UN witnesses notable advances on achieving gender equality: Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
UN Secretary-General Antonio GuterresFile

United Nations, Dec 13: Five years since a United Nations system-wide gender parity strategy was adopted, the world body has witnessed notable advances on achieving gender equality, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

In 2017, Guterres launched the strategy on gender parity with targets and timelines, in a bid to enhance women’s representation at all levels and in all arenas in the UN system, reports Xinhua news agency.

In the past five years, the UN has achieved a series of notable “firsts”, he told the Group of Friends on Gender Parity on Monday marking the fifth anniversary of the strategy.

Gender parity was reached among the UN’s senior leadership for the first time in 2020, two years ahead of the target date, along with parity reached among heads and deputy heads of peace operations, as well as parity among the 130 UN resident coordinators, he said.

“The representation of women at headquarters locations has now reached parity. And the number of UN entities with at least 50 per cent women staff has risen from five to 26.”

But the UN chief noted that “gaps remain”, pointing to slow progress in the field and even backwards going in some cases.

He voiced concern over the decrease in women recruited into entry-level UN Secretariat positions in the field, saying this could have a serious impact on prospects for parity in the future.

As further improvement under the gender parity strategy, the UN will strengthen efforts to recruit women to the organisation’s field missions, double down on policies and tools to make the world body a more attractive employer for women, and focus on reflecting gender and geographical diversity as complementary goals, Guterres said.

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