Canada and EU reiterate shared commitment to advance gender equality and women’s contributions to peace and security at the Women Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

News release

September 23, 2018 - Montréal, Quebec - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, yesterday concluded the Women Foreign Ministers’ Meeting – a unique gathering of women foreign ministers from around the world.

Together, Minister Freeland and the High Representative/Vice President Mogherini co-chaired the meeting of women foreign ministers in Montréal on September 21 and 22, 2018, to identify innovative ways to jointly address crucial foreign policy challenges and to enhance dialogue and cooperation in support of democracy, human rights and global peace and security.

Women foreign ministers highlighted the benefits that come from integrating a gender perspective in approaches to foreign and security policies, and from their shared desire to promote the meaningful participation of women at all levels of decision making and leadership.

They discussed how everyone, regardless of their gender, must be able to contribute to and benefit equally from political, economic, social and cultural life. The foreign ministers demonstrated a commitment to take an active approach to advancing this shared vision, and discussed a number of strategies they are already pursuing to advance these objectives.

A recurrent theme was their strong commitment to collaboratively reinforce and reform the rules-based international order so that it can best respond to the multiple challenges their countries and citizens face and effectively advance democracy, human rights, peace and human development around the world. Their discussions were enhanced by the diversity of perspectives that were brought to bear.

Women foreign ministers pledged to work together to reiterate their common position and shared values, and to advocate together for the consolidation of strong democracies, which are indispensable in order to ensure peace, security, more resilient societies and sustainable development. They also pledged to continue to work with their colleagues to build a network of governments and civil society organizations to advance gender equality and women’s rights, and to work toward implementing existing commitments.


“This meeting allows us to send a powerful message to the world: that all women, regardless of their level of involvement in the development of their societies, have a key role to play in finding solutions to the political, economic and social challenges facing our societies. I am so glad and grateful that my colleagues from all over the world were able to join us to talk about how we can do more together. I truly believe that this is really just the beginning.”  

- Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs

“The reason why, with Chrystia Freeland, we have convened this first meeting of women Foreign Ministers is because women are generally perceived as victims: victims of conflict, victims of violence. And, indeed, they are in many parts of the world - everywhere the world. But they are also key players in society, in the economy, in institutions, in foreign policy, in defence and many other issues. So we wanted to start showing the ‘new normal’: many women in power, taking responsibility for decisions. While representing diverse societies and perspectives, we all agreed that women’s political and economic empowerment is critical to building a more prosperous, inclusive and safer world.”

 - High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini 

Quick facts

  • Over the course of two days, the foreign ministers discussed a number of pressing global issues under the themes of:

    1. women’s empowerment, political participation and leadership;
    2. strengthening democracy and resilience in peaceful and inclusive societies;
    3. advancing global peace, security and prosperity within the framework of a rules-based international order; and
    4. global work to eliminate all forms of gender-based violence, including in conflict and post-conflict settings.
  • In this context, the ministers also examined a number of specific situations of geopolitical interest, including Syria, Ukraine, Myanmar, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

  • Women foreign ministers were joined for a portion of their deliberations by G7 counterpart Taro Kono, Japan’s Foreign Minister, experts and representatives of civil society, including women’s rights activists and peacebuilders.


Adam Austen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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Maja Kocijancic
Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
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Adam Kaznowski
Press Officer for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
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