As we celebrate International Women’s Day, I wish to send a special message to all the women who work in the cultural and creative industries in ACP countries.

Today, 8 March, despite the fact that there are still major disparities between men and women in terms of access to skilled employment, management positions, or access to finance, I am pleased to remind you of the commitment made by the ACP Ministers of Culture, who met in Brussels, last November:

Towards increased participation of women and youth in the cultural and creative industries, we commit to:

30. Integrate gender and the youth perspectives into cultural policies, plans of action, support programmes, and legislation concerning the cultural and creative industries, as well as in their follow-up and assessment mechanisms;

31. Undertake capacity-building among women and youth, especially in administrative management and entrepreneurial leadership, technical professions, and the use of digital tools;

32. Promote youth and women entrepreneurship in the CCI.”

In the coming months, the ACP Secretariat will work tirelessly to ensure that these commitments are taken into consideration, in both the establishment of a new ACP-EU support programme for the cultural sector, and in the various bodies that facilitate dialogue and decision-making.

In fact, when the time comes to take stock, we should no longer be able to see the inequalities, instead we should be certain that the gender aspect has truly been taken into account upstream, in every action. From now on, we must put pragmatism first, to ensure that women will quickly feel the impact, whether in terms of capacity building, professional training in employment growth industries, or even support in the creation of micro, small, and medium enterprises.

Today, I wish to convey my gratitude to and admiration for all the female entrepreneurs in the cultural industries, whose creativity and talent contribute to the wealth and diversity of ACP cultural expressions.

I look forward to seeing you on 8 March 2019 for an update on the concrete measures that would have been taken.

Happy International Women’s Day!