Message of our chair Marleen Temmerman for International Women's Day 2021

Do we need an International Women's Day?
 
Women's rights are, of course, human rights, which are unfortunately still too often violated, so International Women's Day will remain necessary until women and men have equal rights.
 
We have undoubtedly made a great deal of progress in the last 25 years.
 
In 1994, women's rights made it to the top of the agenda at the important international conference ICPD (International Conference on Population and Development) in Cairo. At this conference, the concept of 'reproductive rights' was signed by most countries. This means that women have the right to decide when they want children, with whom and how many. Twenty-five years later, in 2019, there was the 25+ ICPD conference in Kenya to review the pledges around sexual and reproductive health and rights. A lot of progress has been made worldwide; not everywhere and not to the same extent, but a lot has happened. Just look at what Belgium has achieved in terms of legislation on sexual violence and female genital mutilation. Also very proud that Belgium is one of the 10 countries in the world with equal rights for men and women!
Unfortunately, this is not the case everywhere and in many regions with poor and vulnerable populations, girls and women need our support in their fight for equal rights. We also need to be on guard because there is a global pushback from conservative forces, macho cultures and religious fanatics who are not open to more women in power or more power for women.
 
There is still a lot of work to be done to reach this goal, but together we can do it!