Women’s empowerment key to achieving UN’s goals, says Ban Ki-moon

3 October 2007 – Stressing that the empowerment of women is vital to achieving peace and security, improved living standards and respect for human rights, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has underscored the need to support the work of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

“Today, we understand, even better than our founders did, that the empowerment of women is a fundamental condition if we are to make progress towards the goals for which the United Nations was created,” Mr. Ban said at last night’s Americans for UNFPA Gala for the Health and Dignity of Women.

He noted that too many women die during pregnancy and childbirth because their right to sexual and reproductive health is denied; too many women become infected with HIV because they do not have the power to protect their own health; and too many women are subjected to violence – “one of the most systematic and prevalent human rights abuses in the world.”

All of this underscored the importance of UNFPA’s efforts, he said. “This work needs to be understood. And it needs to be supported.”

He encouraged Americans for UNFPA to continue their support for this vital UN agency, adding that by doing so they are “contributing directly to the health and dignity of women in nations all over the world.”

Last night’s event honoured four Americans from the media, financial and political fields along with women from Niger, Mongolia and Cambodia for combining passion and entrepreneurship with social responsibility to advance the health and dignity of women.

The group honoured Ted Turner, who Mr. Ban called “one of the staunchest allies of the United Nations and of women around the world,” with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

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