Italy's foreign minister Angelino Alfano on Thursday praised and urged respect for women, calling them "protagonists in change, in the peaceful resolution of conflicts and in the fight against poverty."
“Women as protagonists in change, in the peaceful resolution of conflicts and in the fight against poverty," Alfano said in a statement to mark International Women's Day.
"That is the message I want to convey today, on the occasion of the 8th of March. I would also like to send my wishes to all the women of the foreign ministry, in service in Rome or abroad,” he said.
"We want to promote the culture of respect," Alfano said.
Women play a key role in the management of peace and international security, Alfano said, urging more female mediators of conflicts.
"However, we need more women to be protagonists in mediation activities. Unfortunately, today there are still too few of them,” he said.
Through its diplomatic and consular network and its development cooperation activities, the foreign ministry also seeks to boost women's participation in politics and their role in the economy and in combatting poverty, Alfano said.
"We are convinced that the civil, political, economic, social and cultural development of every country cannot be achieved without the full participation and the fundamental contribution of women."
While chairman of the G7 last year, Italy rolled out a cross-cutting blueprint for improving the condition of women, the ‘Roadmap for a gender-responsive economic empowerment’, Alfano noted.
The plan seeks gender equality, a reduction in violence against women and children and the wider participation of women in decision-making processes.
The foreign ministry also launched the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network in 2017 to strengthen women’s role in mediation activities in the region, Alfano pointed out.
With the increasing involvement of women in conflict or post-conflict situations, the Italian foreign ministry underlined "their decisive contribution in the peaceful resolution of conflicts".
The statement also reiterated Italy’s commitment to preventing and fighting every kind of discrimination and violence against women and its support for international campaigns to wipe out harmful practices, starting with female genital mutilation and forced and child marriages, as well as to prevent and fight sexual violence in conflict and emergency situations.