PARIS, March 20 (Xinhua) -- More than 400 women from international Francophone communities met Wednesday in Paris to explore ways to promote rights of women and to ensure gender equality in francophone countries.
They gathered at the First Global Forum of Francophone Women on the occasion of the International Francophonie Day, where a roundtable dedicated to education of girls and women was held.
The Forum seeks to share experiences, ideas and recommendations from participants, on avenues for further reflection to ensure equal rights and women's dignity and to create an active network to mobilize in the French speaking world and beyond.
Participants focused their discussion on how to garantee the respect of women's fundamental rights, including their access to education, medicare, gender equality and women empowerment in politics.
The forum was opened by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and organized at the initiative of the French foreign ministry, in partnership with International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF).
"There is no human development without the development of women. Their efforts should be recognized, supported and encouraged," said the Director-General. "La Francophonie plays a vital role in providing women with the strength of a community that speaks the same language and has the same voice, that of the right to fundamental freedoms."
Among participates were Yamina Benguigui, Minister for La Francophonie, Abdou Diouf, Secretary-General of the IOF. Michelle Bachelet, Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women also sent a message to the attention of participants.