The United Nations on Friday called for zero tolerance on the structural causes of discrimination against women, asking the international community to step up efforts in empowering women worldwide.
In an opening session of a high-level debate on advancing gender equality, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Sam Kutesa said "we must support a zero tolerance policy on the structural causes of discrimination against women and eliminate the laws and practices that perpetuate gender inequalities."
The debate, meant to commemorate this year's International Women's Day and the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Women's Conference, is the first-ever observance activity the UNGA President's office has hosted on this agenda.
"This event provides us with an opportunity to remind ourselves of the significant progress that has been made in advancing gender equality, but there are also gaps and significant challenges ahead of us that remain and that we need to tackle," said Kolinda Grabar- Kitarovic, president of Croatia, the first female one.
An authoritative global review on gender equality finds that progress for women in the past 20 years has been "unacceptably slow," with areas of stagnation and regression, according to UN Women, the UN entity for work on gender equality.
Echoing this point, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon listed several problems the female group has been faced with nowadays, including rape, early and forced marriages, as well as denial of equal pay, while pointing out that "there are still relatively few women in power and in decision-making positions."
"We must do far more to accelerate progress everywhere," Ban said. "The Beijing Platform for Action remains an ambitious but realistic agenda for empowering girls and women, and realizing their human rights."
The Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action, approved in September 1995 at the fourth world conference on women in Beijing, is a global pledge to attain equality, development, and peace for women worldwide.
The platform of action is set to remove all the obstacles to women's active participation in all spheres of public and private life through a full and equal share in economic, social, cultural and political decision-making.
This year, the International Women's Day, celebrated globally on March 8, will highlight the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, said the UN women, vowing to step it up to empower women and girls worldwide for a transformative post-2015 development agenda which will be adopted later this year.
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