Thank you, Mr. President,
It is an honor for me to bear witness to the institutionalization of the UNGA Platform of Women Leaders.
A year ago – almost exactly to date, I convened a Meeting of Women Leaders, where some of Your Excellencies were present.
It was one of the first decisions I took as the President of the 76th session of the General Assembly.
The reason was simple – gender equality must be front and center.
A tragic reminder of the long journey ahead was the amount of invites I sent. It was far too few, reflecting the amount of work remaining to fully dismantle the legacies of patriarchy.
I was truly dismayed when I found out that out of the 194 government representatives that spoke at the General Debate of the 76th session, only 18 were women.
During the meeting last year, the women leaders present expressed that there should be a platform to allow for regular interaction among women leaders at the United Nations, as opposed to one-off meetings.
I am very glad that this idea has come to fruition. I thank Executive Director Sima Bahaus and her team at UN Women for their outstanding work in the lead up; and I thank the President of the 77th Session of the General Assembly, His Excellency Csaba Korosi, for convening this first meeting.
I call on subsequent PGAs to hold this meeting annually.
The necessity of this meeting is evident when we consider the statistics. There are 193 Member States, yet only 28 women currently serve as elected Heads of State or Government. Globally, women hold only 42 percent of judicial positions. And only a mere 16 percent share in senior policy-level processes.
Violence against women in politics was singled out as a major contributing factor to this injustice during the meeting last year.
This was repeated – once again during the Special Event on Ending Violence Against Women in Politics I convened this year.
We must do more to address this increasingly pervasive and highly misogynistic form of violence. The General Assembly must do more.
As a follow up, I held a Special Event on Ending Violence Against Women in Politics, to spotlight on this increasingly rampant and highly misogynistic form of violence of against women.
As noted during the special event on ending violence against women on the margins of 66th session on the commission on the status of women, we must do much better in addressing gender-based violence and ensuring gender parity.
At our current rate of progress, it could take 300 years to achieve gender equality.
We must act now. Accelerate investment in girls and women. Scale up efforts to empower women. Expand opportunities for girls. Eliminate gender-based violence.
The urgency of achieving gender equality has become critical. Considering the extraordinary challenges confronting us, we need to mobilize all of humanity’s ingenuity and resources to address them. We cannot let glass ceilings hinder the potential of half of humanity.
I hope that this meeting continues to be held annually, and that it is attended by a growing list of women leaders, each of whom will inspire future generations of young girls to pursue in their footsteps.
In exactly that spirit, I reiterate my call that the next Secretary General of the United Nations should be a woman.
It is my firm belief that gender equality should be a cross-cutting issue permeating all our discussions. This is something I will continue to advocate.
In that work, I will be guided by women. I will listen to women and help amplify their voices. I will do my utmost to ensure not only that women have an equal say to men, but that they have the final say in matters that directly affect them.
Let us work together to empower a new generation of women and girls, and to usher in a brighter, more gender-equal world.