OSCE PA Special Representative on Gender Issues Hedy FryOSCE PA Special Representative on Gender Issues Hedy FryCOPENHAGEN, 8 March 2018 – Economic empowerment of women is a benefit to society as a whole and can be effectively pursued through prioritizing gender considerations in legislative and budgetary action, said the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Special Representative on Gender Issues Hedy Fry (MP, Canada) today. Marking the celebration of International Women’s Day, she called for closing the gender gap, reducing poverty and ensuring women’s representation in all levels of public life.

“Women represent half of the world’s population and therefore we all would benefit from ensuring that women’s economic well-being is at the forefront of policy decisions,” Dr. Fry said today. “Economic empowerment allows women to participate fully in society and to contribute to overall economic growth and development, thereby improving stability and comprehensive security for all.”

She highlighted Canada’s Gender Responsive Budgeting for 2018 as a positive example of a best practice that can serve to inspire the activities of the OSCE as well as its participating States:

“As a Canadian, I am very proud of Canada’s Gender Responsive Budgeting for 2018. This federal budget provides a gender-based analysis of every proposed program and tax initiative. The budget addresses pay equity and introduces stipulations to encourage men to shoulder more of the responsibilities of newborn-related family leave, allowing women to remain in the workforce – an important aspect of ensuring economic empowerment.

“The budget also prioritizes the elimination of gender-based violence and harassment and promoting access to justice for survivors, including by protecting federally regulated employees from workplace harassment and enhancing access to the family courts system. The importance of addressing gender-based violence and harassment, which have human rights and economic costs, cannot be overstated.”

The Hon. Hedy Fry was appointed the OSCE PA’s Special Representative on Gender Issues in October 2010. Click here for her most recent report to the Assembly, delivered last month at the 17th Winter Meeting in Vienna.