UN chief calls himself 'proud feminist', urges men to follow

2018-03-13 12:13
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (AFP)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called himself "a proud feminist" on Monday and said all men should support women's rights and gender equality.

His statement was loudly applauded by hundreds of women and a sprinkling of men at the opening of the annual two-week meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women, a UN body that Guterres called "vital to end the stereotypes and discrimination that limit women's and girls' opportunities".

The UN chief said changing "the unequal power dynamics" that underpin discrimination and violence against women is "the greatest human rights challenge of our time" - and a goal that is "in everyone's interests".

"Discrimination against women damages communities, organisations, companies, economies and societies," he said. "That is why all men should support women's rights and gender equality. And that is why I consider myself a proud feminist."

Guterres added that this is "a pivotal moment for the rights of women and girls", with the issue being discussed around the globe in the #MeToo and #Time'sUp movements.

As examples of the male-dominated world and male-dominated culture that needs changing, he said: "Women are pioneering scientists and mathematicians - but they occupy less than 30% of research and development jobs worldwide."

And despite women being accomplished artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers, this year 33 men took home Oscars at the Academy Awards, but only six women did, he said.

The theme of this year's UN meeting, which ends March 23, is "Empowering Rural Women and Girls". Guterres called such women "particularly marginalised".

According to UN Women, rural women do much of the work but fare worse than rural men or urban women.

"Less than 13% of landholders worldwide are women, and while the global pay gap between men and women stands at 23%, in rural areas, it can be as high as 40%," UN Women says.

217 years to achieve gender parity

Ireland's UN ambassador, Geraldine Byrne Nason, the commission chair, said its work will focus on these women "who are furthest behind" and are "disproportionately affected by violence, poverty, climate change and hunger".

"Often their predicament quite simply shames us," she said.

"We want to make a difference. We have had enough rhetoric. Time is up for the debates that are long on promises and short on delivery," Byrne Nason said. "We are on the move to bring a tangible result — one that will impact on the lives of women and girls in rural areas."

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka told the opening session that almost one-third of employed women worldwide work in agriculture and there are 400 million women who are farm workers.

"Half of rural poor women in developing countries have no basic literacy, and 15 million girls of primary school age will never, never get the chance to learn to read or write in primary school," she said.

A rural girl is "twice as likely to be married as a child" compared to an urban girl, she added.

Mlambo-Ngcuka warned that progress toward gender equality is slowing and some gains are even reversing.

She pointed to the World Economic Forum's 2017 "Global Gender Gap Report," which found the gap between women and men widening in health, education, politics and the workplace for the first time since the forum's research started in 2006.

"It predicts that it will take — and listen to this — 217 years before we achieve gender parity," Mlambo-Ngcuka said, stressing that this can't be allowed to happen.

"It has never been so urgent to hold ourselves and leaders accountable for the promises to accelerate progress," she said. "The 'Me Too' movement and 'Time's Up' has also showed us change can happen fast — and that women must be believed. This is a moment that we intend to sustain for all."

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter


Read more on:    un  |  antonio guterres

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.