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In this op-ed for International Women’s Day, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka looks at the mixed progress since the 1995 Beijing Conference. She urges for recommitment and an end point to achieving gender equality with substantial action now, and full equality before 2030.
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UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has devoted her life to issues of human rights, equality and social justice and previously served as Deputy President of South Africa. In this message, she stresses that violence against women can and must end by addressing its root cause – gender inequality. She calls for greater mobilization to address the pandemic on many levels, from increasing access to services for survivors of violence to engaging all segments of society to shift cultural mindsets. This includes, for instance, getting men to stand up on the issue through UN Women’s #HeForShe campaign.
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She was brought up by a single mother in rural Jamaica, in a family of modest means. Today she is the Commanding Officer of Jamaica’s Coast Guard, the first woman to attain the prestigious position in the island state, as well as the entire Caribbean region. Commander Antonette Wemyss-Gorman learned early in life never to accept ‘no’ for an answer. Her mantra: “I can do that!”