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There is a pushback on women's rights, UN chief warns

(Xinhua)    09:36, March 12, 2019
There is a pushback on women's rights, UN chief warns
The photo taken on March 11, 2019 shows the opening of the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63), at the UN headquarters in New York. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday warned that there is a "pushback" on women's rights globally. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

UNITED NATIONS, March 11 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday warned that there is a "pushback" on women's rights globally.

"Around the world, there is a pushback on women's rights," the UN chief said while addressing the opening of the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63), noting "that pushback is deep, pervasive and relentless."

"We witness increased violence against women, especially human rights defenders and women running for political office," he added.

"We see online harassment and abuse of women who speak out," said the UN chief, adding that "in some countries, homicide rates are going down - but murders of women are going up."

"In others, we see a rollback of legal protection against domestic violence or even female genital mutilation," said Guterres.

The UN chief noted that all people know that women's participation makes peace agreements more durable, "but we still struggle to make sure women are included in negotiating teams."

"Even governments that are vocal supporters of this agenda fail to back their words with action where it counts," he said.

The secretary-general also condemned "terrible endemic sexual and gender-based violence" against women, adding that "nationalist, populist and even austerity agendas are tearing the social fabric - aggravating inequality, splintering communities, curtailing women's rights and cutting vital services."

He called on the international community to "push back against the pushback" and fight for gender parity.

Guterres said the UN has set a good example for the world as there are more women than men in the Senior Management Group of the organization, which he said is "a first in United Nations history."

"When we exclude women, everyone pays the price," warned the secretary-general.

"When we include women, the whole world wins," he stressed.

UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces also pointed out that the world "is not doing enough" to guarantee the full participation of women and take advantage of their contributions.

She warned that if the current trend persists, we risk not achieving Goal 5 of the 2030 Agenda.

The 2030 Agenda, including 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and 169 targets, was adopted on Sept. 25, 2015 by heads of state and government at a special UN summit. Goal 5 is: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

The UNGA president said that the figures about women, in all fields, are heartbreaking: every day around 830 women die due to preventable causes related to pregnancy and birth. And every year, 3 million girls are at risk of being subjected to female genital mutilation.

Noting that the challenges the world faces are many, she said "everything will be easier if we achieve a greater participation of women in policy making and in power. We need more women making decisions to reduce the gaps of inequality."

"The world will not be better if we continue to exclude half of its population," she warned.

CSW63 kicked off at UN headquarters in New York on Monday and will last until March 22. Its theme is: Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Representatives of UN member states, UN entities, and the Economic and Social Council accredited non-governmental organizations from all regions of the world will attend the session.


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