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21st century must be for women’s equality: Guterres

New York, Feb 28 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced gender inequality as an “overwhelming injustice” across the globe and said that the 21st century “must be the century for womens equality”.

“Everywhere, women are worse off than men, simply because they are women,” Efe news quoted Guterres as saying while speaking at The New School, a university in New York, on Thursday.

“Just as slavery and colonialism were a stain on previous centuries, women’s inequality should shame us all in the 21st. Because it is not only unacceptable, it is stupid.

“Gender equality is the prerequisite for a better world,” added Guterres, who has made the issue one of his top priorities since taking office.

“Legal protections against rape and domestic violence are being diluted or rolled back in some places. Rape within marriage continues to be legal in 34 countries. Women’s sexual and reproductive rights are under threat from different sides,” he said.

That discrimination, he insisted, affects all women, including the leaders and public figures who face “harassment, threats and abuse online and offline” and who are excluded from the highest levels in politics, business or art.

According to Guterres, “patriarchy” continues to affect all areas of life with men and women, boys and girls, suffering the consequences.

“Interstate conflict makes headlines, but in some of the most violent parts in the world, levels of femicide … are comparable to a war zone,” he said.

Guterres said that 137 women are killed around the world every day by a member of their own family.

“In other words, we have men waging war on women, but no one is calling for a ceasefire or imposing sanctions,” he denounced.

The digital divide and technology bias against women, and political representation complete the areas in which Guterres identified gender equality as a priority.

–IANS

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