By Busayo Onijala
Lagos, Sept. 15, 2020 The UN Women on Tuesday highlighted the journey for women’s right and empowerment during an executive board event for its 10th anniversary.
The Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, speaking at the virtual commemorative event, said creation of the body would not have been possible without the support of member states.
Mlambo-Ngcuka explained that the entity was born out of the relentless advocacy of civil society and the bringing together of other distinct parts of the UN system, which focused on gender equality and women’s empowerment.
“In many ways, we had to build the ship while we were riding it and we have learnt a lot as we’ve been riding through turbulent waters.
“I am proud of how far we have come, although I get frustrated sometimes because I think we should and can be much better.
“We still need to be committed to work and walk forward so that we can achieve what UN Women still meant to achieve,’’ Mlambo-Ngcuka said.
Speaking on her experience as an executive, Michelle Bachelet, the first Executive Director of UN Women, said that it was a privilege for her to work with an extraordinary group of talented and passionate colleagues.
“I wanted the entity to continue making the best possible jobs for women’s rights, opportunities, gender equality and empowerment to continue advancing.
“And I left with high hopes that young women will be able to take forward that vision to inform and influence political agenda, such as the 2030 agenda,’’ Bachelet said.
She said that even though the organisation struggled to get required resources and had seen global challenges, her hope had not been disappointed.
“In only 10 years, UN Women has not only built greater coherence to the UN work on gender equality but also ensured gender parity in all important levels of the organisation.
“The voices of women, girls and their organisations are better understood and heard more widely.
“There are efforts to generate greater accountability for integrating gender in the work of all UN entities.
“We have also seen developed innovative partnership with member states in civil society and the private sector for the promotion of gender equality.
“There is stronger data and analysis available on the relationship between gender equality and virtually all other kind of agenda.’’
The former director added that the road to gender equality was still a long one and expressed confidence that UN Women and its allies, especially youths, would help find new strategies to press forward.
Meanwhile, Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, the Co-chair, Board of Directors, Global Fund for Women said that the success factor of the entity was first and foremost, “accountability”.
According to her, there can be many commitments but what is needed was the institutional arrangements, not only at the UN level in New York, but also at the grassroots.
“When we are closer to home where women are at the national and regional level, we can see the accountability to the rights, freedoms and human security for women, young women and girls,’’ she said.
Naija247news reports that UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
It was created in July 2010 to accelerate progress on meeting the needs of women around the world.