International Women’s Day: Gender equality benefits everyone

first_imgGender equality is taking a step in the right direction As a “massive year for gender equality”, Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said 2020 was all about “Generation Equality”, in which “we’re mobilizing to realize women’s rights, and to mark 25 years of implementing the Beijing Platform for Action” – the historic and landmark gender equality plan drawn up in the Chinese capital.Generation Equality is focusing on issues facing women across generations, with young women and girls at the centre. Related A woman measures products at a ceramic tile factory in Kenya. UN WOMEN/Lin Qi“We don’t have an equal world at the moment and women are angry and concerned about the future”, she said. “They are radically impatient for change. It’s an impatience that runs deep, and it has been brewing for years”. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka underscored that girls are disappointed with “the stewardship of our planet, the unabated violence directed against them and the slow pace of change in fulcrum issues like education”.“My greatest impatience is with unmoving economic inequality”, calling it “a driver of repeating poverty”.She asserted that policies are needed that promote equality in childcare responsibilities and provide State support to families, and those who work in the informal economy.Though “radically impatient”, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said: “We are not giving up”.She cited as cause for hope, growing support in tackling gender-bias barriers; a “driving will” for change across generations and countries; and that the last 25 years “have shown us what is needed to accelerate action for equality”.‘Just women’Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee drew loud applause from delegates at the General Assembly hall celebration. Having worked with former child soldiers in Liberia, she shared a conversation she had had with a 14-year-old amputee who had been nine when he was recruited.In a stark revelation of how women are sometimes viewed, he admitted to having committed rape many times saying, “isn’t that what women were made for”?The activist also explained how the term “just women”, is used to “underrate and undervalue the work of women” and downplay their significance “on a daily basis”.“We can’t even begin to have conversations about our human security needs because our values have been taken away”, she underscored. “‘Just women’ shuts the door firmly on any idea or intention to have a conversation about equality”, but the conversation must be held, she underscored.Ms. Gbowee stressed that in our unjust and unequal world, gender equality must be more than just numbers, spelling out: “Equality is linked to our collective humanity…to peace and justice”.She maintained that women’s right require actionable, radical transformation through political will, financial resources and ownership.In closing, the passionate activist urged women to “reclaim the spaces” they have lost.“It is time for us to own our issues, we must own our agenda, we must own our narrative…the struggle for equality is a long way ahead, but with young women on our side, we can surely win”, concluded Ms. Gbowee.Women on the front linesTaking the podium, the youngest female Prime Minister in the world, Finland’s Sanna Marin said that her country promotes gender equality as a cornerstone of society.Turning to inequalities in the labour market, she maintained that “the digital gender cap poses a serious threat to the continued advancement of women and girls”. And the only way to change this is “to get more girls coding, more women into tech, and more women into office where they can exert influence.A woman in Kenya receives training at an engineering workshop./UN Women/Lin QiIn support of all women and girls’ rights, she said “I will not walk back on the progress we have made…and I will push back on anyone who claims that women do not need to be present in government changes and boardrooms”.Armed with convictionInspired by climate activist Greta Thunberg, 14-year-old Alexandria Villaseñor has staged a climate strike every Friday – for the past 65 weeks.She said the wildfires engulfing her native California were a catalyst, noting that women are leading the climate movement and “creating the solutions we need for the climate crisis”.Meanwhile, the Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women, Mher Margaryan, said: “Our world will never be at peace so long as gender equality and an exchange of basic human rights between men and women are regarded as privilege and luxury”.Trailblazing women warriorsSecretary-General Antonio Guterres bemoaned that 25 years after the Beijing conference, progress on women’s rights has stalled and even reversed.“Some countries have rolled back laws that protect women from violence; others are reducing civic space; still others are pursuing economic and immigration policies that indirectly discriminate against women”, he said, adding that “bias against gender equality is growing in some countries”.“I am a proud feminist”, avowed the UN chief.  “Only through the equal participation of women can we benefit from the intelligence, experience and insights of all of humanity”.He spoke at length about unsung women heroes, such as American scientist Eunice Foote who proved that changes in carbon dioxide could affect the Earth’s temperature and Tu Youyou, who saved millions of lives around by turning to traditional Chinese medicine for a cure for malaria.“It is more important than ever for men to stand up for women’s rights and gender equality”, said Mr. Guterres, which is why he is “personally committed” to increasing support for women’s rights “across the board” at the UN.Over the next two years, he vowed to do everything in his power “to make sure women are represented in all decision-making at the United Nations, including in peace processes”.Much to doGeneral Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande called on everyone, to defend gender equality as “a necessity in upholding human rights”.Noting that no country has achieved gender parity, he stated, “we have much work to do”.As we enter the Decade of Action to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Assembly president flagged the need to mainstream SDG 5 – Gender Equality – across all of our work.“This ensures that women and girls have the opportunity to participate equally in all decisions”, he explained.And in commemorating ten years of the UN Women entity, he called for support to ‘Generation Equality’ “to guarantee that equality becomes a lived experience for everyone, regardless of gender”.“By working together…we can galvanize multilateral action to realize the human rights of all women and girls”, he affirmed.The CelebrationThe day also included what was billed as an Inter-generational Fireside Chat in which the head of UN Women, Ms. Gbowee and Ms. Villaseñor were joined by 18-year old fashion model, Aaron Philip, and feminist author and organizer Charlotte Bunch, to discuss women-related issues.And it was capped by musical performances from UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Grammy Awards winner, Angélique Kidjo and other signers.Elsewhere, hundreds of events had been mobilized to demand progress on closing the gender gap in countries worldwide. A global comic and cartoon competition, around the theme Beijing+25 and Generation Equality was launched in partnership with Belgium, France, Mexico and the European Commission, calling on the younger generation to envision how they see gender equality.center_img The benefits of gender equality are not just for women and girls, but “for everyone whose lives will be changed by a fairer world”, the chief of UN Women said in her message for International Women’s Day- IWD at UN Headquarters on Friday, being celebrated in New York, ahead of the official day. FILE PHOTO: Somali women wait to collect water at the New Kabasa internally displaced camp in the northern Somali town of Dollow, Somalia, February 25, 2018. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo Africa marks International Women’s Day US honors Zimbabwean scholar for championing gender equalitylast_img read more

US using send-off finale as tune-up for Ghana

first_imgThe Americans will use their final send-off series game against Nigeria on Saturday night to get better prepared for their World Cup opener against Ghana on June 16.Coach Jurgen Klinsmann called Nigeria a team “that will really give us a lot of answers to many of your questions.”The U.S. will use the friendly at EverBank Field to settle its World Cup lineup and maybe quell concerns about its sometimes shaky defense. More importantly, it will provide the Americans with a glimpse of what they will face against Ghana in Brazil.“Tactically, they’re very similar to Ghana, and we’re going out there to try to understand what an African team is all about, how they use their speed, their power, their skills,” defender Geoff Cameron said Friday.Klinsmann broke down the matchup in greater detail, saying Nigeria and Ghana plays similar, fast and physical styles and have equally dangerous strikers.“They counter-break you very fast in transition defensively, they’re fit, they’re very physical, which is good for us because it will give us a little bit of a wake-up call now because this is what, at this point, now we really need,” Klinsmann said. “Gives us a little bit of indication of how to approach Ghana, how to beat Ghana, which is so crucial for us to start the World Cup with.”Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi even acknowledged that playing his team, which features talented forwards Victor Moses and Peter Odemwingie, could benefit the U.S. down the road.“I think Nigeria, Ghana, we play similar football,” Keshi said. “I think it’s going to be a good thing for the United States. The fact that they have Ghana in their group, I think they should be able to capitalize on that and make use of the best out of it.”Nigeria is coming off consecutive draws, a 2-2 tie against Scotland last week and a scoreless one against Greece on Tuesday.The U.S., meanwhile, beat No. 85 Azerbaijan 2-0 in San Francisco last week and topped No. 39 Turkey 2-1 in New Jersey on Sunday. The 18th-ranked Americans have spent much of the week working out in Florida’s sweltering heat and humid while getting ready for the 44th-ranked Super Eagles.Klinsmann insisted many position battles remain open.“We’ll still use this game as seeing things and giving players an opportunity to be out there on the field and to fight for that spot,” he said. “Do we have a (Ghana) lineup in mind? Absolutely. Every coach has that at this point. Still, this is why you have these send-off games, friendly games. You give minutes to players that are right there and you want to see how they perform.”Although goalkeeper Tim Howard has his position locked up, he will be in the spotlight. The veteran will earn his 100th cap Saturday, becoming the 15th U.S. player to accomplish that feat.“It’s a proud moment for myself and my family,” Howard said. “I’m excited that it’s happening now during this process because this is a great time for the team. Everyone’s excited for the World Cup and wants to come. I couldn’t think of no better place to do it.”Of course, the best way to celebrate would be to finish with a clean sheet.The Americans were far from perfect against Turkey, giving up several decent scoring chances early in the first half. The defense settled down later, but the rocky start caused more conversation and maybe more concern about what many believe is the team’s glaring weakness heading into Brazil.The back line’s inexperience has been a popular theme since Klinsmann announced his 23-man roster last month. This is the first time since 1990 the U.S. heads to a World Cup with no central defenders having played previous minutes in soccer’s showcase event.“There’s a lot of stuff that we need to get fixed and done and fine-tuned,” Klinsmann said. “It’s not just the back line. But if you give Turkey that amount of chances in a game, then you know that you have to fix a lot of stuff the day after. We have to minimize the mistakes the closer we get to the Ghana game because mistake in the World Cup cost you really.“Turkey didn’t take advantage of our mistakes thankfully. Hopefully (Saturday) is the next step in minimizing mistakes and getting better connected. … Hopefully it looks better in many ways.”last_img read more