FRANCE – Emmanuel Macron includes women’s rights among the priorities of his development policy

On 5 September 2017, along with four government Ministers, met with a small delegation of French NGOs on the subjects of climate change and development issues. On 5 September 2017, President Macron of France received a delegation of NGOS to exchange views on the issue of development. The agenda included the question of the rights of women.

Aurélie Gal-Régniez, Director of Equipop reports: “We wanted to challenge him on two points: the need to explicitly defend the rights of women on the diplomatic scene, and especially at the next General Assembly of the United Nations this month, and the need to provide adequate funding to implement the French strategies on gender and development, and sexual and reproductive health and rights in 2016-2020.”…

In response, Emmanuel Macron made clear commitments. He said the rights of women are a national cause for France and will be a priority for development aid. He also acknowledged that at the present time, France is located near the bottom of the list of OECD countries funding projects, and that a real effort will be necessary to reduce the distance between French intentions and the reality of its actions. In diplomatic terms, the President affirmed his desire to engage in a frank and open dialogue with the States where the question of the rights of women is the most crucial, particularly in Africa. He also seems to have taken on the full extent of issues related to women’s autonomy over their bodies. He stressed the importance of subjects such as forced marriage, the education of girls and access to contraception. He said that he was willing to expand partnerships with other donor countries on these issues…

French NGOs are not consulted very often at the highest level in France, and on our issues in particular. The President was clear about making women’s rights a priority of French foreign policy and ODA. This is very satisfactory at the strategic level. Now, of course, our job is to put pressure on, so that those commitments translate into funding and action in the five years to come.

On 20 September 2017, Equipop will be holding a large conference in Paris on the need for France to do more and do better for sexual and reproductive health and rights. On that day, we will launch an appeal that can be signed by other NGOs, which we hope you will endorse, so that we can make a strong case for an increase in the French contribution to our field financially.

SOURCE: Équilibres & Populations, by Nicolas Rainaud, Press release, 5 September 2017 (en français) ; PHOTO