The UN’s High-Level Meeting of World Leaders Failed to Advance Gender Equality

Date:

The UN's High-Level Meeting of World Leaders Failed to Advance Gender Equality

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

190 speakers, including 76 Heads of State, 50 Heads of Government, 5 Deputy Prime Ministers, 48 Ministers, and 7 Heads of Delegations. Only 23 women were among the 190 speakers, which, according to the UN, “represents around 10% of the leaders”. The event was hosted by the Office of the President of the General Assembly. Just 10% of the 190 presenters were female, representing a “woefully low” proportion. Many nations with female presidents are making a difference at the national level.

These nations are performing better in terms of achieving their development goals. UN Women’s Sima Bahous says the world loses out if it moves more quickly toward development and better equity. We must do all our power to highlight women’s strengths. Just 28 women are elected Heads of State or Government among the 193 Member States of the UN. There is still a long way to go until there are as many women serving in other levels of political office as there are men. Equal representation in parliament won’t be realised until 2062 if current trends continue.

UNION, 30 SEPTEMBER (IPS) – 190 speakers, including 76 Heads of State, 50 Heads of Government, 4 Vice Presidents, 5 Deputy Prime Ministers, 48 Ministers, and 7 Heads of Delegations—overwhelmingly male—were present at the UN’s high-level conference of world leaders last week.

Only 23 women were among the 190 speakers, which, according to the UN, “represents around 10% of the leaders who participated this year.”

When he said: “But if their numbers are tiny, women leaders “pack a punch,” to use the words of former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who moderated this year’s first General Assembly Platform of Women Leaders,” Csaba Krösi of Hungary struck a note of political consolation.

However, the response from civil society groups (CSOs) and human rights advocates were largely unfavourable.

“The poor number of women leaders speaking at UNGA this year is particularly concerning considering the regression on women’s rights in many parts of the world, including in the United States, where the UN General Assembly sits,” Antonia Kirkland, Global Lead on Legal Equality at Equality Now, told IPS.

She asserted that there is evidence of a connection between economic progress, women’s rights, and overall peace and security, which affects everyone.

“Less than half of the low number of women legislators worldwide (just over 26%, according to IPU) are female leaders who speak at UNGA.

Kirkland announced that women’s rights organisations also have less opportunity to hold countries accountable for their legal commitments and commitments to maintain gender equality as access to the UN grows more complex and harder for civil society, “Kirkland announced.

The concerns follow repeated complaints about how women have historically been underrepresented at the highest ranks of the UN since its founding.

For the Secretary-General, there are nine men and zero women. The top policy-making body at the UN, the Presidency of the General Assembly (PGA), is not far behind either.

Currently, 73 males and four women serve as PGAs, even though the General Assembly chose another male candidate to serve as its 77th President, who will take office in September 2022 for a one-year term.

Since 1945, only four women have been elected as presidents: Maria Fernando Espinosa Garces of Ecuador, Angie Brooks of Liberia, Sheikha Haya Rashed Al-Khalifa of Bahrain, and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit of India (2018).

In the meantime, the newly established UNGA Platform of Women Leaders brought together female heads of state and government to debate global concerns on the fringes of the UNGA High-level Week.

The conference’s theme, “Transformative solutions by women leaders to today’s interconnected challenges,” emphasised the importance of women’s full and active political engagement and decision-making for effectively, decisively, and inclusively tackling global objectives, according to UN Women.

The event was hosted by the Office of the President of the General Assembly. It featured the participation of former Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand, Prime Minister Evelyna Wever-Croes of Aruba, Prime Minister Silveria E. Jacobs of St. Maarten, Prime Minister Evelyna Wever-Croes of Aruba, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, Prime Minister Katrn Jakobsdóttir of Iceland, Prime Minister Fiam? (CWWL).

In June 2022, the UNGA passed a resolution honouring the International Day of Women in Diplomacy, which recognised the contribution of women worldwide at all levels of decision-making who work for the achievement of sustainable development, peace, and democracy, according to Purnima Mane, a former deputy executive director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and UN assistant secretary-general.
“And yet, we acknowledge that women are underrepresented at most UN levels, including top levels of the diplomatic corps and national delegations.”

She emphasised that while women are now more frequently serving in prominent political positions, notably as state presidents, there is still a long way to go since just 28 of the 193 Member states currently have female state leaders.

According to her, the latest UNGA session demonstrated the lack of representation of women.

23 out of the 190 presenters were female, representing 10% of the leaders that attended this year. This proportion is still “woefully low,” according to Mane, a former Pathfinder International president and CEO.

She noted that it is crucial that many of this select group of women leaders “pack a punch,” in the words of former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark. This year, he presided over the first Platform of Women Leaders at the General Assembly.

The female heads of state of several nations, including Aruba, Bangladesh, Hungary, Iceland, St. Maarten, Samoa, and Uganda, spoke to the audience at the recently formed General Assembly Platform of Women Leaders.

“There is no doubt that the former New Zealand prime minister Clark’s remark makes us pause. A few women have achieved things that have made the world sit up and take notice, such as the leaders of Finland and many other Member States.

Many nations with female presidents are making a difference at the national level by emphasising gender equity and ensuring that laws and policies are in place to support it.

These nations are performing better in achieving their development goals and improving their region, encouraging women worldwide to see their potential. She continued to imagine how different the world would be if there were significantly more women in leadership positions, benefiting their nations, their regions, and the entire planet.

According to Mane, these female executives’ pioneering efforts are self-evident and have produced much-needed advantages.

“There is no shortage of evidence demonstrating the impact these female leaders are having both nationally and internationally. However, their growth is far too slow.

She said the world loses out if it moves more quickly toward development and better equity, adding that while statistics do not always convey the whole picture, they highlight the issue’s root.

Sima Bahous, Executive Director of UN Women, addressed the gathering of women leaders and said: “When more women leaders in political and public life, everyone gains, especially in emergencies.”

Girls of a new age are optimistic about their future. Greater focus is placed on it, and better solutions for health, education, childcare, and violence against women are provided.

“We must do all our power to highlight female leaders’ strengths. This platform provides the means to achieve it.

Conflicts, the COVID-19 epidemic, and other recent global crises have demonstrated the tremendous impact that women’s leadership and decision-making in executive posts, parliaments, and public administration may have.

For instance, the UNDP-UN Women COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker demonstrates that governments with more female parliamentary representation adopted more gender-sensitive policy measures in response to COVID-19, including standards specifically designed to increase women’s economic security.

She emphasised that just 28 women are elected Heads of State or Government among the 193 Member States of the UN.

While there has been improvement in many nations, there is still a long way to go until there are as many women serving in other levels of political office as there are men: 21% of global ministers, 26% of national MPs, and 34% of elected local government seats.

According to a recent UN assessment, equal representation in parliament won’t be realised until 2062 if current trends continue, added Bahous.

The Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders, Katrin Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of the Republic of Iceland, stated: “It is my firm view that the world needs more women leaders and more varied leaders, people with all kinds of backgrounds and life experiences.”

“All members of our society are impacted by the decisions that leaders make. People who genuinely understand how most people live, what their problems are, and are consequently sensitive to their requirements should be making these judgments.

Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network

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