Tuesday, March 8, 2016 4:38 pm
Ban in his message on International Women’s Day, observed every year on March 8, said:”I remain outraged by the denial of rights to women and girls’’.
The general theme for this year’s celebration is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality,” with reference to UN Women’s Step It Up initiative.
Also, the UN asked governments to make national commitments that will close the gender equality gap, by the 2030 deadline.
“I take heart from the people everywhere who act on the secure knowledge that woman’s empowerment leads to society’s advancement.
“Let us devote solid funding, courageous advocacy and unbending political will to achieving gender equality around the world. There is no greater investment in our common future,” Ban said.
Listing successes during the past eight years within the UN linked to gender equality and women’s empowerment, Ban said he has signed nearly 150 letters of appointment for women in positions for Assistant Secretary-General or Under-Secretary-General.
“We have shattered so many glass ceilings; we created a carpet of shards.
“Now we are sweeping away the assumptions and bias of the past so women can advance across new frontiers,” he said.
Ban reiterated that the year 2030 was the deadline for the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The target include achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, as well as ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning.
In a message on the day, the UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, called for the beginning of a countdown to substantive gender equality by 2030, supported by accountability and measurable actions.
“The participation of women at all levels and the strengthening of the women’s movement has never been so critical, working together with boys and men to empower nations build stronger economies and healthier societies,” she said.
Also in her message, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova called for the promotion of gender equality “a transformational force for more just, inclusive and sustainable development”.
According to her, despite progress, steep obstacles remain before genuine equality is a reality for all women and girls.
“The new global agenda will succeed only if every country advances the rights, ingenuity and innovation of every one of its citizens, starting with girls and women,”she said.
In a related development, the International Labour Organisation, (ILO) says in spite of some modest gains in some regions in the world; millions of women are losing ground in their quest for equality in the world of work.
According to a report released by ILO, entitled:”Women at Work: Trends 2016″, it showed that inequality between women and men persisted across a wide spectrum of the global labour market.
It stated that achieving gender equality at work, in line with the 2030 Agenda for SDGs, is an essential pre-condition for ensuring that the future of work is decent for all women and men.
It says at the global level, the employment gender gap has closed by only 0.6 percentage points since 1995, with an employment-to-population ratio of 46 per cent for women and almost 72 per cent for men in 2015.
It showed that Women continue to work longer hours per day than men in both paid and unpaid work.
It also said that in both high and lower income countries, on average, women carried out at least two and a half times more unpaid household and care work than men.
In developing economies, it said, women in employment spend nine hours and 20 minutes in paid and unpaid work, whereas men spend eight hours and seven minutes in such work.
It says as a result, across the world, women, who represent less than 40 per cent of total employment, make up 57 per cent of those working shorter hours and on a part-time basis.