United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Thursday against a recent pushback on gender equality and women’s rights and urged people to fight back as the United States condemned China and the world body for “the murder of millions of baby girls”.
World leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, took part in a virtual UN General Assembly meeting on Thursday, 25 years since a landmark World Conference on Women in Beijing, where then-US First Lady Hillary Clinton declared that “women’s rights are human rights”.
While Guterres did not specify who was wary of women’s rights, he said: “Now is the time to push back against the pushback … Women’s full human rights and freedoms are fundamental to peace and prosperity on a healthy planet.”
At the 1995 conference, 189 countries agreed to make a priority the “full and equal participation of women in political, civil, economic, social and cultural life at the national, regional and international levels, and the eradication of all forms of discrimination on the grounds of sex”.
“Twenty-five years after the Beijing Declaration, equality should be a given. But we still have a long way to go,” Merkel said. “Get on board. Let’s work together to really target the Beijing goals. The faster, the better.”
China’s President Xi Jinping said China would donate $10 million more to UN Women, and proposed another world meeting on gender equality for 2025.