Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna will mark this International Women’s Day – March 8, 2023 – by strongly reaffirming France’s commitment to defending the rights of women and girls around the world through feminist diplomacy that has made gender equality central to our foreign policy since 2019. Amid unacceptable attacks on women’s rights, particularly in Afghanistan and Iran, the Minister will express her determination to continue supporting all those who champion women’s rights. She applauds their enormous courage and strongly condemns the many intolerable acts of violence committed against girls and women.
On this occasion, the Minister will unveil France’s international strategy on sexual and reproductive rights and health for 2023-2027. France will continue to implement the commitments it made at the 2021 Generation Equality Forum, which we co-chaired with Mexico under the auspices of UN Women, in particular the €400 million it is allocating in support of sexual and reproductive rights and health for the period of 2021-2025. The Minister will express her support for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) through a financial contribution of €90 million for the purchase and distribution of contraceptives and products supporting sexual and reproductive health. She will award France’s Simon Veil Prize to the Citizen’s Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion, a Salvadoran collective that champions the right to abortion, in recognition of its decisive efforts in support of sexual and reproductive rights and health.
Ms. Colonna will reiterate France’s support for feminist civil society organizations worldwide through the Support Fund for Feminist Organizations, which we founded in 2020; its €120 million budget will be made permanent. Every year, France also welcomes women who champion rights and freedom through the Marianne Initiative founded by President Macron in 2021, which enables some 15 human rights defenders to live in France for a year to develop their projects. The Minister will open an exhibit focused on the women who participated in the Marianne Initiative in 2022; it will be displayed on the gates of the Quai d’Orsay from March 8 to June 8.
Lastly, the Minister will host a round table bringing together women who are engaged in freedom work and will launch the Tremplin (“Springboard”) program aimed at improving women’s access to senior management positions at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs in line with the goals she set for professional equality within the French diplomatic corps.