G8 'should focus on role of women and girls'

Parliamentarians from 35 countries around the world are calling for the G8 summit in France this month to focus on the role of women and girls in modern-day societies.

A resolution issued at the end of the Global Parliamentarians' Summit held at France's National Assembly said: "We wish to draw the world's attention to two aspects of human rights that are the most neglected - the situation facing girls and adolescent women and the challenges posed by global population dynamics at present."

Henri de Raincourt, the French minister for cooperation, told IPS News that issues concerning females - such as women's health - would be addressed at the G8 meeting.

He said his country insists this is a key focus, explaining he believes the role women and girls play is key to "development".

In the resolution, the parliamentarians, who are from European Union member states, as well as Africa, Asia and other regions, stated that around 600 million females are in a vulnerable position in the developing world.

They face both inequalities and injustices, the resolution said, explaining that these issues are currently a major barrier which has to be overcome in terms of both social and human development.

It stated that development aid needs to be used to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS among young women, as well as eradicating the "feminisation" of the diseases.

Recently, 16 countries pledged to reduce the number of maternal and infant deaths, as part of the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health.