27 July 2015
The First Minister is in China and Hong Kong to promote Scotland in one of the world’s largest economies.
The first stop on the visit is Beijing where, as well as a series of business meetings, cultural events and education engagements, the First Minister gave a major speech on women’s rights at the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
During the speech – made to an audience of senior women in the Chinese government – the First Minister said equal rights for women was the key to sustainable economic growth for Scotland and China.
Ms Sturgeon said not only was gender equality a fundamental issue of human rights, it was one of the great economic opportunities of the century.
The First Minister said:
There are currently well over 2 billion working age women across the world. But there is virtually no country, on any continent, where women have equal economic opportunities to men.
For virtually every nation, fully empowering women is probably the single simplest way, in which they can sustainably increase their productive potential. Gender equality can help to transform the global economy.”
The speech was welcomed by Naomi McAuliffe, Amnesty International’s Programme Director in Scotland. She said:
The First Minister has made a significant statement of support for equality and human rights in Beijing, and we trust that she will continue a dialogue on these issues throughout her time in China.”
Professor Alan Miller, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission said:
The Commission welcomes the First Minister’s speech to the Chinese Friendship Association and her clear message that gender equality is a fundamental question of realising universal human rights.
The First Minister rightly highlights that realising human rights is about giving everyone an equal chance to live in dignity and fulfil their potential. Clearly there is much to be done around the world before that vision can be said to be a reality.
The journey that each country still has to travel to achieve that vision is different but international human rights, allied with the new Sustainable Development Goals, give all a roadmap to move forward.
The Commission hopes that the First Minister will take this and future opportunities to share lessons from Scotland’s experiences of developing and implementing SNAP – Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights – a progressive approach to making human rights a reality in people’s lives.”
— BBC Scotland News (@BBCScotlandNews) July 27, 2015
The First Minister’s remarks came as we approach the 20 year anniversary of the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, at which then First Lady Hillary Clinton delivered her iconic “women’s rights are human rights” address.
During her speech today, the First Minister echoed that language, adding “Because just as women’s rights are human rights – the great message sent out from Beijing 20 years ago – so women’s innovations are human innovations; women’s wealth-creation is human wealth-creation; women’s prosperity is human prosperity.”