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Empowering Women 2020

2020 is the year for women

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Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Executive Director, UN Women

2020 is a massive year for gender equality. It’s the year of what we call “Generation Equality”. With the leadership of civil society the whole world is mobilising to realise women’s rights and mark 25 years since implementing the Beijing Platform for Action.

We do not have an equal world and women are impatient for change.

The Generation Equality campaign is about enabling women to influence the decisions about their future by tackling the issues facing women across the generations, and putting young women and girls at the centre.

Celebrating the changes so far

We do have some positive changes to celebrate. For example, there has been a 38% drop in maternal deaths since 2000. Meanwhile, 131 countries have passed legal reforms to support gender equality and address discrimination.

Even though there has been progress, no country has yet achieved gender equality.

While 25 years ago, discrimination against women was legal in many countries, today, more than three-quarters of countries have laws against domestic violence in place.

More girls are in school than ever before, and more women globally are in tertiary education than men.

No country is yet to have gender equality

But even though there has been progress, no country has yet achieved gender equality. Our best has not been good enough. Challenges remain for all countries, although many of them are surmountable.

Three-quarters of all parliamentarians in the world are men. The same goes for women at the peace table, where the vast majority of the negotiators and signatories are men.

Women and girls use triple the time and energy of boys and men to take care of the household, costing them equal opportunities in education, the job market and earning power.

Young women raising families are 25% more likely than men to live in extreme poverty, affecting millions of young children.

Partnerships helping to make the changes for the future

We are impatient, we are not giving up and we are hopeful.

We have growing support from allies and partners who are ready to tackle the barriers to gender equality. We see the driving will for change across generations and countries, and are locating issues that unite us and offer opportunities to disrupt the status quo.

Lessons learnt in the last 25 years have shown us what is needed to accelerate action for equality. Generation Equality is one of our answers, and together, we are that generation.

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