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Empowering women key to achieving UN Millennium Goals – Migiro

Empowering women key to achieving UN Millennium Goals – Migiro

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro warned today that the pledges to slash poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy by 2015, made by world leaders at the United Nations seven years ago, are at risk unless countries pay greater attention to empowering women and achieving gender equality.

Addressing an international conference in Jerusalem on women’s leadership for sustainable development, Ms. Migiro highlighted the “deep and unbreakable” connection between women and development, particularly in reaching the set of global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“We know that achieving gender equality and empowering women is not only a goal in itself,” she told the participants, which included female leaders such as Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. “It is also a condition for building healthier, better educated, more peaceful and more prosperous societies.”

Noting that one of the MDGs is specifically on gender equality and the empowerment of women, Ms. Migiro stressed that a gender perspective is “imperative” in the other Goals as well.

The Deputy Secretary-General pointed out the disproportionately high incidence of poverty among women, as well as the fact that the majority of the more than 800 million adults around the world who cannot read are women. In addition, women are increasingly bearing the brunt of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“Unless careful attention is paid to the discrimination of women across all MDGs, the achievement of the Goals will be jeopardized,” she stated, adding that greater efforts are required to combat extreme poverty, disease, illiteracy and gender discrimination around the world.

She urged participants to use the unique opportunity presented by the conference to advance the common goals of empowering women and promoting sustainable development, both crucial elements in the “march towards the MDGs.”

Jerusalem is the first stop on the Deputy Secretary-General’s current trip, which will also take her to the occupied Palestinian territory and then to Geneva.