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UN Women calls parliamentarians to action

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UN Women’s Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka , Call to Action, Annual Summit of the Women Political Leaders, women in politics, Beijing Platform for Action Women and girls around the world continue to face an unprecedented set of challenges.

At the Annual Summit of the Women Political Leaders (WPL) at the House of Representatives in Tokyo, Japan, UN Women’s Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka launched a Call to Action to ensure that parliamentarians can become key drivers of gender equality.

In the lead up to the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing+25) and UN Women’s campaign commemorating the anniversary, “Generation Equality: Realising women’s rights for an equal future”, Mlambo-Ngcuka, called upon global parliamentarians to build on the experiences and best practices from Member States on how to achieve a gender equal world via legislation and parliamentary work.

The WPL Summit is the largest global network of women in politics and brings together women Heads of State and Government, Ministers and parliamentarians from all over the world, and preceded the G-20 Summit 2019, which took place on 28-29 June, and was hosted by Japan.

UN Women’s Call to Action to parliamentarians comes at a critical moment when women and girls around the world continue to face an unprecedented set of challenges when it comes to achieving their goals.

In 2020, it will be 25 years since the Beijing Platform for Action set out how to remove the systematic barriers that hold women back from equal participation in all areas of life, whether public or private.

But although there has been some progress, real change has been extremely slow for the majority of women and girls in the world.

Not a single country can today claim it has achieved gender equality, and numerous diverse obstacles remain unchanged in law and in culture.

While the political participation by women in politics has increased over the last few decades, it is still far from equal.

Today, only 21 women serve as Head of State or Governments.

Women’s representation in parliaments have increased slightly, but has only reached 24.3 per cent of the total number of seats worldwide. Less than one quarter.

This Call to Action aims to accelerate progress towards gender equality in parliaments, improving the lives of women and girls around the world.

Gathering together critical actions taken by countries that have succeeded in many areas towards gender equality, the Call to Action has identified five key acceleration points:

Ending discriminatory laws;

Increasing the number of women in parliaments, cabinets and leadership;

Implementing progressive law reforms;

Challenging norms and traditional gender stereotyping; and

Supporting other women in politics.

Over 2.5 billion women and girls around the world are affected by discriminatory laws—laws that impede gender equality and hold women and girls back.

Currently, in 37 countries women do not have the same rights as men when it comes to applying for a passport and 40 per cent of countries have at least one constraint on women’s property rights.

During the 2019 United Nations General Assembly, which runs from 17-30 September 2019, UN Women will organise a special event with parliamentarians to discuss next steps on implementation and progress of the Call to Action.

“At a time when we are seeing rising pushback against the hard-won gains for women’s rights, parliamentarians play a vital role in changing laws and mindsets around gender equality,” Mlambo-Ngcuka said.

“By working to ensure political accountability on gender equality, commitments and sounding the siren for urgent political action for Beijing+25 and beyond, parliamentarians can accelerate impactful change for women and girls globally.”

For more information read the full Call to Action.

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