By Funmi Ajumobi
As the world marked the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women yesterday, United Nations Secretary General, Mr António Guterres, has called for collective global action on the issue of violence against women, saying achieving gender equality and full empowerment of women is the answer to ending violence against women.
Guterres said, in his remarks alongside UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, at a special event held at UN Headquarters in New York to commemorate the day, that violence against women is fundamentally about power. He stressed that it will only end when gender equality and full empowerment of women are a reality, adding that his policy on gender parity in the United Nations is one step towards achieving this goal.
The UN scribe noted that every woman and girl had the right to a life free of violence, saying the right is violated in a variety of ways in every community, with more than one in three women worldwide facing violence throughout their lifetime.
He lamented that violence is the most visible sign of pervasive patriarchy and chauvinism which directly impacts women’s physical and psychological health, whole families, communities and societies. According to him, as long as the situation continues, states will not achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a master plan to end poverty and save the planet, adopted by every nation in 2015.
“There is increasing recognition that violence against women is a major barrier to the fulfilment of human rights, and a direct challenge to women’s inclusion and participation in sustainable development and sustaining peace,” he stated.