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Statement by Italy’s Deputy Permanent Representative Gianluca Greco at the CSW68 General Discussion

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Mr. Chair,

Dear Ministers,

Dear Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Italy aligns with the statement pronounced by the European Union.

Today, we all stand before this Commission to address a critical and interconnected challenge: poverty and its disproportionate impact on women and girls. Addressing poverty is not just a moral imperative, but also a strategic necessity for our Countries to unlock the full potential of half of world’s population.

 

In 2024, Italy holds the Presidency of the G7 and is convening a Ministerial Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. Throughout its Presidency, Italy will strongly encourage a shared effort to end women’s poverty, also by promoting their financial inclusion and entrepreneurship, as well as equal access to high quality education and vocational training, also in Africa and at global level.

As shown also by the Covid-19 pandemic and by the international crisis, poverty asymmetrically affects men and women also in the most advanced economies. When women have multiple conditions of personal vulnerability, such as being victims of violence, including economic violence, and old age, they are hit even more severely. Within this framework, Italy is firmly convinced that the pillars on which our action strategy should be built to fight against women’s poverty are Education and Employment.

With reference to Education, it’s very important to promote girl’s access to STEM study paths, also allocating specific financial resources, as recently decided by the Italian Government.

In the field of Employment, Italy has recently adopted measures to support women participation to the job market, such as the extension of parental leaves, the adoption of tax relief for businesses hiring women, the increase of the budget dedicated to women’s businesses in the Guarantee Fund for small and medium enterprises.

The Italian Government strongly believes that, together with public institutions, the private sector plays a pivotal role in supporting women’s empowerment. Italy has adopted its first Gender Equality Certification System for businesses aiming at encouraging – through tax incentives and award mechanisms established by law – the implementation of policies for gender equality and women’s empowerment at the business level. Along with the Certification, a Code for Businesses in favor of Maternity has been introduced, a voluntary self-regulation tool aimed to create a cultural and economic climate of collaboration between employers and employees on parenthood.

Dear Colleagues,

poverty exacerbates women’s vulnerabilities and limits their opportunities of economic independence and security. This is particularly evident when women are victims of violence, which often entails being victims of economic violence, an underestimated aspect of gender-based violence with deep consequences on their lives and autonomy.

The Italian Government is strongly committed to fight against violence, including economic violence, and to support to victims. As evidence of this concrete commitment, Italy has adopted for the first time the so-called “Freedom Income for women victims of violence”, an economic contribution supporting victims for 12 months.

With a view to providing further tangible support to women victims while acknowledging and valuing their talent through entrepreneurship, Italy has also established the so-called ‘Freedom Microcredit’, a financial tool to support victims of violence assisted by Anti-Violence Centers in their path towards economic empowerment and independence.

As far as prevention is concerned, a recent law presented by the Government and approved unanimously by the Parliament in November 2023 has set tighter measures to inhibit men from perpetrating violent actions against women. The law aims at strengthening the protection of the victims, introducing, or enhancing some judiciary tools such as the so called “warning” and the restraining order.

Dear Colleagues,

We cannot, and should not, forget the heinous forms of violence that women are still too often victims of in conflict situations. I am particularly referring to war rapes and sexual crimes, always perpetrated with shameful brutality and hatred against women. Such crimes urge all of us to strengthen the existing international justice tools to end this horrible violation of human rights.

Thank you.