gender equality is 300 years away, u.n. chief warns
It is estimated that the world is hundreds of years away from achieving gender equality after decades of advances on women’s rights.
Ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, Secretary General António Guterres said gender equality is “vanishing before our eyes.”
Guterres focused particularity on Afghanistan, where women and girls have been removed from public life after the Taliban regained control. It was reported by The Washington Post this month that the regime has disallowed women and girls to attend universities and certain schools, in addition to revoking thousands of divorces, causing some women who had remarried to become fugitives due to adulterer charges. This organization has also denied many female aid workers access, which is endangering important aid projects managed by the United Nations.
According to Guterres, women’s reproductive and sexual rights are being rolled back in many places. (Guterres did not mention the United States, which contributes the most to the UN and does not have a nationwide right to abortion. As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, millions of girls have been forced to leave school, and mothers and caregivers have been forced out of the workforce.
U.N. Women puts gender equality 300 years away on the current track. Guterres did not specify how the figure was determined.
In the Sahel region of West Africa, Guterres said, women are most affected by conflict. Only a week after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba alleged “numerous cases” of Ukrainian women being raped by Russian soldiers. Many refugee women and children are at risk of forced labor and sexual abuse, according to anti-trafficking groups.
He failed to explicitly name Iran, which was kicked off the commission he spoke to on Monday. This council is devoted to safeguarding women’s rights and promoting gender equality. They decided to expel Iran in December due to their violent suppression of protests that began in mid-September, following the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, who died after being incarcerated by police for appearing unsuitably dressed. Women have been at the forefront of this demonstration led by people disheartened with economic maladministration and dishonesty by those in power, proposing regime change in Iran.
Guterres has been appointed as the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, something that no woman has achieved before. Despite making strides towards gender equity – with over half of the members within his senior executive group being women – a gender equality watchdog gave him a B-minus score for not responding adequately to issues concerning sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse in the U.N. system.
As a result of a heavily male-dominated technology industry, the U.N. chief said that gender equality is at risk. According to Guterres, men outnumber women 2 to 1 in the tech industry, and in the rapidly expanding field of artificial intelligence, the gap is 5 to 1, putting the industry at risk of “shaping our future” in a gender-biased manner.
As part of his speech, Guterres focused on the “misogynistic disinformation and misinformation” he said flourished on social media, as well as gender trolling aimed at “silenc[ing] women and eradic[ing] them from public life.”
Our Silicon Valleys cannot become Death Valleys for women’s rights,” Guterres said. “It is vital that we all contribute to a future where humanity controls technology instead of the other way around.”
According to him, women account for just 3 percent of Nobel Prizes awarded for the sciences – a gap he attributed to “centuries of patriarchy, discrimination and harmful stereotypes.”
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