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170 years needed to close economic gender gap: UN Chief

10 Mar 2019 - 12:39

IRNA – With the continuation of current trends, it will take 170 years to close the economic gender gap, said United Nations secretary-general in his message on International Women’s Day, March 8.

'Gender equality and women’s rights are fundamental to global progress on peace and security, 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,' wrote Antonio Guterres in a message, a copy of which was obtained by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) through the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) in the Iranian capital on March 9.

Guterres wrote, '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.'

Saying that increasing the number of women decision-makers is 'fundamental', he added, '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.'

He also said that women still face major obstacles in accessing and exercising power and added that according to the World Bank, 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.'

In some countries, while homicide rates overall are decreasing, femicide rates are rising, he wrote.

Guterres urged the world 'to redouble' efforts 'to protect and promote women’s rights, dignity and leadership'.

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.

He also urged the world to 'make sure women and girls can shape the policies, services and infrastructure that impact all our lives.'

Story Code: 341561

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