Siliņa: Latvia planning 'transparency mechanism' to close gender pay gap

Latvian Prime Minister Evika Siliņa addressed the General Discussion of the 68th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women on March 11 during her visit to the United States. 

The day also saw her meet with Secretary-General of the  met with UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

"The Secretary-General and Prime Minister Siliņa discussed the war in Ukraine and ongoing efforts to advance gender equality in the context of 68th CSW deliberations," said an account frmo the office of the UN Secretary-General.

PM Siliņa's speech is reproduced above as a video below with the official text below that. The full debate is available at this United Nations website (Siliņa begins speaking after an hour).
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We all have gathered here at the United Nations with a particular sense of commitment - to advance women’s empowerment.

When women suffer from ongoing wars and conflicts, climate change and poverty, the international community must be stand up for women’s rights. 

As a Vice Chair of this Commission, Latvia is committed to shaping global standards and policies on gender equality.

We are also keen to work together with other countries to contribute to the women’s empowerment by sharing and learning from best practice.

The focus of this session is gender inequality and poverty, which affects millions of women and girls around the world.

It is a consequence of systemic failures that lead to exclusion, discrimination, and violations of human rights.

Addressing gender disparities during the life course is not only a matter of justice but also a good strategy to eradicate poverty. 

Reduction of the risk of poverty and social exclusion is high on the political agenda of the Government of Latvia.

Latvia’s approach to reducing income inequality and poverty includes:

-          Quality education opportunities,

-          Economic and social empowerment,

-          Support for reconciliation of work and family life,

-          Reduction of gender-based stereotypes and combating gender-based violence.

Gender-based stereotypes are one of the main factors that influence women’s and men’s educational and career choices.

Gender-based stereotypes also lead to labour market segregation and unequal pay.

One of Latvia’s priorities for the upcoming years is to implement a pay transparency mechanism.

It will help tackle pay discrimination at work and contribute to closing the gender pay gap.  

Since 2021, Latvia has introduced a reform in the field of minimum income support.

It also addresses the need to reduce women’s poverty.

It is aimed at increasing the minimum income regularly.

Flexible working arrangements are vital to help women achieve better work-life balance and provide more opportunities to participate in the labour market.

Latvia has introduced measures to strengthen the role of men in childcare.

We encourage fathers to use paterntal leave and promote equal sharing of family and household responsibilities.

Pension adequacy is still a challenge when it comes to reducing the risk of poverty in retirement, which mainly affects women. 

Poverty and gender-based violence are inter-connected issues. 

They often reinforce each other, creating a cycle of vulnerability.

Last year, Latvia ratified the Istanbul Convention.

It is an important step towards creating a society free from violence against women, promoting gender equality, and fostering a culture of respect and dignity for all individuals.

Latvia has increased efforts to eliminate violence against women and domestic violence.

Latvia remains committed to strengthening of the Women, Peace, and Security agenda.

As a candidate for election to the United Nations Security Council for 2026-27, Latvia underlines the necessity to address conflict-related sexual violence.

We continue to provide support to women in Ukraine who have suffered from Russia’s war and its sexual violence.

Let us not be silent in the face of injustice and inequality.

Let us show the world that we are agents of change for ourselves and next generations.

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