The world cannot pride itself on being fair and equal until women and girls can live free of fear, violence and insecurity, UN chief Antonio Guterres has said.
Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic, the UN Secretary-General said at a special event here Monday commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, marked annually on November 25.
“At its core, violence against women and girls in all its forms is the manifestation of a profound lack of respect – a failure by men to recognize the inherent equality and dignity of women,” Guterres said at a special event here Monday commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, marked annually on November 25.
The International Day highlights that violence against women is as serious cause of death and incapacity as cancer, among women of reproductive age.
“It is a moral affront to all women and girls and to us all, a mark of shame on all our societies, and a major obstacle to inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. It is an issue of fundamental human rights. Not until the half of our population represented by women and girls can live free of fear, violence and everyday insecurity, can we truly say we live in a fair and equal world,” he added.
This year’s theme is ‘Orange the World: #HearMeToo,’ and as in previous years, the colour orange is used to draw global attention to the issue, while the hashtag is encouraged to amplify the message of survivors and activists and to put them at the centre of the conversation and response.
The theme also aims to broaden the global conversation and highlight the voices and activism of all survivors of violence and advocates around the world – many of whom are often missing from the media headlines and social media discussions.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN Women, the Organisation’s gender equality entity, highlighted that UN initiatives shifting the livelihoods of women signal hope for progress.
“A culture that changes from questioning the credibility of the victims, to pursuing the accountability of the perpetrators within due process, is possible,” she said.