The world must unite to end violence and discrimination against women and girls, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged at a high-level event in Chile on women and decision-making at a today, citing that progress over the past two decades has been made slow and uneven.
“We must work together to empower women and expand opportunities in politics, business and beyond,” Mr. Ban told participants at today’s High-level Conference on ‘Women in Power and Decision-making: Making a World of Difference,’ in Santiago co-hosted by Chile’s Government and UN Women.
This resolve must be backed up with resources because investments in gender equality yield great returns across society, said Mr. Ban emphasizing that 2015 is a “vital year” for advancing all these goals.
The Secretary-General’s remarks come ahead of the worldwide commemoration on 8 March of International Women’s Day, which this year coincides with the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, which remains the “international blueprint” for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Also this year, the international community is hard at work on establishing a new sustainable development agenda that builds on the landmark UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and that will help shape policies and social investments for the next generation.
“It is my firm conviction that women must be at the decision-making table at all levels. We all must do our part to break the glass ceilings and open the doors of opportunity,” said Mr. Ban. “To be truly transformative, the post-2015 development agenda must prioritize gender equality and women’s empowerment. Women’s voices and full participation is central.”
On the side-lines of the conference, the Secretary-General met with Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile, who in 2010, was the first to lead the then newly-created UN Women. He thanked the Chilean Government for co-hosting the conference on ‘Women in power and decision-making’ and also expressed appreciation for the different measures Chile has taken toward women’s empowerment.
The Secretary-General and President Bachelet also exchanged views about the importance of gender equality in the framework of the post-2015 development agenda. They agreed on the importance of good preparatory work for the Financing for Development Conference in Addis-Ababa in July, stressing that private sector engagement would be key to its success.
Mr. Ban expressed his appreciation to Chile for hosting a regional preparatory Conference for this event.
The Secretary-General further noted good progress on the climate change agenda, leading to what he was confident would be a successful outcome at the Paris Summit on the subject in December.