Great strides have been taken to empower women and girls in the Asia-Pacific region since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing adopted an ambitious global agenda to achieve gender equality twenty-five years ago. Gender parity has been achieved in primary education. Maternal mortality has been halved. Today, the region’s governments are committed to overcoming the persistent challenges of discrimination, gender-based violence and women’s unequal access to resources and decision-making.
If I could have one wish granted, it might well be a total end to rape. That means a significant weapon of war gone from the arsenal of conflict, the absence of a daily risk assessment for girls and women in public and private spaces, the removal of a violent assertion of power, and a far-reaching shift for our societies.
For most people, the annual G7 meeting may just seem like an expensive photo-op that doesn’t connect with any concrete change in people’s lives. But for us, appointed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sit on his G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council, it was a unique opportunity to push for strong commitments for girls’ and women’s rights.
The initial response to the outpouring of ‘#MeToo’ around the world has been of outrage at the scale of sexual abuse and violence revealed. The millions of people joining the hashtag tide showed us how little they were heard before. They poured through the floodgate, opening up conversations, naming names and bolstering the frailty of individual statements with the robustness of a movement.
The pain and anger of more than a million people who tweeted #MeToo in the last week have crowded social media with personal stories of sexual harassment or assault.
Later this month, the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)
will take place in Mexico. This meeting provides an important opportunity to reboot global progress on embedding gender equality in disaster risk management and redress deadly exclusion.
What makes a young girl believe she is less intelligent and capable than a boy? And what happens when those children face the ‘hard’ subjects like science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)? A recent study, ‘Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests
’ showed that by the age of 6, girls were already less likely than boys to describe their own gender as ‘brilliant’, and less likely to join an activity labelled for ‘very, very smart’ kids.
The drugging, abduction and violent gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil calls us all to turn the tide of sexual violence against women and girls in Brazil and in every country in the world.
We have recently celebrated the peace deal struck between the government in Colombia and the main guerrilla group. The deal reached on justice issues represents the clearest sign yet of a possible end to five decades of conflict.
The Women’s World Cup has shown people everywhere what women athletes are all about: skill, strength, unity and determination. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the winners – the team from the United States – and to all others who participated. You are inspiring millions of women and girls around the world to pursue their goals and dreams.
Our world is out of balance. It is both wealthier and more unequal today than at any time since the Second World War.
If we look at the headlines or the latest horrifying YouTube clip, Mar. 8 – International Women’s Day – may seem a bad time to celebrate equality for women.
This weekend, at the invitation of President Michelle Bachelet and myself, women leaders from across the world are meeting in Santiago de Chile. We will applaud their achievements. We will remind ourselves of their contributions. And we will chart a way forward to correct the historical record. History has not been fair to women – but then, women usually didn’t write it.
As leaders from around the world gather in Lima, Peru this week to discuss global cooperation in addressing climate change, a woman in Guatemala will struggle to feed her family from a farm plot that produces less each season.
Nearly 20 years ago, the world came together in Beijing for the Fourth World Conference on Women. There, 189 governments adopted a visionary roadmap for gender equality: the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
Today more than 200 schoolgirls will wake up to another day in an unthinkable nightmare. Three weeks ago, they were seized in the night by armed men dressed as soldiers who said they were there to protect them.
When war erupts, women are often the first to experience the harsh brutality and the last to be called to the peace table. A resolution adopted Friday by the U.N. Security Council moves us one step closer to the full participation of women as leaders for peace and security.