“The review of women’s rights shows that despite some progress, no country has achieved gender equality”, said UN Women’s Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change, and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. Global protests from #MeToo to #UnVioladorEnTuCamino make it clear that it is time for radical change and new solutions.
Discriminatory policies and gender-based violence are just some of the human rights violations that are continuing to have a disproportionate impact on the lives of women and girls around the world. Discrimination has many forms, from racial or religious discrimination to discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation or age, and to bullying at school or at work.
Languages, with their complex implications for identity, communication, social integration, education, and development, are of strategic importance for people and planet. Yet, due to globalization processes, they are increasingly under threat, or disappearing altogether. When languages fade, so does the world's rich tapestry of cultural diversity. Opportunities, traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking and expression valuable resources for ensuring a better future are also lost.
Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, or disability.
For the United Nations, the pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of our global mission to promote development and human dignity. The adoption by the International Labour Organization of the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization is just one recent example of the UN system’s commitment to social justice. The Declaration focuses on guaranteeing fair outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental principles and rights at work.
To rise to the challenges of the 21st century, we need to harness our full potential. That requires dismantling gender stereotypes. On this International Day of Women and Girls in Science, let’s pledge to end the gender imbalance in science - UN Secretary-General António Guterres.