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‘No hope’ global development goals can be achieved without women, says UN Assembly President

  • 16 July 2019 |
Without the full participation and leadership of women, “we have no hope” of realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the President of the United Nations General Assembly told gender equality leaders on Monday, 15 July 2019.

“This is an obvious point to make, but it is, sadly, one that we cannot repeat enough”, she said, opening the day-long discussion at UN Headquarters in New York to identify best practices aimed to knock down barriers hindering women’s full participation and leadership, in what she called “our shared mission this year”.  

As the fourth woman in UN history to ever preside over the General Assembly, the Organization’s main and most representative deliberative body, María Fernanda Espinosarecognized that women decision-makers must lead by example to safeguard achievements and accelerate progress towards gender equality.

Noting that women have come a long way since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action nearly 25 years ago, she pointed out that they still lag behind on virtually every Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

“For example, just 42 per cent of countries give women the same rights to land ownership; just 60 per cent give women equal access to financial services”, she flagged. “And the gap is even greater for women in rural areas, women with disabilities, indigenous women and older women”.

Moreover, “no country has achieved full gender equality” and women continue to face discrimination in every region of the world, “from suffocating stereotypes to discriminatory laws, harmful practices and violence”, she maintained.

This runs counter to the “wealth of hard evidence” of the positive impact that “women’s participation and leadership have on economic stability, good governance and investment, including in health, education and social protection.

Child mortality decreases by almost 10 per cent for each additional year of education women of reproductive age have.

“This is just an example of the transformative, society-wide benefits of women’s empowerment”, Ms. Espinosa said. “Today’s discussion is anchored in this crucial link”.




Call for Action

The event, “Gender Equality and Women’s Leadership for a Sustainable World”, issued a 'Call for Action' that aligned with the theme of this year’s High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development: 'Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. The Forum, the main UN platform monitoring follow-up on States’ actions towards the SDGs, is currently under way in New York.

She invited all leaders to join the global “Call”, which 18 world leaders supported, as new synergies were being explored with other initiatives.

“Many of you will have heard me refer to gender equality as the closest thing we have to a ‘magic formula’ for sustainable development”, she said, noting that while “magical in terms of impact”, there is “nothing magical about how to achieve gender equality”.

The 2030 Agenda and the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action set out what must be done to empower women and girls, and what is needed now are “greater political will; a razor-sharp focus on the most transformative, practical actions; and to widen their scale and impact” according to the Assembly President.

“Today, we find ourselves in urgent need of renewed leadership, partnership and mobilization”, stressed Ms. Espinosa. “It is no secret that some of the SDG targets relating to women’s rights were the subject of tough negotiations… and the landscape has become more challenging even since then”.

She underscored that “we cannot take for granted the gains we have made”. And painted a picture of women on the ground working hard, “under duress and at great personal risk” to push back against a pushback, spelling out that they “need our support”.

“This is our opportunity to recommit to women’s rights and empowerment, to rise to challenges old and new, and – reclaim the agenda”, concluded the Assembly President.

Agents of change

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told the meeting that women have a strong track record as agents of change.

“From boardrooms to parliament, from military ranks to peace tables and, of course, in the United Nations itself, more women decision-makers mean more inclusive solutions that will benefit everyone”.

Because women understand “intrinsically” the importance of dignity, equality and opportunity for all, the deputy UN chief upheld that “women’s leadership and greater gender balance will lead to unlocking trillions for economies, enhanced bottom lines for the private sector and stronger, more sustainable peace agreements”.  

In addition to that, she stressed that “it is critical that we emphasize that women’s equal participation is a basic democratic right”.



For her part, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, said that next year, when we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the implementation of Beijing Platform, “our theme is ‘Generation Equality’ because we are emphasizing the importance of intra-generational participation and the role of young people to take us forward”.

“All of these, drawn together, give us a fighting chance to increase and sustain the participation of women”, she underscored. “We can’t wait people, time is up. Time is really, really up”.

The high-level meeting brought together prominent women leaders from around the globe, including a Mexican Member of Parliament Gabriela Cuevas Barron who is also the president of the Inter Parliamentarian Union and Helen Clark, former head of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).  



Statement by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem on World Population Day

  • 10 July 2019 |

Want to improve women’s lives and countries’ prospects for prosperity?

Expand contraceptive choice.

Her life. Her choice. Our future.

Women have a right to make their own decisions about whether, when and how often to become pregnant. That right was reaffirmed in 1994 in Cairo at the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), where 179 governments agreed that sexual and reproductive health is the foundation for sustainable development.

In Cairo, we imagined a future in which every pregnancy is intended because every woman and girl would have autonomy over her own body and be able to choose whether, when and with whom to have children.

We imagined a world where no woman would die giving life because – no matter her location or socioeconomic or legal status – she would have access to quality maternal health care.

We imagined a time where everyone would live in safety, free from violence and with respect and dignity, and where no girl would be forced to marry or have her genitals mutilated.

Since 1994, governments, activists, civil society organizations and institutions such as UNFPA, have rallied behind the Programme of Action and pledged to tear down barriers that have stood between women and girls and their health, rights and power to chart their own futures.

Yet, despite considerable gains over the past 25 years, we still have a long way to go to live up to the promise of Cairo. Too many continue to be left behind. Too many are still unable to enjoy their rights.

More than 200 million women and girls want to delay or prevent pregnancy but don’t have the means. And it is the poorest women and girls, members of indigenous, rural and marginalized communities, and those living with disabilities, who face the greatest gaps in services.

It is time to act now, urgently, to ensure that every woman and girl is able to exercise her rights. With greater contraceptive options, they can prosper as equal partners in sustainable development.

The cost of inaction is simply too high: more women and girls dying, more unintended pregnancies, more unsafe abortions, more pregnant girls shamed out of school, the potential of individuals and societies squandered.

There is no time to waste. Our future depends on it.

At UNFPA, we are working with countries and partners to deliver on the world we imagined 25 years ago. Our sights are firmly set on achieving three zeros by 2030:

  • · zero unmet need for family planning;
  • · zero preventable maternal deaths; and
  • · zero gender-based violence and harmful practices, such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.

High-quality data will help us zero in on where the needs are greatest and end the invisibility of those furthest behind.

At a summit to be convened by Denmark, Kenya and UNFPA in Nairobi this November, the international community will have an opportunity to recommit to the promises they made in Cairo and transform the world we imagined in the ICPD Programme of Action into a reality for every woman and girl. The summit will draw heads of state, thought-leaders, civil society organizations, young people, international financial institutions, private sector representatives and thousands of others who have a stake in the ongoing pursuit of sexual and reproductive health for all. We all have a stake in this.

On this World Population Day, I call on all of us – on governments, civil society, communities, and people from all sectors and walks of life – to be bold and courageous, to do what is right for women and girls around the world, to make real the possibilities that come with completing the unfinished business of Cairo. Usher in a world where promises made are promises kept, and reproductive rights and choices are a reality for all. This is the world we all want and can have if we join together in Nairobi and beyond with concrete commitments and far more resources to complete the journey we began 25 years ago.

Women and girls cannot wait. Countries and communities cannot wait. The time to act on promises made and to deliver on family planning is now.


Regional conference of women begins in Port of Spain

  • 17 June 2019 |

The Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean is a subsidiary body of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The Conference is convened every three years in order to identify the status of women’s autonomy and rights at the regional and subregional levels, present recommendations regarding public policies on gender equality, and undertake periodic assessments of the activities carried out in fulfilment of regional and international agreements on the subject.

The Caribbean preparatory meeting is the forum to discuss progress made, and challenges faced in the implementation of the Montevideo Strategy in synergy with the Beijing+25 review. It will also identify new priority areas that need to be addressed to strengthen women’s autonomy in changing economic scenarios in the Caribbean. In addition, the preparations for the XIV session Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean will be discussed.

In order to facilitate the exchange of experiences on critical issues of concern to the Caribbean, the programme includes, on Monday, 17 June, a Workshop on Gender Mainstreaming in National Sustainable Development Planning for the representatives attending the subregional preparatory meeting.  This Workshop will serve as a platform to address the importance of including a gender perspective in sustainable development planning in the subregion, especially in the context of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

More informaton will be provided on this story as it develops.

 photo album of the events on 17 June 2019


Despite progress, companies face gender equality ‘backlash’: UN business body

  • 20 March 2019 |

Although the drive to reach gender equality has picked up speed, and diversity initiatives have been put into place in companies and organizations, a significant level of resistance and backlash remains, according to a leading UN business group.

On the side-lines of the Commission on the Status of Women, the UN Global Compact – the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative – brought together business leaders from around the world to a roundtable at UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday, to find ways to address the stumbling blocks to gender equality.

There are many concrete examples of the private sector moving in a positive direction, with regard to gender equality, and tackling systemic sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. These include the promotion of women’s representation on corporate boards, a demand for greater investment in companies owned by women, and a recognition that gender equality is a critical business issue.

Another powerful statement of intent is the CEO Statement of Support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles; an initiative of UN Global Compact and UN Women, which cover the range of ways that business can advance gender equality in the workplace. So far, over 2,000 global business leaders have signed up, and hundreds of companies around the world are using the Principles to inform their gender equality strategies.

Why the backlash?

However, resistance to gender equality initiatives has been identified as a problem that needs to be recognized and addressed. UN Global Compact has identified a number of reasons for the backlash.

These include a lack of understanding of the issue, which can occur when the business case for gender equality is not adequately explained; industry norms, where there is a persistent belief that some industries are better suited to either men or women; and fear of a loss of opportunities, status and position if there are gains made by women in the workplace.

[ read the full story on UN News ]


The Secretary-General’s remarks at the opening of the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women [prefaced by remarks about plane crash in Ethiopia on 10 March 2019] New York, 11 March 2019

  • 11 March 2019 |

The S-G’s remarks at the opening of the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (11 March)


As you walked into the United Nations today, you saw our flags flying at half-mast. This is indeed a sad day for many around the world, and for the UN in particular.

Yesterday’s terrible air crash in Ethiopia took the lives of all those on board -- including at least 21 of our UN colleagues, according to the latest information, not to mention an undetermined number of people that have been working closely with the UN. 

A global tragedy has hit close to home — and the United Nations is united in grief.

I extend my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims, to the government and people of Ethiopia, and all those affected by this disaster. 

We are working closely with government officials on the ground -- and mobilizing assistance, counseling and any other needed support during this difficult time. 

Our colleagues were women and men —junior professionals and seasoned officials — hailing from all corners of the globe and with a wide array of expertise.

They all had one thing in common — a spirit to serve the people of the world and to make it a better place for us all.

It is the same spirit that calls us to the UN every day — and that brings you to this General Assembly Hall today.

As we open this important gathering, let us honour the memories of our colleagues by keeping their spirit of service alive. Thank you.


This is the Commission on the Status of Women.

But it could equally go by another name: the Commission on the Status of Power.

Because that is the crux of the issue.

Gender equality is fundamentally a question of power.

For millennia, women have been systematically marginalized, ignored and silenced, in a male dominated world with a male dominated culture.

I recently came across an interesting book by the Cambridge historian Mary Beard.  It highlights how deep patriarchal roots in Western culture help explain deep power imbalances today.

I believe the same also applies to other regions of the world.

The truth is that, in the celebrated classics in ancient Greece and Rome, speech was quite literally defined as the business of men. 

Homer begins his epic with the son of Odysseus telling his mother to shut up and go back to weaving. 

Aristophanes wrote a play about women leading the state.  It was a comedy.

And, of course, we know that this isn’t ancient history.

You may be familiar with a cartoon of a group of executives sitting around a conference table – all men, one lone woman. 

The woman has just made an important point – followed by a long pause.

In the cartoon, finally, the boss pipes up and says “that’s an excellent suggestion, Ms. Triggs.  Perhaps one of the men here would like to make it.”

I suspect many of you have had similar experiences.

Today, let us be clear about what needs to change.

As Professor Beard has written: “If women are not perceived to be fully within the structures of power, surely it is power we need to redefine rather than women.”

I thank you for leading that change and thank you for raising your voices.

We need you here, and we need you now.  And we need you more than ever.

I will be frank. 

Our world is a bit lost. 

Now, and I can recall my experience as a driver. I know men sometimes have difficulties recognizing when they get lost.

We don’t like to admit it. 

We have trouble asking for directions and trouble even looking at a map. 

Well, the fact is that our world today needs direction, and I know you can help guide the way.

Sometimes it feels like we are travelling at full speed … in both directions at the same time. 

People are more connected, yet societies are becoming more fragmented. 

Big challenges are growing outward – climate change, insecurity, conflict. 

Yet people are turning inward. 

More than ever, we need global responses to global challenges.

Yet more than ever, multilateralism – international problem solving – is under fire. 

You are living that paradox, too.

After all, advocates for gender equality are mobilizing like never before. 

You are building global movements.  Raising awareness.  Inspiring change.

At the same time, something else is happening. 

And we must tell it like it is. 

Around the world, there is a pushback on women’s rights. 

That pushback is deep, pervasive and relentless. 

We witness increased violence against women, especially human rights defenders and women running for political office.

We see online harassment and abuse of women who speak out.

In some countries, homicide rates are going down – but murders of women are going up.

In others, we see a rollback of legal protection against domestic violence or even female genital mutilation.

As the ILO just found, women last year were 26 percent less likely to be in employment than men.  Fewer than one-third of managers are women – even though they are likely to be better educated. 

We all know women’s participation makes peace agreements more durable, but we still struggle to make sure women are included in negotiating teams.

Even governments that are vocal supporters of this agenda fail to back their words with action where it counts.

Meanwhile, we see wide and persistent digital divides – an ongoing uphill battle for reproductive rights – terrible endemic sexual and gender-based violence.

And nationalist, populist and even austerity agendas are tearing the social fabric – aggravating inequality, splintering communities, curtailing women’s rights and cutting vital services.

We have a fight on our hands.  And it is a fight we must win – together.

So let us say it loud and clear:

We will not give ground.

We will not turn back.

We will push back against the pushback.

And we will keep pushing. 

For wholesale change.  For rapid change.  And for the meaningful change our world needs, starting by addressing the imbalance in power relations.

That is why here at the UN, I have been pushing for gender parity.  And I am proud to report to you, we are making good progress.

Today, if you look around the table of my Senior Management Group, you will find more women than men. Ms. Triggs is no longer alone.

A first in United Nations history.

Look around the world and you will find parity among our Resident Coordinators – our top officials on the ground.

Again, a first in United Nations history. 

We have the most female heads and deputy heads of peace operations in UN history.  And there is still a long way to go.

We are well on our way to parity in all senior ranks by 2021 – and across the board in the UN by 2028.

But that is not coming without pushback. 

I am told that even within the system some critics have even dared to play the competency card.

I heard it all before when I pushed for greater empowerment in my own political party decades ago in my country. 

The United Nations Charter states: “the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff … shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity”.

The point is: men and women are equally efficient, equally competent, and with the same levels of integrity. 

It is the present situation that penalizes women and the organization as a whole.

With these facts in hand, I have reached a very clear and scientific conclusion: what these critics are saying about competency is complete and utter nonsense.

Or, and I say to our critics, do you truly believe that men are on average more competent than women?  If not, parity is a must for the Charter to be respected.

The way to take profit of all the competence that women bring is to achieve parity. 

The General Assembly made it clear in a resolution all the way back in 1975, stating that 
“a major principle governing the recruitment policy of the United Nations” must be the “equitable distribution of the positions between men and women”. A very strong recommendation unfortunately almost completely forgotten for decades.

And let us be clear – parity is about far more than numbers.

We are striving for greater opportunity for so many outstanding, talented, qualified women for a far more fundamental reason.  Dare I say, a more selfish reason.

Because it is good for us all.

When women are at the table, the chance of sustainable peace increases. 

When women have equal opportunities in the labour force, economies can unlock trillions, as it was forecast recently.

When gender is at the heart of humanitarian assistance, vital assistance goes farther and has greater impact for everyone – men, women, girls and boys.

Parity is about our very effectiveness in securing peace, advancing human rights and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Put simply, when we exclude women, everyone pays the price.

When we include women, the whole world wins.

One of your main themes this year is sustainable infrastructure – a vital issue. 

But you also are focusing on infrastructure in its largest sense:  building better societies.

We know women must be engaged as equal participants in all aspects of society.  That is how we build a better world.

This means changing power relations, closing gaps, tackling biases, fighting to preserve hard-won gains and winning ever-greater ground. 

Above all it means believing – never, ever giving up.

I have hope. 

You give me hope, by your commitment.  Your energy.  Your example.  Your resilience.

I am with you.

I am a proud feminist. 

You have my full support.

As we look to next year’s 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action – the 20th anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security – the 75th anniversary of the United Nations – to keep giving direction to our world. 

Keep leading us to a place where women and men enjoy equal rights, equal freedoms and equal power.

We need you more than ever.

Thank you.


Women still struggle to find a job, let alone reach the top: new UN report calls for 'quantum leap'

  • 07 March 2019 |

Women’s job opportunities have barely improved since the early 1990s, UN labour experts said on Thursday, warning that female workers are still penalized for having children and looking after them.

Released on the eve of International Women's Day, celebrated on 8 March, the International Labour Organization (ILO) report found that 1.3 billion women were in work in 2018, compared with two billion men – a less than two per cent improvement in the last 27 years.

Men still dominate top job sector

“Glass ceiling” concerns over the lack of upward mobility at work also persist, given that fewer than one third of managers are women.

“Women are still under-represented at the top, a situation that has changed very little in the last 30 years. This is despite that fact that they are likely to be better educated than their male counterparts…education is not the main reason for lower employment rates and lower pay of women, but rather that women do not receive the same dividends for education as men.”

ILO 2019 report

According to the ILO’s findings, women’s pay is 20 per cent lower than men’s, as a global average.

iloquantumleapreportThis discrepancy is linked to a career-long “motherhood wage penalty”, which contrasts with the fact that fathers enjoy a “wage premium”.

Worryingly, between 2005 and 2015, there was also a 38 per cent increase in the number of working women who did not have young children, compared to those who had.

This is despite an ILO-Gallup 2017 global report which found that 70 per cent of women prefer working rather than staying at home – something men largely agree with, the organization noted.

‘It will take 209 years to achieve parity in unpaid care work’

“A number of factors are blocking equality in employment, and the one playing the largest role is caregiving,” said Manuela Tomei, Director, ILO Conditions of Work and Equality Department. “In the last 20 years, the amount of time women spent on unpaid care and domestic work has hardly fallen”, she said, while men’s participation has increased “by just eight minutes a day. At this pace of change it will take more than 200 years to achieve equality in time spent in unpaid care work.”

[ read the full story on UN News ]


Women’s empowerment ‘essential to global progress’ says Guterres, marking International Day

  • 07 March 2019 |

Women’s empowerment and gender equality are “essential to global progress”, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stressed in his message for International Women's Day which this year puts “innovation by women and girls, for women and girls”, at the heart of efforts to achieve gender equality.

“Last year, for the first time, we achieved gender parity in the UN’s Senior Management Group and among those who lead UN teams around the world”, the UN chief said, adding that the Organization is “working to achieve parity across the whole United Nations system within a decade.”

The UN began celebrating the International Day in 1975, which was designated International Women's Year. Over the decades it has morphed from recognizing the achievements of women to becoming a rallying point to build support for women's rights and participation, in the political and economic arenas.

“Gender equality is essential to the effectiveness of our work, and we cannot afford to miss out on the contributions of half of the world’s population”, Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed explained.

Moreover, “women’s equal participation in the labor force would unlock trillions of dollars for global development” she continued.

“Let us be clear,” she spelled out: “We cannot build the future we want and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without the full participation of women”.

Achieving a gender-equal world requires social innovations that work for both women and men and leave no one behind, according to the overarching UN strategy. E-learning platforms that take classrooms to women and girls; affordable and quality childcare centres; and technology shaped by women, are a few examples of the innovation needed to meet the 2030 deadline set out in the Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“And we need more women leaders participating in public life and taking decisions”, flagged General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa, urging everyone to redouble their efforts “against the discrimination and violence women and girls face every day”.

[ read the full story on UN News ]

Video - UN S-G's joint message on International Women's Day 2019

Read the S-G's message   | Learn more about the Day 


Message on International Women's Day 2019 ( 8 March)

  • 06 March 2019 |

Gender equality and women’s rights are fundamental to global progress on peace and security, human rights and sustainable development. We can only re-establish trust in institutions, rebuild global solidarity and reap the benefits of diverse perspectives by challenging historic injustices and promoting the rights and dignity of all.

In recent decades, we have seen remarkable progress on women’s rights and leadership in some areas. But these gains are far from complete or consistent – and they have already sparked a troubling backlash from an entrenched patriarchy.

Gender equality is fundamentally a question of power. We live in a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture. Only when we see women’s rights as our common objective, a route to change that benefits everyone, will we begin to shift the balance.

Increasing the number of women decision-makers is fundamental. At the United Nations, I have made this a personal and urgent priority. We now have gender parity among those who lead our teams around the world, and the highest-ever numbers of women in senior management. We will continue to build on this progress.

But women still face major obstacles in accessing and exercising power. As the World Bank found, just six economies give women and men equal legal rights in areas that affect their work. And if current trends continue, it will take 170 years to close the economic gender gap.

Nationalist, populist and austerity agendas add to gender inequality with policies that curtail women’s rights and cut social services. In some countries, while homicide rates overall are decreasing, femicide rates are rising. In others we see a rollback of legal protection against domestic violence or female genital mutilation. We know women’s participation makes peace agreements more durable, but even governments that are vocal advocates fail to back their words with action. The use of sexual violence as a tactic in conflict continues to traumatize individuals and entire societies.

Against this backdrop, we need to redouble our efforts to protect and promote women’s rights, dignity and leadership. We must not give ground that has been won over decades and we must push for wholesale, rapid and radical change.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”, addresses infrastructure, systems and frameworks that have been constructed largely in line with a male-defined culture. We need to find innovative ways of reimagining and rebuilding our world so that it works for everyone. Women decision-makers in areas like urban design, transport and public services can increase women’s access, prevent harassment and violence, and improve everyone’s quality of life.

This applies equally to the digital future that is already upon us. Innovation and technology reflect the people who make them. The underrepresentation and lack of retention of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design should be a cause of concern to all.

Last month, in Ethiopia, I spent time with African Girls Can Code, an initiative that is helping to bridge the digital gender divide and train the tech leaders of tomorrow. I was delighted to see the energy and enthusiasm these girls brought to their projects. Programmes like this not only develop skills; they challenge stereotypes that limit girls’ ambitions and dreams.

On this International Women’s Day, let’s make sure women and girls can shape the policies, services and infrastructure that impact all our lives. And let’s support

women and girls who are breaking down barriers to create a better world for everyone.


Message on International day of women and girls in science

  • 11 February 2019 |

Skills in science, technology, engineering and math drive innovation and are critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Women and girls are vital in all these areas. Yet they remain woefully under-represented.

Gender stereotypes, a lack of visible role models and unsupportive or even hostile policies and environments can keep them from pursuing these careers.

The world cannot afford to miss out on the contributions of half our population.

We need concerted efforts to overcome these obstacles.

We must tackle misconceptions about girls’ abilities.

We must promote access to learning opportunities for women and girls, particularly in rural areas.

And we must do more to change workplace culture so that girls who dream of being scientists, engineers and mathematicians can enjoy fulfilling careers in these fields.

Let us ensure that every girl, everywhere, has the opportunity to realize her dreams, grow into her power and contribute to a sustainable future for all.


Female African coders ‘on the front-line of the battle’ to change gender power relations: UN chief

  • 11 February 2019 |

Young female African coders are “on the front-line” of the battle to change traditionally male power relations and bring about a more equitable balance between men and women, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said during his visit to Ethiopia to attend the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa..

The UN chief was speaking after meeting girls from across the continent taking part in the African Girls Can Code Initiative, a joint initiative from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and UN Women. This new programme saw more than 80 girls from 34 African countries join the first Coding Camp in Addis Ababa for 10 days in August 2018.

The girls attending the courses learn about digital literacy, coding and personal development skills, including enterprise know-how to ensure their financial security. They are trained as programmers, creators and designers, so that they are well equipped to compete for careers in areas such as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and coding. The initiative will runs until 2022 and is expected to reach more than 2,000 girls through 18 Coding Camps.

[ read the full story on UN News ]


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