On March 9, the Commission on the Status of Women, the primary United Nations body promoting women’s rights, reaffirmed a 1995 plan to achieve gender equality and has pledged to work rapidly to meet rising levels of gender inequality and conservative hostility.

According to a release from the Associated Press, the plan is a “political declaration” that backs a “150-page platform for action adopted by 189 countries at the 1995 Beijing women’s conference.” During an annual meeting, “diplomats and civil society representatives in the General Assembly hall burst into applause when Armenia’s US Ambassador Mher Margaryan, the commission chair, banged a gavel signifying the declaration’s approval by consensus by the commission’s 45 member nations from all regions of the world.

During the event, Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, said that “gender inequality is the overwhelming injustice of our age and the biggest human rights challenge we face.” And before the adoption, he said to the commission that “change is urgently needed” as “centuries of discrimination, deep-rooted patriarchy and misogyny have created a yawning gender power gap in our economics, our political systems and our corporations.”

The release also noted that today’s declaration was an act to reaffirm the Beijing document and express that “progress has not been fast or deep enough… that major gaps remain and that obstacles, including structural barriers, discriminatory practices and the feminization of poverty persist” and shows that there is a formal plan to take and institute “concrete action to ensure the full, effective and accelerated implementation” to combat gender inequality.

In a statement to the commission, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Nguka declared that, “we are impatient and cannot yield even an inch to push-backs,” as “we have to push forward.

Sources: NY Post 3/10, Associated Press 3/2020, UN Women 3/2020

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