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UN Chief Calls for Global Action to Defend Women’s Rights

The UN has highlighted the need to defend women’s rights which were under threat, citing a reversal in hard-won progress, increasing violence against women, and a growing digital gender divide.

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said this at the opening of the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), under the theme, “Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective,” held at the UN Headquarters, in New York.

CSW in its 68th session is a forum dedicated to promoting and safeguarding the rights of women and girls worldwide.

The UN chief, while stressing the disproportionate impact of wars on women, said in conflict zones around the world, women and girls suffer the most from wars waged by men.

Guterres lamented the appalling situation in Gaza, where over two-thirds of those killed and injured during Israel’s offensive are reportedly women and girls.

He also noted shocking testimonies of sexual violence against Palestinian women in detention settings, house raids, and checkpoints in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

He said a report about Israel released by UN Special Representative, Pramila Patten, highlighted sexual violence against women and girls and indications of sexualised torture during the terror attacks launched by Hamas and other armed groups on Oct. 7, 2023.

Guterres also voiced concern over the situation faced by women in other countries, including Afghanistan and Sudan.
“In Afghanistan, the Taliban has issued more than 50 edicts suppressing women’s and girls’ rights. In Sudan, scores of women have reportedly been subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence in the ongoing conflict,” he said.

Guterres stressed that despite evidence that women’s full participation made peacebuilding much more effective, the number of women in decision-making roles was falling.

“The facts are clear: Women lead to peace,” he said, calling for more funding and new policies to boost women’s participation and investment in women peacebuilders.

CSW, which is held annually, is the largest global gathering of civil society representatives, government officials, policymakers, and experts.

It takes stock of progress on gender equality, discusses pressing issues, and agrees on actions to transform the lives of women and girls everywhere.

It consists of a wide range of meetings, panel discussions, interactive dialogues, ministerial round tables, intergovernmental negotiations, and more.

The session, which opened Monday ends March 22.

By Dare Akogun

Dare Akogun

Dare Akogun is a dynamic media innovator, strategic communication professional, and seasoned climate and environmental sustainability journalist with over 10 years of influential contributions to the media industry.

He Currently serving as the Head of Digital Media, Senior News Editor, and a presenter at Sobi FM 101.9, a leading radio station in Ilorin, Nigeria.

Dare is on a mission to leverage his media innovation expertise and project management skills to produce high-quality, accurate, and engaging content, while advocating for reduced fossil fuel consumption, especially coal, to combat effect of global warming.

He has covered comprehensively environmental issues and COP conferences, including COP28 in Dubai last year , COP 27 in Egypt, and the United Nations Least Developed Countries conference in Doha, in 2023.

He is a recipient of fellowship to be part of a 15 team of journalists selected worldwide to cover the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue 2024.

He has a Master's Degree in Mass Communication, from the University of Lagos, a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the Lagos State University and also a
Certification in Business Administration and Management, from the Babson College, Massachusetts, United States of America.

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