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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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Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and has extensive experience in international diplomacy and the protection of human rights. Here, he discusses achievements and gaps in guaranteeing equal rights for all, and stresses the importance and courage ofwomen human rights defenders, and the challenges they face.
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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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Born and raised in a remote, rural and poor Bedouin community in the eastern desert of the Kingdom of Jordan, she had to push against the conservative traditions of her village to pursue her dream of becoming a solar engineer. For Rafea Um Gomar, the path has not been easy, from living in abject poverty to facing persecution by her own family when she decided to challenge gender roles and step beyond the boundaries of her household. But she was not one to give up. She wanted to use updated technology to power up her village, stimulate women’s role in the local economy, reduce poverty and provide a better life for her four daughters and her community.
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The Fourth World Conference on Women took place in Beijing in 1995. Why then would young people care about it, why should it matter today? That is the challenge UN Women in Jordan decided to take head on at an event recently. How can one explore the critical areas of concern under the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action with young people in a way that is engaging and interactive? This was part of the joint programme led by UN Women Realizing Beijing+20 in Jordan: Women in Action!, with WHO, UNFPA, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP and UNRWA as partners, the team decided to put together a number of initiatives to address key challenges and achievements in Jordan for gender equality.