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A seat left empty – to achieve a Gender Equal world, it needs to be filled

8 February 2021

The mandate of the first-ever EU/EEAS Principal Advisor on Gender (PAG) and on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, Ambassador Mara Marinaki ended - as foreseen - on 31.12.2020, leaving her seat empty. We, as Plan International, believe the position has shown strong leadership and paved the way for concrete achievements for gender equality and girls’ and women’s empowerment to be at the centre of the EU’s external action. Whilst the proceedings for filling the role, thanks to pressure from MEPs, have now been launched, the PAG role has yet to be filled. 

As Plan International, we support the call of the European Parliament and reiterate the importance of having a candidate in this role as soon as possible, to be able to deliver on a Gender Equal World. We believe that the new title of principal advisor on gender and diversity will lead the EU to adopt a more intersectional approach to gender equality. While we welcome this, we believe that the role should receive enough resources to ensure that this widened mandate does not dilute the focus on gender but, on the contrary, can enhance it. This ambitious mandate carries a heavy responsibility, which must be backed with appropriate funding to ensure the position is allowed to live up to its full potential.

We are hopeful that the EU stays committed to the ambitions of the Gender Action Plan III, the Women, Peace and Security Action Plan, and the expectations of the European Parliament, as set out in the Resolution on Gender Equality in the EU’s foreign policy. We see this as a matter of utmost importance, given that it will take 100 years to achieve gender equality if we continue at this pace. We cannot afford to wait this long. By filling the position of the Principal Advisor on Gender with adequate resources as soon as possible, the EU will send a clear signal that it is ready to continue leading by example.