UN Women will support individual countries in moving towards gender equality in economics and politics, and ending the worldwide phenomenon of violence against women. It will assist in setting international standards for progress, and lead coordinated UN efforts to make new opportunities for women and girls central to all UN programmes for development and peace.An ambitious agenda for sure, but I hope one that can be achieved, if not in our lifetime, then perhaps in the lifetime of our daughters.
The key to achieving gender equality is education, the vote, and electing more women to govern.
Look at these facts from a 1997 UN publication "Women at a Glance":
The last statement looks hopeful, but as for the rest, there's still a long, long way to go. Let's get out there and do it!
* The first country to grant women the right to vote was New Zealand in 1893.
* Only 28 women have been elected heads of state or government in this century.
* Women hold 11.7 per cent of the seats in the world's parliaments.
* In early 1995, Sweden formed the world's first cabinet to have equal numbers of men and women.
* Of the 185 highest-ranking diplomats to the United Nations, seven are women.
* The percentage of female cabinet ministers worldwide has risen from 3.4 in 1987 to 6.8 per cent in 1996.
Women and Education
* Of the world's nearly one billion illiterate adults, two-thirds are women.
* Two-thirds of the 130 million children worldwide who are not in school are girls.
* During the past two decades the combined primary and secondary enrollment ratio for girls in developing countries increased from 38 per cent to 78 per cent.