Investing in Gender Equality Will Strengthen Peace

Leaders at the United Nations (UN) say women’s rights around the world are now under threat, and the threat is especially so in conflict-affected countries.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UN Women Executive Director Sima Sami Bahous pledged to do more across the world body, but both called on member states to also commit to increasing the participation and protection of women in their home countries.

“Women’s participation and protection are clearly interrelated. We cannot choose one without the other, and we cannot expect women to take part in building peace if their lives are constantly under threat,” Bahous said.

He added that a UN report found that countries around the world were continuing to invest more in defense and security, and to the exclusion of social services.

“Developing countries are equal countries, and equal countries are more peaceful countries. But people cannot thrive without investing in their basic needs, such as health and social protection,” Bahous said.

Bahous further points out how “conflict-affected countries spend two to three times as much resources as they have on defense than on improving health services. The opposite is true in most stable large countries.”

Guterres said it was time to “turn the clock forward to promote women’s rights and give that half of humanity a chance to build the peace we all dream of.”

Guterres and Bahous stressed that women need to take part in the decision -making process to ensure peace and equality around the world, but this can only be done through the representation of women in public office. [em/lt]

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