London, 9 March 2022 – CFID (Conservative Friends of International Development) and Care International UK co-hosted a reception in Parliament to mark International Women’s Day 2022 which was attended by over 150 Parliamentarians, CFID supporters and partners from the sector.
Remarks below were given by Rt Hon Amanda Milling MP, Minister for Asia and Middle East, FCDO at the Reception
I’m delighted to join you today to mark International Women’s Day.
So many of you here have championed women around the globe and aided them in their plight by working to give them a voice.
And it’s that voice we are hearing louder than ever from women in Ukraine.
Day in and day out we are witnessing heartbreaking scenes as Ukraine battles against Putin.
As Ukraine works together to defeat Putin I have been inspired by the courage and fortitude of women in Ukraine.
They are a source of inspiration to us all as we stand together against Putin and his regime.
I know that we are all thinking about the horrors being committed by President Putin on the peaceful people of Ukraine.
I am sure you will want to join with me in confirming that our thoughts and prayers are with Ukraine today as we condemn this unjustified war.
We all know that women and girls are disproportionately affected by conflict, as well as the impacts of climate change and the Coronavirus pandemic.
The UK is internationally renowned for championing the rights of women and girls.
And as a FCDO Minister I am proud of the work we are doing supporting and empowering women around the world.
Our international development work is transforming lives and helping to build a freer and fairer world that will benefit us all.
Our new International Development Strategy will set out strong commitments and our diplomatic network will step up efforts to ensure they amplify the UK’s voice and take proactive action to empower women and girls across the globe.
And it’s more important than ever as COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on women who often carry the burden of being primary carers or frontline health workers.
They are also often at higher risk of infection or complications, particularly pregnant and nursing women.
We know that the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing issues for women.
They’ve been hardest hit economically, there’s been a surge in gender-based violence, access to sexual and reproductive health rights have been severely reduced;
Child marriage and adolescent pregnancy are increasing;
An additional 2 million girls are estimated to be at risk of FGM.
And millions of adolescent girls may never return to school, with the tragedy that the learning lost due to the pandemic is equal to the gains made in girls’ education over the last two decades.
But the formation of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has created an important opportunity for us to:
– Deliver projects at a greater scale,
– Forge new partnerships,
– And redouble our efforts to support women and girls.
Later this year, we will be publishing a new strategy for Women and Girls.
This will set out our mission to
- Educate girls,
- Empower women,
- And end violence.
(The 3 Es)
On education, the UK has pledged to stand up for the right of every girl to 12 years of quality education.
Last year, the UK hosted the Global Education Summit raising $4 billion to support equal access to education.
But we know that the pandemic has had a disastrous impact on girls’ education.
And we are leading the charge to accelerate the pace of a global education recovery that all girls can benefit from quickly
To achieve the second ‘E’ – empowering women – we will use our ‘Work and Opportunities for Women’ programme aims to improve the economic empowerment of 300,000 women by supporting global businesses, organisations and supply chains.
We have also announced a new £20 million global partnership with 11 businesses to improve girls’ access to education & employment.
Female empowerment is not about education and jobs alone.
Heartbreakingly, ending violence against women and girls must remain a priority if we are to champion gender equality.
And that’s why ending violence is our third E.
We have supported over 10,000 communities pledge to abandon Female Genital Mutilation.
And we have helped to build “The Girl Generation” which is the largest-ever global movement of over 900 grassroots organisations working together to end FGM. This has already reached over 200 million people across Africa.
In 2022, we will play a leading role in building a new international consensus to end violence against women and girls.
This will include generating momentum towards a new global agreement and an international conference to condemn the use of rape and sexual violence in conflict.
And this is why groups like CFID and CARE International are vitally important.
You provide a voice for women and girls most in need.
You champion the women and girls breaking barriers.
That’s why on International Women’s Day, our work and your work is more important than ever.
As we stand with Ukraine, we must continue to stand with every woman and girl who is fighting for equality and independence