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UN report shows still long way to go for gender equality
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 21 - 10 - 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is "interrupting efforts" to achieve gender equality and threatening to "reverse hard-won gains" over the past decades, a senior UN official said on Tuesday.
Introducing the 2020 edition of The World's Women: Trends and Statistics, Liu Zhenmin, chief of the UN's economic and social affairs department (DESA), said that over the last two decades, "attitudes of discrimination are slowly changing" and women's lives have improved with regard to education, early marriage, childbearing and maternal mortality, all while progress has stagnated in other areas.
"Women are far from having an equal voice to men", spelled out the DESA chief. "And, in every region of the world, women are still subjected to various forms of violence and harmful practices".
Overall, progress continues to fall far short of what member states committed themselves to, at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women.
"Twenty-five years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, progress towards equal power and equal rights for women remains elusive", said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
"No country has achieved gender equality".
To effectively measure progress in that regard, reliable, timely and disaggregated, data are critically needed and closing data gaps requires the regular collection and use of gender statistics.
Liu pointed out that while the coronavirus pandemic is having "devastating social and economic impacts" across the world, women are fighting "on the front lines...in healthcare settings, in-home care, in the family and in the public sphere".
With less internet access, particularly in developing regions, women also face difficulties maintaining valuable personal connections and carrying on day-to-day activities during lockdowns.
"Many may also have been trapped in unsafe environments...and at risk of experiencing intimate partner violence", Liu stated.
Moreover, he pointed out that women face reduced access to sexual and reproductive health services; and need more time to care for the elderly, sick, and children, including home-based education; adding that they are also at higher risk of infection than men in the workplace.
In terms of power and decision making, World's Women 2020 revealed that last year, women held only 28 percent of managerial positions globally — almost the same proportion as in 1995.
And only 18 percent of enterprises surveyed had a female Chief Executive Officer in 2020. — UN news


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