UNITED NATIONS, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Representatives from several countries to the United Nations on Thursday highlighted the importance of gender equality legislation in providing social protections for all women and girls.
Speaking at the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63), Eitvydas Bingelis, the vice minister of social security and labour of Lithuania, said that effective gender equality legislation is crucial in guaranteeing equal rights and equal opportunities for women and men in all areas, including social protection.
"Lithuania's laws prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sex in the social protection systems by identifying the opportunities to use and participate in it," said Bingelis, adding that they are currently working on amendments of national legislation, aimed at reducing segregation in employment and education and at strengthening mechanisms of prevention and protection of victims of violence against women.
Rhodora Bucoy, chairperson of Philippine Commission on Women, said that a new law in her country was enacted to expand social protection for women this year. The Expanded Maternity Leave Act grants 105 days paid maternity leave for working women.
Bundith Prathoumvanh, vice president of the Lao Women's Union, said that the Lao government also has implemented the law on civil servants which increases maternity leave period from three to five months, and they have also enacted the state budget law which indicates responsibilities of all sectors and local governments to have gender budgeting plan.
In addition, law on gender equality to provide legal frameworks for the developments of a national social protection floor and gender equality is being drafted, said Prathmoumvanh, adding that all these legal acts will pave the way for providing all the Lao people with a better life and increased social, economic and human development prospects.
Tekea Tesfamicael, president of the national union of Eritrean women, said that women's empowerment remains a significant aspect of their economic policy. Soon after its independence from Ethiopia in 1991, the colonial laws that "discriminate against women were repealed and amended," and "all subsequently issued laws were founded on the principle of equality before the law," she added.
"Women's empowerment is the fundamental precondition for sustainable development and a key driver for prosperity," said Georgi Panayotov, permanent representative of Bulgaria to the UN, adding that Bulgaria enshrined the principles of equality and non-discrimination in its constitution.
"Another key legal framework is the Law on gender equality. With the adoption of the law, the position of gender equality coordinators was introduced. These coordinators participate in the development and performance of comprehensive gender equality national policy," said the Bulgarian envoy.
Bulgaria in 2016 also adopted an updated national strategy for promoting gender equality with a timeframe through 2020, and its main objective is to create guarantees for equal treatment, equal access to the resources of society and equal participation of women and men in the decision-making process, Panayotov said.
Permanent Representative of Cyprus to UN Kornelios Korneliou said that a number of national action plans and strategies have been developed in Cyprus to address issues of gender equality over the past years.
"New laws tackling gender inequalities have been enacted as well as new independent equality bodies have been set up," he said.
According to UN Women, the CSW63 is the UN's largest gathering on gender equality and women's rights, and the single largest forum for UN member states, civil society organizations and other international actors to build consensus, renew commitment and agree on better policy solutions.
CSW63 kicked off on Monday and will close on March 22.