On the occasion of "Women's Day", I would like to extend my heart-felt congratulations to all the women of the world.
Gender equality is enshrined in the European Union Legislation since the very beginning of the European integration Process. Firstly in the Rome Treaty and then in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
Turkey has now started its EU membership negotiations with the European Union. Promoting gender equality is a key for the development of every modern country.
Active and energetic women are a necessity especially for countries like Turkey where the process of reform and change is ongoing at a rapid pace. It is evident that gender equality promotes economic growth. Investing in the education and development of women and girls has a multiplier effect in particular on productivity, efficiency and sustained economic growth.
Hundred years ago full political rights were given to both women and men in Finland. Finnish women were thus the first in the world to exercise their democratic right to vote and also to stand for election.
Today we have a female President and women's proportion of the members of the Parliament is 38 %. Women also account for almost a half of the ministers in the present Government of Finland.
Women's Day gives us a good possibility to stop and think of the big contribution women have made to the progress and development of the world and what huge potential women have to take this progress even further.