing of the Trilateral Statement on 10 November 2020 aimed at ensuring sustainable peace in the region. Unfortunately, the process is hindered by the mined areas of the liberated lands left by Armenian occupants and continuous provocations on our borders by Armenia,” she noted.
“I strongly believe that we, parliamentarians will do our best to help conflict affected women in having a meaningful and productive life in new circumstances in post-pandemic. I hope that the results of our summit will contribute to the wellbeing of women and girls,” Speaker Sahiba Gafarova concluded.