UN: UN chief urges gender parity rooted in women's empowerment

New York, US (PANA) - Gender parity at political, cultural, economic and social level is a "central objective" and must be based on women's empowerment, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Saturday.

Speaking at a town hall meeting with women's rights activists and civil society organizations on the sidelines of the ongoing 61st session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York, Guterres stated: "Parity is important in all areas of political and social life, This is a battle and a struggle."

"Generally, no one likes to lose positions they have long held, but the reality of gender parity is that many more women will be in positions that today are occupied by men. That's a good thing," he said, noting that in his experience, gender parity means better decision-making and better management.

He sought suggestions and opinions of the rights activists and civil society representatives on how the UN can move forward on its commitments on gender equality.

"We live in a male-dominated world and a male-dominated culture, so the issue goes beyond protection: the central question is empowerment  and indeed, without it, protection is not possible.

"The question of empowerment has many dimensions, one being to ensure that men and women are able, in parity, to assume their responsibilities at all levels; political, economic, social and cultural. And so, parity for us in the UN is a central objective at the level of senior management, as well as the entire staff," the UN chief said.

Guterres urged the audience to share their perspectives on ways to push the issue forward, in cooperation, not only as an objective regarding the rights of women but "an objective in relation to the quality of our societies and the international community as a whole."

Responding to questions, he acknowledged that, "there is a backlash today against many of the gains women have made over recent decades “and we need to be very active in that regard in order to reverse this trend. But this is not only true of women's rights, there is also a backlash against civil society in general and in many dimensions of human rights."

"As societies become more complex, and as social media's impact continues to grow and governments feel less and less secure because they have less instruments of control, one of the attempts is to try to keep civil society under control and limiting civil society space is a reaction to the feeling of governments that they are losing control of society.

"This is apparent in many countries around the world, but the key is to ensure that governments understand that links with civil society are a way to improve governance, not limit the power of government.

"I think we need to have a strong campaign to make sure that governments understand that working with civil society is the best way to rule a country, and that they understand that the UN needs to apply the same procedures within its work, because what is true at the national level in relation to the quality of democracy is also true at the global level in relation to the governance of democratic institutions," the UN chief said.

The town hall meeting was attended by UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, as well as other senior UN officials and diplomats from UN member states.

The CSW is the largest inter-governmental forum on women's rights and gender equality. The theme this year is on women's economic empowerment in the changing world of work.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  18March2017

18 mars 2017 19:01:13




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