Statement at the launch of The World's Women 2010: Trends and Statistics

Statement by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Reliable and timely data are crucial and indispensable for economic and social development. They allow policy makers from our Member States and the UN system to analyze important trends on numerous issues. Without solid information we cannot measure where we are, nor what needs to be done. If the world cannot get the right numbers, it cannot push for the right solutions, nor can it successfully monitor where we are in achieving agreed goals.

One of these goals, as set in the Beijing Declaration adopted in 1995 by the Fourth World Conference on Women, commits Governments “to advance the goals of equality, development and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of humanity”. The Beijing Platform for Action tasked the United Nations with the development of gender statistics at the international level; with supporting the availability and existence of these statistics at national level; and with preparing a thorough statistical overview on women and men every five years.

It is therefore a privilege to launch The World’s Women 2010: Trends and Statistics on the occasion of World Statistics Day. This is yet another example of the significant relevance of official statistics to all aspects of social and economic life of a nation and the world. This publication elaborates on the following key areas: population and families, health, education and work, power and decision-making, violence against women, environment and poverty. In each of these areas statistics were identified, compiled, processed and analyzed. The findings brought to light the differences between the status of girls and boys, women and men. All efforts were made to make these findings easy to interpret, with the extensive use of graphical presentation and non-technical language.

It is my hope that the present publication will be used to advance an enabling social and economic environment. One that will ensure equal treatment of all women and men and significantly improve the status of women in the world. It should also serve as a model for similar statistical profiles for countries, areas, regions and provinces, thus supporting the development of policies to implement a basic United Nations principle: gender equality.

After more than sixty years of work on official statistics at the United Nations, we have, indeed, much to celebrate: That official statistics from countries around the globe are produced in a reliable, accurate, scientific and comparable manner is a great collective accomplishment. It is the result of the service, professionalism and integrity demonstrated on a daily basis by dedicated experts in national statistical systems across the world. These three core values are indeed critical pillars of public governance.

We, at DESA, and specifically through our Statistics Division are honoured to serve the global statistical community. We remain committed to do so with our utmost energy and determination.