The International Day of La Francophonie and the World Francophone Women’s Forum on March 20th
The first World Francophone Women’s Forum will be held on 20 March 2013 at the Musée du Quai Branly and will end with a closing address by the President of France at the Elysée Palace.
The World Francophone Women’s Forum starts from the premise of a regression in women’s rights around the world, and in particular in the French-speaking world, which comprises 77 countries and 220 million French speakers.
There are currently 120 million Francophone women in the world; by 2050, their number will have grown to over 350 million.
During armed conflict, such as those currently under way in Mali or the Democratic Republic of Congo, and political crises, women are often the first victims. Their rights are clearly being rolled back in many countries, sometimes by roundabout routes such as the kind of semantic slippage in which the word "equality" is replaced by "complementarity", or by the requirement that they be veiled/hidden, or through the recurrent questioning of their right to education.
Within the Francophone space, there are glaring disparities from one country to another. In the developed or emerging nations, women continue to fight for recognition of their rights in the fields of employment, equality or social gains. In other, poorer countries, women must struggle on a daily basis to have even their most fundamental rights recognised.
Many States have developed instruments for putting the condition of women at the heart of their public policies, but resources are often lacking for the implementation of comprehensive initiatives on education, vocational training, healthcare and access to culture.
In still other countries, women are without rights, subject on a daily basis to abuse and violence in all its forms, lacking any legal or health protection and excluded from whatever education system might exist.
International Day of La Francophonie (March 20, 2013)
The International Day of La Francophonie is being celebrated on March 20th as it is every year throughout the world and especially in the 77 member countries of the International Organization of La Francophonie. This date commemorates the signing on March 20, 1970, of the Niamey Convention which resulted in the grouping together of French-speaking states.
The French language – the language of education and communication but also of development and trade of more than 220 million speakers around the world – is at the heart of these celebrations.
International Day of La Francophonie 2013 honored French-speaking women at France’s initiative with the support of the International Organization of La Francophonie and in partnership with UNESCO and UN Women. The first World Francophone Women’s Forum in Paris on March 20th brought together 400 participants from the civil societies of member states of La Francophonie.
Our diplomatic, cultural and educational network abroad has also mobilized its efforts to demonstrate the diversity of the French-speaking community, the vibrancy of its cultural creativity and to promote the values of La Francophonie: respect for the rule of law and human rights, gender equality, solidarity and cultural diversity.
Is male-female equality a myth ? L’égalité homme-femme est inéluctable.
Mobilising civil society to bring greater influence to bear at the negotiating table
Below, the statement by Laurent Fabius on the occasion of International Women’s Day (March 8, 2013)