UN Chief Warns That Women's Rights Are Under Attack Worldwide

"Our world needs more women leaders."
Women rally in New York's Washington Square Park for a Day Without A Woman o March 8.
Women rally in New York's Washington Square Park for a Day Without A Woman o March 8.
New York Daily News via Getty Images

In a speech to the Commission on the Status of Women on Monday night, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that women’s rights are being threatened on a global scale.

According to Time, Guterres warned that women around the world are facing “new assaults on their safety and dignity.” He did not name any specific governments or groups, but he spoke of “challenges that arise from violent extremism, human rights violations, xenophobia and other threats.” The speech appeared to be aimed at President Donald Trump and his proposed refugee and immigrant ban, as well as extremist group ISIS and Russia’s recent legislation decriminalizing domestic violence.

Guterres also acknowledged men’s role in making the world a safer place for women. “Our world needs more women leaders,” he said. “And our world needs more men standing up for gender equality.”

Executive director of U.N. Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, spoke after Guterres, and commented on the economic consequences of discrimination against women.

“[Women] are the under-the-radar and under-valued cogs in the bigger wheels of the formal economy,” she said. “Advancing women’s equality in total could bring a potential boost of 28 trillion U.S. dollars to global annual GDP by 2025.”

Their comments come less than a week after International Women’s Day and the Day Without A Woman, where women worldwide went on strike, rallied and wore red in solidarity.

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