(Source: UN Women)
With all of this in mind, the United Nations launched its newest organization at the end of February: UN Women. UN Women is the UN’s most ambitious effort yet to tackle the issues surrounding gender equality. With former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet at the helm, UN Women has the potential to be a powerful source for change. On this 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, let’s hope UN Women can reach its goals.
As Bachelet said at the launch celebration:
The decision to establish UN Women reflects global concern with the slow pace of change. It is no longer acceptable to live in a world where young girls are taken out of school and forced into early marriage, where women’s employment opportunities are limited, and where the threat of gender-based violence is a daily reality — at home, in the street, at school and at work.
The neglect of women’s rights means the social and economic potential of half the population is underused. In order to tap this potential, we must open up spaces for women in political leadership, in science and technology, as trade and peace negotiators, and as heads of corporations.
A recent study found that Fortune 500 companies with the highest number of women on their boards were 53 percent more profitable than those with the fewest women board members.
Where women have access to secondary education, good jobs, land and other assets, national growth and stability are enhanced, and we see lower maternal mortality, improved child nutrition, greater food security and less risk of HIV and AIDS.
My own experience has taught me that there is no limit to what women can do — from those who support their families in the hardest of circumstances to those who become ministers of gender affairs, health, finance, foreign affairs — or heads of state.
Take a look at this video from UN Women called “The Journey of Women’s Rights: 1911-2011″:
For more Care2 coverage of International Women’s Day, click here.
Photo courtesy of din! via Flickr
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