Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Media Releases

  1. 15 February 2018

    New UN Women report uncovers significant gaps for women’s empowerment and puts forth robust agenda to shift gears

    Spotlights inequalities and challenges faced by women; identifies gaps and opportunities for gender equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    Turning promises into action: Gender equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

    United Nations, New York — UN Women today launched its flagship report, “Turning promises into action: Gender equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. The report demonstrates through concrete evidence and data the pervasive nature of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere, and puts forth actionable recommendations on how to fulfill the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    Two and a half years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, this first-of-its-kind report examines through a gender lens the progress and challenges in the implementation of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Agenda’s focus on peace, equality and sustainability provides a powerful counter-narrative to the current rise of conflict, exclusion and environmental degradation. Yet, women are up against an unprecedented set of challenges in all these areas, and urgent action is needed to address them.

    For instance, new analysis from the report shows that:

    • In 89 countries with available data, women and girls account for 330 million of the poor. This translates to 4 more women living on less than USD 1.90 a day for every 100 men. The gender gap is particularly wide during the reproductive years.
    • More than 50 per cent of urban women and girls in developing countries live in conditions where they lack at least one of the following: access to clean water, improved sanitation facilities, durable housing, and sufficient living area.
    • Eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls is a pre-condition for peaceful societies, yet 1 in 5 women under the age of 50 experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the past 12 months.
    • Between 2010 and 2015, the world lost 3.3 million hectares of forest areas. Poor rural women depend on common pool resources and are especially affected by their depletion.

    Presenting the report, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said: “As a world, we committed through the SDGs to leave no one behind. This report’s new data and analysis underlines that, unless progress on gender equality is significantly accelerated, the global community will not be able to keep its promise. This is an urgent signal for action, and the report recommends the directions to follow.”

    The report highlights how, in the lives of women and girls, different dimensions of well-being and deprivation are deeply intertwined: a girl who is born into a poor household and forced into early marriage, for example, is more likely to drop out of school, give birth at an early age, suffer complications during childbirth, and experience violence—all SDGs targets—than a girl from a higher-income household who marries at a later age.

    The report also looks beyond national averages to uncover the yawning gaps between women and girls who, even within the same country, are living worlds apart because of their income status, race/ethnicity, or where they live. In the United States, poverty rates among black, Native American, and Alaskan Native women more than double those of white and Asian women, with disparities in education also staggering. Thirty-eight per cent of Hispanic women in the poorest quintile did not complete high school, compared to a national average of 10 per cent. Other case studies and data sets from the report take an in-depth look at the situation in Colombia, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, and Uruguay.

    The report also provides wide-ranging recommendations for change, highlighting four key areas of action:

    • Integrated policies that can leverage synergies and help achieve several goals at the same time. Achieving gender equality is not only an important goal in and of itself, but also a catalyst for achieving the 2030 Agenda and a sustainable future for all. For instance, the report shows that reducing the burden of unpaid care work for women by providing free and universal child care would allow them to access employment opportunities, create decent jobs in the social services sector, and improve children’s health and nutritional outcomes. And, as simulations for South Africa and Uruguay show, the investment would at least in part pay for itself by generating new jobs and additional tax revenue.
    • More and better statistics. Currently, we cannot actually assess what is happening to women and girls across all 17 SDGs. Six of them have no indicators with explicit mentions of women and girls, and the lack of timely and regular gender data hampers adequate monitoring.
    • The financing gap to achieve a sustainable world can in fact be closed, by addressing the unrecorded capital flight, including illicit financial flows that developing countries face; by reversing the public expenditure cuts that erode safety nets and essential services in both developed and developing countries; and by using all strategies available for raising domestic revenue.
    • Ensuring that those in power are held accountable for gender equality commitments.  Indispensable in this effort is a vibrant civil society with space to express itself.

    The launch event today in New York will be followed by others in Berlin and Nairobi in the coming days.

    The report and its executive summary are available at http://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/sdg-report.

    Follow the online conversation on Twitter by using the hashtags #PromisesToAction #GlobalGoals, and by following @UN_Women.

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  2. 6 February 2018

    UN Women Announces First Regional Goodwill Ambassador for Africa

    Jaha Dukureh participates in a panel discussion following the US premiere of Jaha’s Promise, hosted by UN Women and the Wallace Global Fund, held at United Nations in New York on 6 June, 2017. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

    Media Inquiries

    Maria Sanchez, +1 646-781-4507; maria.sanchez[at]unwomen.org
    Zina Alam, +1 646 781-4783; zina.alam[at]unwomen.org

    New York, 5 February—Ahead of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) tomorrow, UN Women announced the appointment of renowned activist Jaha Dukureh of The Gambia as Regional Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women. Ms. Dukureh will dedicate her efforts to support UN Women’s advocacy to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage in Africa, with focus on mobilizing youth.

    Herself a survivor of FGM, and forced into child marriage at age 15, Ms. Dukureh is the CEO and Founder of the NGO “Safe Hands for Girls” that provides support to African women and girls who are survivors of FGM and addresses its lifelong, harmful physical and psychological consequences. Alongside women’s organizations and civil society, she contributed to the Gambian Government’s ban on FGM after youth mobilization and campaigning in the country.

    Ms. Dukureh was also instrumental in advocating with the President Obama’s administration to investigate the prevalence of FGM in the United States, and the subsequent Summit to End FGM on 2 December, 2016 at the United States Institute of Peace.

    Globally, 200 million girls alive today have undergone FGM, and in Africa alone, some 125 million girls and women alive today were married before their 18th birthday. They experience a range of negative consequences, from high rates of death in childbirth to the end of their education, with long term implications for their ability to break out of poverty and inequality, or to have a voice in decision-making in their own lives. Ongoing initiatives throughout the continent, from those of the African Union, women’s organizations and grassroots activists, the European Union’s Spotlight Initiative, to the long-standing global programming of UN agencies such as UNFPA and UNICEF, are addressing these issues and beyond.

    Welcoming the new Regional Goodwill Ambassador, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said, “Jaha Dukureh is a compelling and eloquent advocate who has profound experience of these issues from her own life and work. She is a reflection of the new empowered young African women, who are global citizens. She remains committed and dedicated to her continent Africa, while embracing service to the women and girls everywhere in the world. Hers is a story of courage that tells us that girls and young women are capable and ready to change the world. Where they start from does not define where they will end up. We look forward to her efforts and the youth voices she will mobilize to help end these harmful practices. Her support will boost UN Women’s work and that of a wide range of current champions.” She added, “Ending FGM and child marriage is a vision of changed futures. Jaha’s voice will help us get there.”

    “These issues are personal to me, they’re part of my life history. We won’t have equality until girls can grow up with control over their own bodies and futures,” said Ms. Dukureh. “I am proud to join UN Women in their fight for the rights of women and girls all over Africa. I want to see the day when no parent makes a decision that will change and limit their daughters’ lives.  The girls of Africa and worldwide need to know that their future is bigger than they imagine.”

    UN Women Goodwill Ambassadors are prominent individuals from the worlds of arts, sciences, literature, entertainment, sport and other fields of public life who have expressed their desire to raise awareness of UN Women’s efforts and to convey messages about the organization’s activities to a wider audience.

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  3. 20 December 2017

    Are you #HeForShe?

    On International Solidarity Day, UN Women’s HeForShe global movement calls men to stand up against sexual harassment.

    New York, NY (December 20, 2017) –  In commemoration of the United Nations International Human Solidarity Day, UN Women’s HeForShe movement issues an urgent call for men around the world to stand together in solidarity with each other and with women, to end sexual harassment. While stories of power imbalance and sexual harassment dominate the headlines, most of men have abstained from the current conversation. HeForShe invites men to break the silence by recording a short video stating a personal commitment to end sexual harassment and sharing that video on social media as a public symbol of solidarity to the many brave individuals who have experienced sexual harassment. With each social media post, men invite three friends to do the same with a simple question; ‘Are you #HeForShe?’.

    “Men must take personal ownership in calling out sexual harassment and the culture that enables it – responding with silent anger is not enough,” said UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “Men everywhere need to take an active role, by listening to women’s experiences, speaking up when abuse occurs and holding other men – and themselves – accountable for their words and actions.”

    A global solidarity movement for gender equality, HeForShe was launched in 2014 by British actor and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson, whose impassioned rallying call mobilized more than 100,000 men in just three days, and at least one man in every country in the world within the first five, garnering more than 1.2 Billion conversations on social media.

    “Now more than ever we need good men to speak-up, because all it takes for injustice to prevail is for good men to remain silent,” said Elizabeth Nyamayaro, Senior Advisor to Under-Secretary-General, UN Women and Global Head of the HeForShe movement. “The simple question: Are you #HeForShe? offers an entry point for men to show their solidarity — because as long as the pursuit of gender equality remains a struggle between women and men, no one wins, “she added.

    To learn more and participate in the ‘Are you #HeForShe?’ visit: www.HeForShe.org

    Download social media here:  http://bit.ly/2yROLz8

    Join the conversation: Follow @HeForShe and share messages using the hashtags: Are you #HeForShe? #EndSexualHarassment

    About UN Women HeForShe: Visit www.heforshe.org/

     

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  4. 18 December 2017

    Joint Statement for International Migrants Day, 18 December, by the Chair of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, the Chair of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and UN Women

    On International Migrants Day, we call for the development of a gender-responsive global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration that promotes and protects the human rights of all migrants, and especially women and girls.

    For too long, the gender dimensions of migration have been overlooked in policies and programmes that govern international migration. This means that the specific needs, experiences, vulnerabilities and priorities of women and girls in migration have not been adequately addressed. Nor have the voices of migrant women and girls been really heard, and their leadership and participation in decision-making processes promoted to their full extent.

    Gender-based discrimination in migration policies continues to limit women’s access to safe and orderly migration pathways, and limits their job opportunities in transit and host countries. Hence, many migrant women end up in informal employment, particularly in the care and domestic sectors. These jobs not only perpetuate traditional gender stereotypes about what constitutes ‘women’s work’ but also offer no or few labour protections. This heightens the exposure of migrant women to severe forms of human rights violations which often occur inside homes where victims are unseen and unprotected. Along the migration trajectory and particularly if using irregular migratory channels, migrant women and girls also face increased risks of sexual and gender-based violence. This includes harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and cutting, sexual exploitation and trafficking, child, early and forced marriage, intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence.

    We must end this situation. The global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, which will be finalized in 2018, represents an unprecedented opportunity to ensure that migration policies respond to and reflect the particular needs of migrant women and girls. As the first ever blueprint for international migration, the global compact will shape migration governance for generations to come—and women’s human rights need to feature prominently in this blueprint.

    We, the Chair of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, Mr. Jose Brillantes, the Chair of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Ms. Dalia Leinarte, and UN Women call upon States to ensure that the global compact for migration will promote and protect the human rights of all migrants, and in particular women and girls. The global compact needs to be aligned with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW), and the other relevant international human rights instruments. The global compact should also contribute to achieving commitments made and targets set for migrant women and girls in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    We call on Member States to ensure that the global compact for migration contributes to:

    1. Eliminating of all forms of violence against migrant women and girls including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation throughout all stages of migration. This requires putting in place access to services (both prevention and response) and means of redress for victims/survivors of violence, and holding perpetrators accountable.
    2. Promoting women’s and girls’ leadership and full, equal and effective participation in all migration-related decision-making processes at all levels.
    3. Guaranteeing equal access for migrant women and girls to human rights-based and gender-responsive services, including education, health care, including sexual and reproductive health care services, social services, and access to justice. Access to decent work and social protection needs be provided to all migrant women.
    4. Recognizing and supporting migrant women’s economic rights, roles and contributions to the well-being of their families, communities, and countries of origin and destination.
    5. Advancing international cooperation and migration governance that responds to the rights, needs and priorities of migrant women and girls. Root causes of migration such as deeply entrenched gender inequalities, conflict and poverty which are also often drivers of irregular migration should be addressed to ensure that migration is a choice.
    6. Strengthening the collection and analysis of sex-disaggregated data and gender statistics in migration.

    Together with other experts from treaty bodies, UN agencies and civil society partners, we developed expert recommendations on addressing women’s human rights in the global compact for migration which provide specific and concrete guidance on how to develop a gender-responsive global compact. We reiterate the importance of these recommendations in developing a global compact that works for all migrants.

    We are confident that the global compact can put an end to gender-blind migration policies and facilitate a world where migration is a choice for everyone and an expression of agency and empowerment: A world in which the human and labour rights of all migrants are realized, a world where no migrant is discriminated against on the basis of their gender, race or migratory status, a world where no migrant woman and girl needs to fear or experience any form of sexual and gender-based violence, a world that appreciates the myriad contributions of migrant women to sustainable development.

    Today, on International Migrants Day, we stand together with all migrants: women, men, boys and girls, and count on all Member States and stakeholders to continue to promote and protect the human rights of all migrants, ensuring that no-one is left behind.

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