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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Holy See: equality of access to education for girls

Vatican City, 24 March 2015 (VIS) – Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the United Nations in New York, spoke on 13 March at the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which analysed the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, with a view also to advancing women’s empowerment and equality in a post-2015 development agenda.

“There has been considerable progress for the cause of women in many countries, especially in the areas of education, political representation, and economic participation”, said the nuncio. “In spite of the admirable efforts and significant advances, however, still too many women continue to face discrimination and many forms of violence just for being women”.

“The goal of eradicating poverty, in particular extreme poverty, is at the heart of the Holy See’s concerns. The Catholic Church has nearly unparalleled experience of the needs of the poor through its bimillennial experience and through hundreds of thousands of programs and institutions serving poor women and men the world over”, he continued. “The promotion of inclusive and equitable economies has a profound impact in advancing the status of women. Indeed, women are experiencing unique economic distress linked to unfair employment policies, unequal pay for equal work, the denial of access to credit and property, and victimisation in situations of conflicts and migration. Notwithstanding the fact that women constitute the majority of the poor and are affected by the burden of poverty in very specific ways, they are nevertheless courageously at the forefront in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty. From this perspective, the fight for the advancement of women must also mean assuring them equal access to resources, capital and technology”.

The archbishop underlined that “studies have demonstrated that fragile family structures and the decline of marriage among the poor are very closely linked to poverty among women. Single mothers are left alone to raise children. Many mothers in situations of distress fail to send their children to school, thus entangling them in the vicious circle of poverty and marginalisation. … Numerous reports by the Secretary-General have highlighted the centrality of the family for poverty eradication and sustainable development”.

The Holy See takes note of the report by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the problems and attacks girls continue to suffer in accessing education. “My delegation is convinced that the fight for equal access to education for girls, especially quality education, is an indispensable component in the fight for the advancement of women … and reiterates Pope Francis' readiness of to work with all those who are seeking each day to build a world that concretely treats women as equals, in the diversity of gifts and strengths, toward the greater common good of all”.

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