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Tale ved Womenomics-konference: “The Important Role of Women in Developing Markets”

Udenrigsminister Kristian Jensens tale ved Women Deliver, Womenomics-konference d. 18. maj 2016 


  • Thank you to the organizers, and Tine Willumsen, for inviting me to talk about an issue close to my heart: The role of women in developing markets.
  • Women are not just wife and mothers, or just consumers or just entrepreneurs or political leaders. They are all those things. And they should have the right to be just that. To be free of discrimination, traditions and norms preventing them from living the life they want.
  • That is, however, not the case. More than 120 countries have laws that treat men and women differently. Making it impossible for a woman to obtain an ID card, own or use property, access credit, get a job. These are restrictions that are fundamentally unjust. But also, as we have come to learn, economically unwise. For the societies to develop, and the economy to grow, we need everybody involved.
  • In addition to legal restrictions, girls and women are also – in many places around the world – faced with a fundamental lack of access to crucial services. Lack of access to education and to key health services that prevent girls and women to reach their full potential.
  • This is not only unfair and unjust – it is also from an economic perspective unwise. We need to be clear that to engage women in the labor market, or help her set up a small business. We need to work to help girls and women overcome these barriers and be empowered to make their own choices.
  • In spite of these challenges, women show incredible resourcefulness. They set up saving clubs to overcome their financial constraints. They make use of modern technology such as mobile phones to obtain information about food prices and figure out the best time to sell their products. And they move into the labor market as employees.
  • There are some quick fixes and easy solutions – and they should be used. Yesterday I visited a photo exhibition organized by the Federation of Danish Industries showing that when you engage in a discussion with female employees, ask them about their needs and try to accommodate them - everybody wins. Special transport service, flexible work hours, kindergardens at the workplace were some of the examples of how Danish companies engage to adapt and improve working conditions for women. To the good of their employees – but also for the company.
  • I encourage the private sector to take it upon itself to engage and take responsibility to deliver for girls and women. We know it will benefit society – but I am convinced it will also benefit each company that commits to do this.
  • At the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa last year – a new agenda for how to finance the new global agenda was agreed. One of the very clear messages was that strong involvement of the private sector in financing the new Global Goals is required. Financing from the developing countries themselves and development assistance from countries like Denmark cannot do it. We need the private sector to help us achieve all the wonderful intentions in goal number 5 which holds so much promise for the girls and women of the world. 
  • So today I would like to urge all of you to engage for girls and women. Not only for their sake – also for your own. And I promise that Danish development cooperation will continue to be a strong supporter of the health and rights of girls and women. I look very much forward to partner with Danish private sector to deliver just that.

  • Thank you.