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UN chief calls for changing unequal power dynamics against women

2018-03-13 02:25:09 (Beijing Time)         news.xinhuanet.com

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses the opening meeting of the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN headquarters in New York, March 12, 2018. Guterres said Monday that it is important to change the unequal power dynamics that underpin discrimination and violence against women. "Progress for women and girls means changing the unequal power dynamics that underpin discrimination and violence," the UN chief told the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which opened Monday and will last until March 23. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

UNITED NATIONS, March 12 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday that it is important to change the unequal power dynamics that underpin discrimination and violence against women.

"Progress for women and girls means changing the unequal power dynamics that underpin discrimination and violence," the UN chief told the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which opened Monday and will last until March 23.

"This is not only the greatest human rights challenge of our time. It is also in everyone's interests. Discrimination against women damages communities, organizations, companies, economies and societies," he noted.

"That is why all men should support women's rights and gender equality," said the secretary-general.

Noting that "we live in a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture," the UN chief noted that is "why the empowerment of women and girls is our common central objective."

"Centuries of patriarchy and discrimination have left a damaging legacy," he said, adding that sexist attitudes and stereotypes are widespread in governments, the private sector, academia, the arts, science and technology, and even in civil society and international organizations like the United Nations.

The secretary-general said gender inequality are still a common scene, citing a number of statistics including the proportion of women ambassadors hovering around 20 percent at the United Nations.

"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.

He urged action "to give women a chance to fulfil their potential."

"Women's participation in decision-making makes peace agreements stronger, societies more resilient and economies more vigorous," the Secretary-General noted.

"We often talk about empowering women. When women are already taking action, we need to listen to them and to support them," he said.

He told the large audience that the United Nations has already reached gender parity in the senior management group for the first time. "As of last month, 23 women and 21 men are the top leadership of the United Nations organization."

"My roadmap envisages gender parity at senior levels of our leadership by 2021 in all categories, and ultimately in 2028 across the board," he said.

The Commission on the Status of Women is meeting at UN headquarters with the theme: "Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls." UN sponsors believe 6,000 delegates, civil society organizations, and activists will be at the event.