Yesterday I attended the launch of UN Women’s new report: “Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice.” Launched on January 1, 2011, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, known as UN Women, works to integrate gender into the UN and global foreign policy.
UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Michele Bachelet addressed a crowd of more than a hundred human right defenders, advocates and UN officials in New York detailing the findings of the new report.
“Progress of the World’s Women” focuses on women’s access to justice and the existing barriers, both legal and social, that keep women from exercising their rights. The report shows that while significant legal reforms have been made, women still face persistent discrimination that hinders our, and the world’s, ability to make progress. As Under Secretary Bachelet declared: “In too many countries the rule of law rules women out.”
Discriminatory laws and discriminatory application of those laws often prevent women from accessing justice. Women must be ensured comprehensive civil and political rights through equal access to the law and the political process. But ruling women in requires a vigorous application of the entire human rights framework to ensure that women’s human rights are fulfilled. The full range of economic, social and cultural rights, including access to education, employment opportunities and health care, must be protected.
The global progress towards gender equality is undeniable;
- 139 constitutions guarantee gender equality;
- 125 countries outlaw domestic violence, and;
- 117 countries have equal pay laws.
However, the promise of gender equality remains unfulfilled;
- 53 percent of women work in vulnerable employment;
- 50 countries have a lower legal age of marriage for women than for men, and;
- 10-30 percent is the average pay gap between women and men.
The new UN report aims to highlight this continuing inequity and bring to light the violations of women’s human rights that are perpetuated by the lack of gender justice.
More than just a global report card, the report contains ten recommendations to achieve gender justice and make real advances in eliminating gender inequality. The report underscores the importance of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the need for worldwide ratification. Amnesty International has long advocated for this crucial treaty and continues to call for ratification by the United States, currently one of only seven countries that have not ratified the Treaty. Help us by adding your voice in favor of ratification.
Get involved in Amnesty’s work on women’s issues and help us work together towards a world where everyone can enjoy the full range of human rights.