PRESS RELEASE

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On the International Women’s Day UN Lesotho joins the global commitment:

“Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”

 

The International Women’s Day on the 8th of March is a time to reflect on progress made towards gender equality, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. It also is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The UN Lesotho joins the global commitment to ensure that, gender equality promotes the enjoyment of rights, opportunities and life chances for everyone regardless of whether they were born female or male.

The 2016 theme for International Women’s Day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it Up for Gender Equality”. The United Nations observance on 8 March will reflect on how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals. It will equally focus on new commitments and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.

Despite considerable progress, the grim realities of poverty, dispossession, harmful practices and gender based violence overshadow glimmers of hope. Deep constitutional and legal changes are still needed to ensure women’s rights around the world. In Lesotho, stark gender disparities remain in economic and political realms. Female CEOs and managers are still rare. Only 24% of employers are female. Women also occupy just 23% of the economic decision-making positions in Government.  With regard to land ownership, 70% of landowners are male. However, women have a right to equality in all areas. A “step up” is thus necessary to embed equality across legal systems and uphold it in both laws and enforcement. All areas of life relate to gender equality, so efforts must be made to cut the roots of gender discrimination wherever they appear. As the Kingdom of Lesotho celebrates its 50th independence anniversary, this is an opportune time for the country to introspect and find sustainable ways to better the lives of women and girls.

2016 is a very important year for Gender Equality as not only the 60th Commission on the Status of Women will take place from 14-24 March on “Empower women for the Sustainable Development Goals”, but it also marks the start of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Women have a critical role to play in all of the SDGs, with many targets specifically recognizing women’s equality and empowerment as both the objective, and as part of the solution. Goal 5 is solely dedicated to achieving these ends. Through implementing the SDGs the United Nations System in Lesotho supports the country to advance women’s political participation, leadership and economic empowerment; assists women to secure decent jobs, accumulate assets, and influence institutions and public policies; to ensures the recognition, reduction and redistribution of the burden on women for unpaid care; advocates to end gender based violence by raising awareness of its root causes and consequences and boost efforts to prevent and respond, including ensuring the rights of women and girls living with HIV and AIDS. As the UN we join the efforts of Member States and development partners in supporting all initiatives aimed at equal enjoyment of rights, opportunities and life chances for both men and women throughout the life course.

Let’s jointly Step It Up and ensure a Planet 50-50 by 2030.

 

For more information please contact:

Sylvia Khabele, UNV on UN Communications, sylvia.khabele@one.un.org or Armelina Sifnaiou, UNDP HIV/AIDS and Gender Officer, armelina.sifnaiou@undp.org