Changing men's mindset required for gender equality, says UN chief

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Women in Nepal learn how to grade apples for sale. Photo: IFAD/Shiva Adhikari

Men have a critical role to play in changing mindsets to promote gender equality, according to the UN Secretary-General.

Ban Ki-moon spoke at the start of the two-week session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women on Monday.

Representatives of governments, civil society organizations and UN entities have gathered at UN headquarters to review what has been done to achieve equality between men and women.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

In his address to the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the UN Secretary-General said 2015 is a vital year for advancing the cause of gender equality.

Ban Ki-moon stressed that if the new development agenda is to be truly transformative, women must be at its centre.

He pointed out that women continue to suffer disproportionately from the economic crisis, the impacts of climate change, displacements caused by conflict, persecution and so much else.

The UN chief said although there have been important advances since the 1995 Women's Conference in Beijing, progress has been unacceptably slow and the gains made are not irreversible.

"I urge Governments to work closely with women's groups and organizations, particularly the human rights defenders on the front lines. Let us also recognize the crucial role of men in changing the mindset. Without changing the mindset of men we may not be able to change this current situation." (19")

Ban Ki-moon said that "in the 21st century, truly powerful men are those who believe in and work for the empowerment of women."

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’13″

 

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