Panafrican News Agency

Women must no longer be ‘squeezed into a small corner’, landmark Forum declares

Paris, France (PANA) - In a bid to put gender equality at the heart of COVID recovery, UN Women kicked off a three-day “landmark effort” in Paris on Wednesday, aiming to lay out ambitious investments and policies to bridge the chasm between where women stand in the world today, and where they should be, by 2030.

“Gender equality is essentially about power, and power in a world that is still largely male dominated, with a culture that is still largely patriarchal,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the Generation Equality Forum, launching a “five-year action journey”, based on the UN Global Acceleration Plan fr Gender Equality. 

A UN statement said the UN chief, noting that “power is very rarely given. You have to take it”, stressed as one of his five priorities, the importance of parity to redistribute power and create the necessary conditions for true equality. 

The UN chief said that to achieve equal rights, discriminatory laws around the world must be repealed and transformed into  ‘de facto’ equality.

He said women in the informal economy, were “paying a heavy price for the pandemic”, also highlighting economic equality in pay, employment, and social protections. 

Noting a surge in violence against women and girls during  COVID-19, Mr. Guterres said that putting an end to it must be  “a central element of all policies and all of our objectives”.  

The statement said he highlighted the importance of  intergenerational dialogue as “another fundamental instrument for gender equality” to allow young people to be a part of decision-making in today’s digital society.  

In her statement, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile  Mlambo-Ngcuka, said that “women everywhere in the world are squeezed into a small corner”.  

She highlighted how they make up a quarter of all managers, parliamentarians, climate change negotiators and “less than one quarter of those who negotiate peace agreements”.  

“One quarter is not enough. One quarter is not equality. Equality is one half, where both men and women are together,” she  said.

Generation Equality is about change, the UN Women chief said, it’s about “moving from making promises” to saying what has been done to advance women worldwide. 

She detailed that Member States, the private sector and others,  have made nearly 1,000 commitments to change the lives of women, including to change policies.  

However, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka continued, “the fight still has to continue…We need to be pushing upwards all the time, so that there is a race to the top”. 

-0- PANA MA 1July2021