International Women's Day is a chance to celebrate women as pillars of our societies and the wonderful progress women have made towards greater equality. It is also a moment to note the immense work that still needs to be done in order to ensure that women have the same chances as men to study, to choose the careers they want, and to live free from threat of abuse and violence.
Progress on women's rights is progress on human rights. It is also smart politics and economics. Societies that give women an equal chance to prosper and participate freely in social, political and economic life are more peaceful and more prosperous. This is why the European Union has promoted gender equality from its very beginnings – both at home and abroad. Helping women and girls advance is part of the EU's DNA.
2015 is a special year: 20 years after the Beijing Declaration and 15 years since the adoption of the UN Security Resolution 1325 on Women, peace and security the international community is negotiating the Post-215 Development goals. This is a chance to place gender equality, human rights and empowerment of women and girls top of the international agenda.
Today High Representative/ Vice President Federica Mogherini launches two special initiatives to empower women. At least 30 Afghan women will be trained at administration institutes in Europe as part of an exchange programme between the Afghan Foreign Ministry and the European External Action Service. The EU has also decided to dedicate 2.3 million Euro to finance a plan for the enhancement of the role of women in conflict prevention and resolution in Afghanistan.