Opening remarks of UPU Deputy Director General Marjan Osvald at the Women and Allies Breakfast

Berne, 21 October 2022

(Check against delivery)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It is a bit unusual for the UPU to start a day with a reception. I am very glad to acknowledge high-level participants from member countries and, of course, the Australian Government and would like to say a few words to highlight the importance of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The UPU is committed to promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and one of them is dedicated to gender equality, but gender equality is also a cross-cutting issue. On average, women are more likely to be excluded from access to decent work, education, and health services; women are over-represented in the global poor, and they are therefore potentially more vulnerable to shocks such as pandemics and environmental disasters.
The Post contributes by actions such as promoting education of women, helping to end discrimination, exploitation and violence through information campaigns, and using the USO to ensure all women have access to reproductive health resources and social welfare.
The postal sector is also a major employer in many countries. It can therefore take steps to ensure that women are encouraged and supported to work for the Post, and to advance to senior positions.
At the suggestion of the Australian Government, the Director General of the UPU has decided to appoint me as the first UPU Gender Equality Champion, so that not only experts and programme managers shine the spotlight on gender equality, but also, so that other high-level officials will be encouraged to advocate for gender equality and empowerment of women. I will make every effort to carry out this mission and to focus our members’ attention on the mandate of the Abidjan Congress to help the global community achieve gender equality by 2030. And I applaud the Australian Government for their continuing efforts to promote this goal, first by serving as author of the Congress proposal to mandate a gender equality policy, then by sponsoring this breakfast today, and by suggesting the appointment of a UPU Gender Champion.
The POC has created the Sustainable Postal Services Group under Committee 3 in order to carry out the mandate from the Abidjan Congress, which last year approved unanimously its Resolution C 10 on Gender equality and the empowerment of women. And its report during the POC Committee 3 on Wednesday pointed out the gender imbalance in the POC and CA leadership; I can tell you with confidence that we are also working here in the International Bureau to improve the ratio of women to men in professional categories as well as in the most senior leadership positions.
This event, hosted by Australia, is the first of what we hope to be regular receptions during Council sessions, to encourage better understanding of the issues regarding gender equality and empowerment of women. We look to other countries to follow the excellent example set by Australia in helping us to raise awareness of the importance of the Congress mandate.
I hope everyone enjoys this morning’s event.