New York: UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said the progress in achieving gender equality has been “slow and uneven” as he called on the international community to make concerted efforts to ensure total equality in the next 15 years. “When you hold back half of our population, we cannot realise 100 per cent of our potential,” Ban said at a march held in New York on Sunday from the UN headquarters to Times Square in commemoration of International Women’s Day. “We have to fully respect and use the potential of all of our women,” the UN Secretary General said. Thousands of people gathered for the march aimed at demanding greater efforts by governments to achieve gender equality worldwide.
Ban praised the commitment of those present to gender equality, saying women had to be “front and centre” in the world, especially on issues like peace and development. He recalled that it was 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and sounded a rallying cry for the “step it up” campaign to reach Planet 50:50 by 2030. “That’s our target. We must make it happen,” he said.
“Let’s work to make it happen!” said UN Women Director-General Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka stressing on how rational equality is and the many benefits that stem from boosting the status of women.
“We know that when there is gender equality, girls and boys will go to school and they will prosper,” she said. “We know that when there is gender equality there will be equal pay and poverty will be reduced. We know that when there is gender equality violence will come down and women will be able to live without being violated. We also know that where there is gender equality, our economies will grow, our development will be for everybody, because everybody will be participating.
Joining Ban and Mlambo-Ngcuka on the platform were several other notables, including Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and British actor Paul Bettany.
Gbowee painted a vivid metaphor to describe the situation that persists in a world without gender quality, saying that by excluding the unique skills of women, global society was functioning “with one eye covered” and that was hampering its progress.
“Imagine trying to see the beauty of New York with one eye covered. It’s time for us to uncover the other eye, so that our world can function better. Gender equality all the way! Women’s empowerment all the way,” she said.
Source : DD news