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Updated On: Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Development Issues

CSW 2018 Opens

Content by: South-South News

12 March 2018, New York, USA | South-South News — Speaking at the opening of the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York on March 12, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “In Latin America, France, India, the Middle East, China and here in the United States, from ‘MeToo’ to ‘Time’s Up’ to ‘The Time is Now’, women and girls are calling out abusive behavior and discriminatory attitudes.”

Guterres said the central issue facing women’s rights is a question of power adding, “Power is normally never given, power normally needs to be taken.”

The UN chief said centuries of patriarchy and discrimination have left a damaging legacy as sexist attitudes and stereotypes are widespread. “Women are pioneering scientists and mathematicians, but they occupy less than 30 percent of research and development jobs worldwide. Women are accomplished artists, writers, musicians and film-makers. But this year, 33 men took home Academy Awards, and only six women. Women are gifted negotiators and communicators, but at the United Nations, the proportion of women ambassadors hovers around 20 percent. It is only when we have changed statistics like these that we can truly say: we are in a new era for women and girls,” he said.

Guterres said progress for women and girls was not only the greatest human rights challenge of our time, it is also in everyone’s interests. He said, “Discrimination against women damages communities, organizations, companies, economies and societies; this is why all men should support women’s rights and gender equality; and that is why I consider myself a proud feminist.”

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said the world was witnessing an “unprecedented hunger for change in women’s lives, and a growing recognition that women, when they are together working together, they can bring about far reaching changes.”

Mlambo-Ngcuka said the CSW’s 62nd session’s focus on rural women was among the most important topics. She said almost one-third of employed women work in agriculture with some 400 million female farm workers worldwide. She said despite representing 60 percent of the global agricultural workforce, on 13 percent of women own the land they work on.

Mlambo-Ngcuka said, “When the UN Charter refers to ‘We the people’ it means all of these women and all their voices. Like any of us they want to choose when to have a child, how many in a family, and who they love. They too want a life without violence and to be heard, and to be free of hunger. They are survivors. They are resilient. They are brave and they are full of dreams. They do not want us to ask them to settle for less or to wait any longer. This is there time for we the people.”

The UN Women chief referenced a recent World Economic Forum report which estimated that it would take 217 years before the world could achieve gender parity at the current pace. She said it was never so urgent to hold leaders accountable to their promises to accelerate progress in women’s rights issues.


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