United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on leaders across the world to advance women’s equal participation in society.
Recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is a chance to chart a path to an equal future for women and men, he told the opening of the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women on Monday.
Guterres called on all leaders to put in place five key building blocks: realise women’s equal rights fully, including by repealing discriminatory laws and enacting positive measures; ensure equal representation through special measures including quotas; advance women’s economic inclusion through equal pay, targeted credit, job protection and significant investments in the care economy and social protection; enact an emergency response plan in each country to address violence against women and girls, and follow through with funding, policies, and political will; give space to the intergenerational transition that is underway by offering more support for young women.
“Women’s equal participation is the game-changer we need. Decades of evidence show that women’s participation enhances economic results, prompts greater investment in social protection, leads to more sustainable peace and advances climate action,” Xinhua news agency quoted the UN chief as saying.
Women make up a mere quarter of national legislators worldwide, a third of local government members, and just one-fifth of cabinet ministers.
Only 22 countries are headed by a woman head of state or government, and at current rates, parity among heads of government will not be achieved until 2150, he said.
“That’s right, another 130 years of men making the same kinds of decisions they have made for the past 130 years and more.
“When women are missing from decision-making, we see the world through only one perspective. We create economic models that fail to measure the productive work that occurs in the home. We create digital fora with built-in coding biases. We see decisions threatening efforts to guarantee full access to sexual and reproductive health services and rights.
“And we spend trillions on weapons that fail to make us safer, while neglecting the violence that one in three women globally have experienced,” he explained.
In peace negotiations from 1992 to 2019, only 13 per cent of negotiators, 6 per cent of mediators and 6 per cent of peace agreement signatories were women.
Guterres also called for support for women leaders in all their diversity and abilities, including young women, migrant women, indigenous women, women with disabilities, women of colour and LGBTIQ+.
“Gender equality is essentially a question of power. We still live in a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture. This must change. And males are an essential part of the solution,” he added.