UN: UN official urges UN member states to step up on gender parity

New York, US (PANA) - Executive Director, UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, says the past 20 years has seen haltering progress on women’s rights issues and, in some areas, outright stagnation and regression.

Briefing UN reporters on Friday in New York, as part of activities to mark International Women’s Day, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka warned that the march towards gender equality had been "unacceptably slow", due to chronic under investment across all areas.

She said the UN Secretary-General’s report on global review of progress on gender equality, which was slated for launch on 9 March, made this clear.

The report will be launched at the opening of the 59th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

She stated: "The disappointing gap between the norms and implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action points to a collective failure of leadership on progress for women, and the leaders entrusted with the power to realize the promises made in Beijing have failed women and girls."

UN Women chief noted that the report cited some areas of progress, such as an upturn in the number of countries removing discriminatory laws and adopting legislation to stop violence against women and girls.

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said girls’ participation in education had led them to being close to half of all students in primary schools while the presence of women in the labour force had also risen.

"Nevertheless, despite the 189 countries that endorsed the Platform for Action 20 years ago in Beijing, the UN Secretary-General’s report notes that no country has yet achieved gender equality.

"In addition, it points out that despite their better education, women continue to hold some of the worst jobs while the gender pay gap remains a worldwide phenomenon."

She said conflict, volatile food and energy prices, fallout from climate change, rising extremism and an insidious backlash against women’s rights due to deeply entrenched discriminatory norms had all continued to restrain advancements for gender parity.

As a result, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka disclosed that, UN Women was launching its "Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality", initiative to galvanize government pledges for action and as part of the wider Beijing 20 campaign.

"Today, we are calling on governments, everywhere in the world, to Step It Up. By 2030 at the latest, we want to live in a world where at least half of all parliamentarians, university students, CEOs, civil society leaders and any other category, are women. Real progress requires 50-50," the UN official said.
-0- PANA AA/MA 7March2015

07 march 2015 05:54:00

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