UN Chief calls for defending women’s rights

The UN chief highlighted the contribution that women have made to ending the pandemic, hailed the ideas, innovations and activism that are changing the world for the better, and welcomed more women leaders across all walks of life.

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UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said in a message released Monday on the eve of International Women’s Day that the world “cannot emerge from the (coronavirus) pandemic with the clock spinning backward on gender equality”.

The UN chief highlighted the contribution that women have made to ending the pandemic, hailed the ideas, innovations, and activism that are changing the world for the better, and welcomed more women leaders across all walks of life.

However, as the secretary-general pointed out, women and girls have frequently borne the brunt of the consequences of the virus spreading worldwide, which have included girls and women being shut out of schools and workplaces, led to rising poverty and rising violence and seen women doing the vast majority of the world’s unpaid but essential care work.

To remedy the situation, Guterres called for guaranteed quality education for every girl, massive investments in women’s training and decent work, effective action to end gender-based violence, and universal health care.

Other measures recommended by the UN chief include gender quotas, that could result in the world benefiting from more women leaders. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, which is being observed on March 8, is “gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, underscoring the fact that women bear a disproportionate burden of the impacts of the climate crisis, and that they need to be central to the solutions for a sustainable planet.

The Action Coalition for Feminist Action for Climate Justice is helping to make sure that this happens. The Coalition, which brings together governments, private sector companies, the UN system and civil society, is part of a drive to bring about global action and investment, with a focus on financing for gender-just climate solutions.

These include increasing women’s leadership in the green economy, building women’s and girls’ resilience to climate impacts and disasters, and increasing the use of data on gender equality and climate.

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