Tag Archives: UN Women

The UN Secretary Generals Message on International Womens Day

New York, 8 March 2019

Gender equality and women’s rights are fundamental to global progress on peace and security,

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

human rights and sustainable development. We can only re-establish trust in institutions, rebuild global solidarity and reap the benefits of diverse perspectives by challenging historic injustices and promoting the rights and dignity of all.

In recent decades, we have seen remarkable progress on women’s rights and leadership in some areas. But these gains are far from complete or consistent – and they have already sparked a troubling backlash from an entrenched patriarchy.

Gender equality is fundamentally a question of power. We live in a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture. Only when we see women’s rights as our common objective, a route to change that benefits everyone, will we begin to shift the balance.

Increasing the number of women decision-makers is fundamental. At the United Nations, I have made this a personal and urgent priority. We now have gender parity among those who lead our teams around the world, and the highest-ever numbers of women in senior management. We will continue to build on this progress.

But women still face major obstacles in accessing and exercising power. As the World Bank found, just six economies give women and men equal legal rights in areas that affect their work. And if current trends continue, it will take 170 years to close the economic gender gap.

Nationalist, populist and austerity agendas add to gender inequality with policies that curtail women’s rights and cut social services. In some countries, while homicide rates overall are decreasing, femicide rates are rising. In others we see a rollback of legal protection against domestic violence or female genital mutilation. We know women’s participation makes peace agreements more durable, but even governments that are vocal advocates fail to back their words with action. The use of sexual violence as a tactic in conflict continues to traumatize individuals and entire societies.

Against this backdrop, we need to redouble our efforts to protect and promote women’s rights, dignity and leadership. We must not give ground that has been won over decades and we must push for wholesale, rapid and radical change.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”, addresses infrastructure, systems and frameworks that have been constructed largely in line with a male-defined culture. We need to find innovative ways of reimagining and rebuilding our world so that it works for everyone. Women decision-makers in areas like urban design, transport and public services can increase women’s access, prevent harassment and violence, and improve everyone’s quality of life.

This applies equally to the digital future that is already upon us. Innovation and technology reflect the people who make them. The underrepresentation and lack of retention of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design should be a cause of concern to all.

Last month, in Ethiopia, I spent time with African Girls Can Code, an initiative that is helping to bridge the digital gender divide and train the tech leaders of tomorrow. I was delighted to see the energy and enthusiasm these girls brought to their projects. Programmes like this not only develop skills; they challenge stereotypes that limit girls’ ambitions and dreams.

On this International Women’s Day, let’s make sure women and girls can shape the policies, services and infrastructure that impact all our lives. And let’s support women and girls who are breaking down barriers to create a better world for everyone.

*****

French Translation

L’égalité des genres et les droits des femmes sont fondamentaux pour progresser à l’échelle planétaire sur la voie de la paix, de la sécurité, des droits de l’homme et du développement durable. Nous ne pouvons rétablir la confiance dans les institutions, reconstruire la solidarité au niveau mondial et tirer parti des diverses perspectives qu’en luttant contre les injustices historiques et en promouvant les droits et la dignité de toutes et de tous.

 

Ces dernières décennies, nous avons vu les femmes réaliser de remarquables avancées dans certains domaines, en matière de droits et de leadership. Mais ces progrès sont loin d’être complets ou systématiques – et ils ont suscité une réaction hostile et inquiétante de la part d’un patriarcat solidement enraciné.

 

L’égalité des genres est essentiellement une question de pouvoir. Nous vivons dans un monde dominé par les hommes où la culture l’est également. Ce n’est que lorsque nous nous fixons comme objectif commun les droits des femmes, un nouveau cap à prendre au profit de toutes et de tous, que nous commencerons à faire évoluer la situation.

 

L’augmentation du nombre des femmes à des postes de décision est fondamental. À l’ONU, j’en ai fait une priorité personnelle et urgente. Nous avons assuré la parité entre les sexes parmi celles et ceux qui dirigent nos équipes dans le monde, et le nombre de femmes occupant des postes de responsabilité est le plus élevé jamais atteint dans l’Organisation. Nous continuerons à faire fond sur cette avancée.

 

Toutefois, les femmes se heurtent encore à des obstacles importants pour accéder au pouvoir et pour l’exercer. Comme la Banque mondiale l’a constaté, seuls six pays accordent aux femmes et aux hommes la même égalité de droits dans des domaines touchant à leur vie professionnelle. Et si les tendances actuelles se maintiennent, il faudra 170 ans pour combler l’écart économique entre les sexes.

 

Les programmes nationalistes, populistes et d’austérité ajoutent à l’inégalité de genre par des politiques qui restreignent les droits des femmes et suppriment l’accès aux services sociaux. Dans certains pays, alors que le taux d’homicide est d’une manière générale en baisse, celui de féminicide est en hausse. Dans d’autres, nous constatons un recul de la protection juridique contre la violence domestique et la mutilation génitale féminine. Nous savons que la participation des femmes aux accords de paix rend ces derniers plus durables, ce qui n’empêche pourtant pas les gouvernements qui plaident en leur faveur de ne pas réussir à traduire leurs paroles en actes. Le recours à la violence sexuelle en tant que tactique dans les conflits continue d’être à la source de traumatismes à l’échelle des individus et de sociétés entières.

 

Dans ce contexte, il nous faut redoubler d’efforts pour protéger et promouvoir les droits, la dignité et le leadership des femmes. Nous ne devons pas céder un pouce du terrain conquis depuis des décennies et nous devons appeler à un changement rapide, radical et en profondeur.

 

Cette année, le thème de la Journée internationale des femmes : « Penser équitablement, bâtir intelligemment, innover pour le changement », aborde la question des infrastructures, des systèmes et des cadres qui ont été en grande partie établis dans l’esprit d’une culture définie par les hommes. Nous devons trouver des manières innovantes de réinventer et de reconstruire notre monde pour qu’il profite à toutes et à tous. Les femmes occupant des postes de décision dans des secteurs comme l’urbanisme, les transports et les services publics peuvent accroître l’accès d’autres femmes, prévenir le harcèlement à leur égard et les violences dont elles font l’objet, et améliorer la qualité de vie de chacune et de chacun.

 

Cela vaut également pour l’avenir numérique qui nous entoure déjà. L’innovation et la technologie sont le reflet de celles et ceux qui sont à leur origine. La sous‑représentation des femmes et le fait qu’elles ne demeurent pas en poste dans les secteurs de la science, de la technologie, de l’ingénierie, des mathématiques et de la conception devraient être une source de préoccupation pour nous toutes et tous.

 

Le mois dernier, en Éthiopie, j’ai passé du temps avec l’équipe d’African Girls Can Code, une initiative qui contribue à combler le fossé numérique entre les femmes et les hommes et à former les responsables des entreprises de haute technologie de demain. J’ai eu le plaisir de voir l’énergie et l’enthousiasme avec lesquels ces filles menaient leurs projets. Les programmes de cette nature ne développent pas seulement les compétences : ils combattent les stéréotypes qui limitent les ambitions et les rêves des filles.

 

En cette Journée internationale des femmes, veillons à ce que les femmes et les filles puissent concevoir des politiques, des services et des infrastructures ayant un effet sur notre vie. Et apportons notre soutien aux femmes et aux filles qui suppriment les obstacles à la création d’un monde meilleur pour toutes et pour tous.

 

 

Bookmark the Spokesperson’s website:http://www.un.org/sg/en/spokesperson

 

UNDP Administrator Ms. Helen Clark, visits Zambia

UNDP Administrator Ms. Helen Clark was in Zambia from July 16 to July 19 2015. During this visit she held a number of meetings with Republican President Mr. Edger Lungu, The National Assembly, Minister of Foreign Affairs and corporating partners of the United Nations in Zambia.

UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark on arrival in Chief Nyampande's area, Petauke, Eastern province, Zambia. Photo credit/UNIC Lusaka

UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark on arrival in Chief Nyampande’s area, Petauke, Eastern province, Zambia. Photo credit/UNIC Lusaka

She also took part in the official launch of the “HeforShe” Campaign which took place in Chief Nyampande area and Misolo Village in Petauke, of the Eastern Province Zambia some 500kms from the capital city Lusaka on July 18, 2015 she was accompanied by the UN Zambia Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan and UNDP staff. The launch was graced by the Head of State, various traditional Chiefs, the Ministers of Gender; Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, Women for Change and other corporating partners.

In Lusaka, she saw the President; the Vice President who hosted a lunch on environment and climate change resilience, attended by the Ministers of Mines, Energy and Water Development, Agriculture and Tourism as well as the French Ambassador and the Director of the Disaster Mitigation and Management Unit; the Speaker of the National Assembly and Chairs of main Committees and Caucuses, including the new SDG Caucus; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who also hosted a reception for her; the Ministers of Commerce, Trade and Industry and Transport, Works and Supply and Communications, who co-hosted a meeting with the private sector; the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, who hosted a meeting with youth representatives. The Chief Justice hosted lunch with senior members of the judiciary. She also met the diplomatic community in Lusaka and the UN Country Team.

Students wearing branded attire for the "HeforShe" campaign.

Students wearing branded attire for the “HeforShe” campaign. Photo Credit/UNIC Lusaka

Her field trip to Eastern Province was a great success. The President agreed to launch the Zambia HeForShe campaign and spent the whole day with the UN Team at Chief Nyamphande’s village and then at Misolo village visiting the Anti-GBV One-Stop Shop there. We could not have a better platform for pushing forward this campaign. Driving around Eastern Province, Helen was struck by the persisting levels of rural poverty, which she had also seen in other countries, such as Malawi and Tanzania, which have not experienced conflict since independence. She found the persistent rural poverty and inequalities in such circumstances shocking and she hopes that, among other work, the UN (UNDP) extractives project, once launched, can become part of a solution for dealing with persistent rural poverty and inequalities.

About the global HeforShe Campaign, HeForShe is a solidarity campaign for gender equality initiated by UN Women. Its goal is to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights, by encouraging them to take action against inequalities faced by women and girls. Grounded in the idea that gender equality is an issue that affects all people — socially, economically and politically — it seeks to actively involve men and boys in a movement that was originally conceived as “a struggle for women by women”. Some noticed the contradiction of a campaign for gender equality which only takes action against inequalities faced by women and girls, ignoring problems affecting men and boys.

Branded HeforShe Minibus at Chief Nyampandes Palace. Petauke, Eastern Province, Zambia.

Branded HeforShe Minibus at Chief Nyampandes Palace. Petauke, Eastern Province, Zambia. Photo Credit/UNIC Lusaka

On the HeForShe website, a map which uses a geo-locator to record global engagement in the campaign counts the number of men and boys around the world who have taken the HeForShe pledge, as UN Women works towards its goal of engaging 1 million men and boys by July 2015. The campaign website also includes implementation plans for UN agencies, individuals and civil society, as well as those on university and college campuses, both through online and sustained engagement.

“Initially we were asking the question, ‘Do men care about gender equality?’ and we found out that they do care,” said Elizabeth Nyamayaro, senior adviser to the executive director of UN Women. “Then we started to get a lot of emails from men who signed up, who now want to do more.”

UN ZAMBIA JOINT STATEMENT INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, 2014

This year’s United Nations theme for International Women’s Day stresses that “Equality for women is progress for all.” Achieving equality for women and girls is important not simply because it is a matter of fairness and fundamental human rights, but because progress in so many other areas depends on it.

An investment in the improved health and education of women, leads directly to a healthier and

International Women's Day march past

Women in uniform marching

more prosperous household, village and larger community. Giving women the power to make choices over their lives is one of the first steps towards a world with zero hunger. In every country where UN works, including in Zambia, women are front and centre in programmes to tackle many development challenges, including food insecurity and nutrition.

“It is evident that equality for women and girls means progress for all. This simple fact must be central as we work to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 deadline, and design an ambitious agenda for the Post-2015,” said Martin Clemensson, the UN Resident Coordinator a.i in Zambia. “We are seeing some progress on gender equality indicators in the area of health and education; continued commitment and intentional policies and programmes however, are essential to accelerating the progress made so far.”

Over 50 per cent of Zambia’s population is female. The chance to go up the education chain, without having to drop out, be beaten or become a child labourer, and having the same access to skills and resources required to participate fully in the country’s economic development will more than double Zambia’s GDP, and halve the levels of child malnutrition and ill-health.

The UN in Zambia commends the efforts that have been taken by government to address Gender Based Violence in Zambia, through the enactment of the Anti-Gender Based Violence Act. The UN acknowledges the political commitment attached to this issue, and takes special note of the fact that work to establish ‘fast track courts” is being undertaken. The UN System is actively collaborating with Government, the Police and the Judiciary on these initiatives. “I have a message for every girl born today, and to every woman and girl on the planet: Realizing human rights and equality is not a dream, it is a duty of governments, the United Nations and every human being,” said the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon in his message on International Women’s Day.

The Secretary General also appealed men and boys to play their part. “All of us benefit when women and girls – your mothers, sisters, friends and colleagues — can reach their full potential.

Together, let us work for women’s rights, empowerment and gender equality as we strive to eliminate poverty and promote sustainable development. Equality for women is progress for all.”