Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gender Issues: Women must be empowered to ‘create the future we want’

UN - United Nations Member States must boost economic empowerment for women to help them realize the global community’s common goals, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro urged today, warning that gender discrimination around the world was still too widespread.

“Too many countries still have discriminatory laws on the books. Laws that prevent women from inheriting property, laws that restrict women’s freedom, and laws that undermine women’s rights are all laws that must be repealed,” Ms. Migiro said in her closing remarks to the Non-Aligned Movement’s (NAM) ministerial meeting on the advancement of women in Doha, Qatar.

Spotlighting the struggles faced by women in rural communities around the world, Ms. Migiro also urged governments to economically empower women living in the countryside, noting that the issue was particularly “critical” in NAM states.

“All too often, we find the worst poverty in the countryside. And women are too often the poorest of the poor. Rural women really need our attention,” she told the gathered delegates, noting that discrimination against rural women “hurts everyone.”

“Millions of rural women do not have equal access to the tools they need to create better living conditions for all. They are shut out when it comes to credit, to information, to services and to technology,” she said.

Ms. Migiro called on all governments to expand women’s access to credit, tools and resources in order to help “unleash women’s economic power.”

The UN has recently argued that unleashing women’s economic potential can promote economic growth and recovery faster and more equitably while also paving the way for other women’s rights – a necessary step in achieving the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by their 2015 deadline.

“This progress will be critical in helping reach larger global targets, especially the Millennium Development Goals,” the Deputy Secretary-General added. “And women’s achievement is essential for the success of this year’s Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. We absolutely must empower women to create the future we want.”

Ms. Migiro also pointed to the progress made by the UN’s youngest agency, UN Women, noting that as it entered its second year, it was determined to do even more to deliver on the Organization’s promises to advance women’s issues, including leadership and political participation, the expansion of economic opportunities, working for an end to gender-based violence, and increasing women’s contributions to peace.