New York

27 September 2015

Secretary-General's remarks at Global Leaders Meeting on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment

I am pleased to welcome you to this important meeting.

Today, world leaders are signalling their personal responsibility for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

This is as it should be.

We need leadership from the top and engagement throughout society to achieve our bold agenda for sustainable development.

A human rights-based approach demands a world that is just, equitable and inclusive for all.

I commend the leadership of President Xi Jinping, and I thank the Government of China and UN Women for organizing this event. Thank you, Mr. President, for your very generous support for UN Women. Thank you very much. And many developing countries for women’s empowerment.

It marks the culmination of the 20th anniversary review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action.

The review showed that, while we have progressed in many areas, we still have a long way to go.

Far too many women and girls continue to be discriminated against, subjected to violence, denied equal opportunities in education and employment, and excluded from positions of leadership and decision-making. 

We cannot achieve our 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development without full and equal rights for half of the world’s population, in law and in practice.

We cannot effectively respond to humanitarian emergencies without ensuring women and girls are protected and their needs prioritized. 

That is why I have committed to mainstreaming gender equality at all levels across the United Nations.

I am proud that the General Assembly created UN Women during my time as Secretary-General.

And I am proud to have been able to appoint more women to senior UN positions than ever before.

Today, I call on all leaders to make tangible commitments that will secure true gender equality throughout the world.

This means urgently addressing structural barriers, such as unequal pay.

Second, it means recognizing and alleviating women’s unpaid care burden.

And three, it means realizing the right of women and girls to govern their sexual and reproductive health.

And fourth, it means ending violence against women and girls.

And it means equality in political participation and in women’s representation in humanitarian response, conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

We need a safe and enabling environment for civil society, women’s organizations and human rights defenders as they work with us to drive the 2030 Agenda forward. 

And we also encourage the private sector to take transformative actions to promote gender equality in the boardroom and the workplace.  

We need a 50:50 Planet by 2030.

Let’s Step it up for Gender Equality.

As Heads of State and Government, you have the power and the responsibility to ensure that gender equality is – and remains -- a national priority.

I see three areas where you can help transform our societies.

First, create and energetically implement coherent gender equality policies.

Second, provide significant financing for gender equality.

And third, monitor progress so that all governments will hold themselves and each other accountable.

Let this not be the last meeting of its kind on this essential topic.

As we look ahead to 2030, let us be able to say that today we marked a milestone in the quest to realize full and lasting gender equality.

This is the birthright of every woman, man, girl and boy.

It is the foundation of a sustainable and peaceful world.

Thank you for your commitment.