EUPOL COPPS welcomes Palestinian efforts to promote gender equality

In advance of International Women’s Day 2020 on Sunday 8 March, EUPOL COPPS welcomes the efforts of its Palestinian partners in law enforcement and rule of law agencies as well as civil society and international organisations to promote gender equality.

While women’s participation in Palestinian public life remains limited, and too many domestic violence incidents go unreported, not least due to the fact that there is no specific law to tackle gender-based violence, progress has been made in recent years. For example, within the Palestinian Civil Police, the proportion of female police officers increased from 3.7% to 4.4% in the past year. The proportion of female judges increased in the same period from 17.3% to 18.3%. Much of this progress is the consequence of bold advocacy both within Palestinian Authority structures as well as articulate and passionate private individuals.

“Law enforcement and rule of law institutions are the key bodies responsible for protecting the rights of citizens, half of which are women and girls,” said Kauko Aaltomaa, EUPOL COPPS Head of Mission. “In order to protect the rights of all members of society, it is crucial that the agencies set up to protect and serve communities are more representative of society as a whole. Currently, only 5% of people working in Palestine’s 14 security institutions are women. While the number of women working in such structures has increased recently, more can be done to make them more fully representative of the people they serve”.

Gender equality benefits everyone in society, not just women and girls. EUPOL COPPS therefore looks forward to continuing the close cooperation it has built up with its Palestinian partners to promote gender equality, not just in the days around International Women’s Day, but every day.

 

Three reasons to strive for gender equality:

  • Women’s rights are human rights:

Gender equality and the principle of non-discrimination are fundamental human rights principles, enshrined for example in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, 1948) and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW, 1979). Promotion of gender equality is the right thing to do and improves the human rights situation in society.

  • Gender equality positively correlates with peace and stability:

Research has demonstrated that:

  1. Including women in peace processes makes for more durable peace agreements and decreases the reoccurrence of conflict. Moreover, when women are involved in peace negotiations, agreements are more likely to be reached.
  2. Gender inequality correlates with the likelihood that a state will use violence as a first response in a conflict situation. Moreover, violence is likely to be more severe in states with less gender equality.
  3. Higher female participation in the labour market correlates with lower levels of international violence.
  • Gender equality contributes to economic and social development:

The potential of women and girls cannot be fully realised wherever they do not have equal opportunities in their societies.  Gender inequality thus stagnates social progress in various aspects. Gender equality and the possibility of women and girls to use their full potential benefits societies at large economically as well as socially.