UN secretary-general: Gender inequality and discrimination against women harms us all
We are at a pivotal moment for women’s rights. The historical and structural inequalities that have allowed oppression and discrimination to flourish are being exposed like never before, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his message on international women’s day, APA reports.
“From Latin America to Europe to Asia, on social media, on film sets, on the factory floor and in the streets, women are calling for lasting change and zero tolerance for sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination of all kinds.
Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world,” the secretary-general said.
Noting that the activism and advocacy of generations of women has borne fruit, the diplomat went on saying: “There are more girls in school than ever before; more women are doing paid work and in senior roles in the private sector, academia, politics and in international organizations, including the United Nations. Gender equality is enshrined in countless laws, and harmful practices like female genital mutilation and child marriage have been outlawed in many countries.
But serious obstacles remain if we are to address the historic power imbalances that underpin discrimination and exploitation.
More than a billion women around the world lack legal protection against domestic sexual violence. The global gender pay gap is 23 per cent, rising to 40 per cent in rural areas, and the unpaid work done by many women goes unrecognized. Women’s representation in national parliaments stands, on average, at less than one quarter, and in boardrooms it is even lower. Without concerted action, millions more girls will be subjected to genital mutilation over the next decade.
Where laws exist, they are often ignored, and women who pursue legal redress are doubted, denigrated and dismissed. We now know that sexual harassment and abuse have been thriving in workplaces, public spaces and private homes, in countries that pride themselves on their record of gender equality.”
The United Nations should set an example for the world, Guterres added.
“I recognize that this has not always been the case. Since the start of my tenure last year, I have set change in motion at UN headquarters, in our peacekeeping missions and in all our offices worldwide.
We have now reached gender parity for the first time in my senior management team, and I am determined to achieve this throughout the organization. I am totally committed to zero tolerance of sexual harassment and have set out plans to improve reporting and accountability. We are working closely with countries around the world to prevent and address sexual exploitation and abuse by staff in peacekeeping missions, and to support victims.
We at the United Nations stand with women around the world as they fight to overcome the injustices they face – whether they are rural women dealing with wage discrimination, urban women organizing for change, women refugees at risk of exploitation and abuse, or women who experience intersecting forms of discrimination: widows, indigenous women, women with disabilities and women who do not conform to gender norms,” said the secretary-general.
The diplomat went on saying: “Women’s empowerment is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals means progress for all women, everywhere. The Spotlight initiative launched jointly with the European Union will focus resources on eliminating violence against women and girls, a prerequisite for equality and empowerment.
Let me be clear: this is not a favour to women. Gender equality is a human rights issue, but it is also in all our interests: men and boys, women and girls. Gender inequality and discrimination against women harms us all.
There is ample evidence that investing in women is the most effective way to lift communities, companies, and even countries. Women’s participation makes peace agreements stronger, societies more resilient and economies more vigorous. Where women face discrimination, we often find practices and beliefs that are detrimental to all. Paternity leave, laws against domestic violence and equal pay legislation benefit everyone.
At this crucial moment for women’s rights, it is time for men to stand with women, listen to them and learn from them. Transparency and accountability are essential if women are to reach their full potential and lift all of us, in our communities, societies and economies.
I am proud to be part of this movement, and I hope it continues to resonate within the United Nations and around the world”.
Related news releases
- 20.03.2018Bolivia takes Chile to world court over maritime access
- 20.03.2018Trump sends Nowruz greetings and attacks Iranian government
- 20.03.2018Trump still wants summit of Gulf states
- 20.03.2018Russia blocks U.N. Security Council meeting on human rights in Syria
- 20.03.2018Uber halts self-driving cars after pedestrian fatality
- 19.03.2018U.S. blocks use of Venezuela's digital currency - White House
- 19.03.2018Engine failure forces Ivanka, Jared's helicopter to return to airport
- 18.03.20181 person dead in shooting at Southern California mall, authorities say
- 18.03.2018Florida officials knew about bridge crack
- 17.03.2018Trump, South Korea's Moon discuss engagement with North
- 16.03.2018US: At least 6 dead in Florida bridge collapse
- 16.03.2018At least four dead in pedestrian bridge collapse at university in Miami - UPDATED
- 16.03.2018Nike brand president resigns; company probes workplace complaints
- 16.03.2018Colombia resumes peace talks with ELN rebels
- 16.03.2018Facebook Lite to launch in developed countries, including US
- 16.03.2018Broadcom tops revenue, profit on demand from smartphone makers
- 16.03.2018Several reported dead after pedestrian bridge collapses in Miami
- 15.03.2018Mueller subpoenas Trump organization, demands Russia-related docs
- 15.03.2018Explosion hits chemical plant in Texas, building ablaze - UPDATED
- 15.03.2018Former Trump campaign manager Manafort files to dismiss charges
- 15.03.2018U.S. Ambassador Haley tells U.N. Russia responsible for chemical attack
- 15.03.2018Trump taps commentator Kudlow for top economic adviser
- 15.03.2018US students rally nationwide against gun violence
- 15.03.2018Russian UN Envoy: 'Unacceptable' for UK to accuse Moscow of nerve agent attack
- 15.03.2018At least six die in Bolivia prison uprising
- 14.03.2018Three arrested, charged in US mosque bombing
- 13.03.2018White House fires top Tillerson aide after comments on Boss' firing
- 13.03.2018US defense secretary backs Afghan overtures to Taliban
- 13.03.2018Trump: Tillerson and I "disagreed on things" like the Iran deal
- 13.03.2018Trump sacks Rex Tillerson as state secretary
- 13.03.2018White House expects North Korea summit to happen despite Pyongyang's silence
- 13.03.2018US: House Republicans find no Trump-Russia collusion
- 13.03.2018U.S. may lift travel ban on 'important partner' Chad, Tillerson says
- 13.03.2018U.N. blames Honduras security forces for killing electoral protesters
- 12.03.2018U.S. warns if Security Council doesn't act on Syria, it will
- 12.03.2018Tillerson says several steps needed for U.S. talks with North Korea
- 11.03.2018Trump says North Korea talks could fail or bring 'greatest deal'
- 10.03.2018US Secretary of State Tillerson Ill, Cancels Africa Tour Events
- 10.03.2018Trump to rally for endangered Republican in Pennsylvania
- 10.03.20183 hostages and gunman dead at California veterans' home
- 08.03.2018U.N. urges Syria to ensure truce for Ghouta aid convoy on Thursday
- 08.03.2018Alabama student dies in accidental school shooting: officials
- 10.03.2018UN welcomes planned Trump-Kim meeting
- 07.03.2018U.S. President's top economic adviser stepping down
- 07.03.2018State Dept sanctions DPRK for using agent VX to kill Kim Jong Un’s half-brother
- 07.03.2018International nuclear fusion project seeks reversal of Trump budget cuts