Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Addressing a High Level Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment at the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa on Saturday, UN Secretatry General has said that the reality in Africa, and the rest of the world, is that poverty “still has a woman’s face”.
For every 100 men aged 25-34 living in extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, there are 127 women, he noted.
Women are often concentrated in precarious jobs and they carry a disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work, while violence against women remains pervasive.
As head of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), “I have seen with my own eyes how women and girls are the main victims of conflict, the main victims of displacement and the main victims of in terms of instability in any part of the world”, he said.
“As the world recommits to achieving irreversible progress towards gender equality, I encourage African States, in partnership with civil society and other stakeholders, to contribute to the Beijing+25 Action Coalitions...The United Nations stands alongside the African Union in working to overcome the peace and security, development and human rights challenges that continue to limit African women and girls.”
He called on States to enhance women’s social, economic and financial inclusion.
“It means providing true protection against violence – in conflict and in peacetime, on the streets and in the home. And it means making sure women and girls are encouraged to develop scientific skills and ensuring that they have access to innovation and technology,” he added.
Looking westwards to the billionaire enclaves of northern California, he said it was “rather strange that the area where we see more male chauvinism in the economy, is exactly in some of the more high-tech places, namely Silicon Valley. This is a battle we must win”, otherwise we risk reversing all the trends for gender equality of the last few decades, he added.
“Let us ensure that the needs and perspectives of Africa’s women and girls are fully integrated in our efforts to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies,” he said.
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