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Women inequality should shame us all: UN chief wants 21st century to be a period of gender parity

Guterres said it is time to stop trying to change women, and start changing the systems.

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Last Updated: Feb 28, 2020, 05.32 PM IST
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Antonio Guterres said the inequality faced by women is 'unacceptable' and 'stupid'.
UNITED NATIONS: Women's inequality should shame everyone in the 21st century as it is "stupid" and "unacceptable", UN chief Antonio Guterres has said, as he called for removing this stain by ensuring equal participation for all.

Speaking to faculty and students on Thursday at The New School, a university in New York City, the UN chief declared himself a proud feminist and called for men everywhere to support women's rights.

"Just as slavery and colonialism were a stain on previous centuries, women's inequality should shame us all in the 21st century. Because it is not only unacceptable; it is stupid,” the Secretary General said.

For the UN chief, gender inequality and discrimination against women and girls remains an overwhelming injustice across the globe.

"From the ridiculing of women as hysterical or hormonal, to the routine judgement of women based on their looks; from the myths and taboos that surround women's natural bodily functions, to mansplaining and victim-blaming – misogyny is everywhere,” he said.

At the heart of the issue is power, as male-dominated power structures underpin everything from national economies, to political systems, to the corporate world and beyond.

But he pointed out that patriarchy also has an impact on men and boys, trapping them in rigid gender stereotypes, declaring that a systemic change is long overdue.

“It is time to stop trying to change women, and start changing the systems that prevent them from achieving their potential. Our power structures have evolved gradually over thousands of years. One further evolution is long overdue. The 21st century must be the century of women's equality,” he said.

Pay Gap No More: Nations That Rate High On Gender Equality

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Closing The Gap

15 Jan, 2018
Iceland has become the first country in the world to force companies to prove they pay all employees the same — irrespective of gender, sexuality, or ethnicity. While the North Atlantic island leads the pack, here are other nations that rate high on the gender equality scale.
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