UN chief says investing in women, girls "the right thing to do"

17:39, February 25, 2011      

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday praised the creation of UN Women, the global organization's new gender entity at its launch, emphasizing the important role it will play in helping women and girls around the world.

"The United Nations is investing in women because it is the right thing to do and because it is a smart thing to do -- possibly one of the smartest things we can ever do," Ban said in his speech at the ceremony.

UN Women is the new organization for gender equality and women's empowerment at the UN. Approved by the General Assembly in July 2010, it consolidates the separate UN groups that dealt with gender at the UN into a more coherent whole, which will operate under the auspices of Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, former president of Chile.

Ban said that the launch was "a time to remember why we worked so hard to create UN Women."

"We did it for the girl who cannot go to school simply because she is a girl, and the millions of women and girls who need help and protection," he said. "We did it for the women who need treatment for HIV, including mothers nursing their babies. We did it for the women who deserve to be sitting as equals in boardrooms and parliaments."

UN Women, which is based at the UN Headquarters in New York, will support the entire UN system as well as member states in their efforts to support women and ensure gender equity. Its launch comes at an appropriate time symbolically as 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, which is celebrated on March 8.

"The campaign to establish UN Women is part of a larger international drive to promote gender equality, empower women and demand an end to sexual violence," Ban said.

He pointed to the 40 billion U.S. dollars pledged in 2010 for the Global Strategy for Women and Children's Health, as an example of increasing investments in women.

"This year, UN Women will help turn this Global Strategy into a worldwide reality," he said.

Ban also took the opportunity to reiterate his own commitment to assisting women worldwide.

"You can count on me to work for a world where women are protected from violence, where girls can grow safely, healthy and strong, a world that values and listens to women and girls," he said. "Together, we can make this happen."

Source: Xinhua

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