(Suva, Fiji – 5 March 2014) – Today UN Women joins the people of the Pacific in celebrating the progress made for women’s rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality in the region. Yet, despite this, it is important to acknowledge that progress towards achieving gender equality has been slow, uneven and in some cases women girls face new and more complex challenges daily.
International Women’s Day provides an opportunity to reaffirm Pacific commitments to addressing gender equality together as women and men, girls and boys and to look to the future of women in development.
While progress on MDGs in the Pacific is mixed in the region, there is an unprecedented commitment and momentum to promote gender equality. This is largely due to high level commitments from Pacific Island Forum leaders, increased availability of data, and the development of specific legislation and policies on gender equality and gender violence. In the Pacific the mandate to dramatically increase efforts to promote gender equality, women’s right and women’s empowerment has never been clearer or more urgent.
“Pacific Island countries should be praised for their efforts towards progressing in the areas of the millennium development goals, particularly towards primary education and maternal health. However there is still a long way to go to achieve full gender equality in the region, with major gaps in women’s political participation, violence against women and women’s access to economic opportunities. As we approach 2015, UN Women calls for accelerated efforts by governments towards MDG 3 – to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women – and at the same time concerted efforts need to be made towards the creation of a stand along goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the post 2015 development framework” says Elzira Sagynbaeva, Representative, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Fiji Multi-Country Office.
“If we act decisively with the knowledge that empowering women and girls and supporting their full participation, can help solve the greatest challenges of the 21st century, we will find lasting solutions to many of the problems we face in our world. Major challenges such as poverty, inequality, violence against women and girls and insecurity will be addressed substantially,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women commented in a message for International Women's Day.
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka further emphasised that “no country in the world has achieved equality between women and men and girls and boys, and violations of the rights of women and girls are an outrage. So let us build on the lessons learned and the knowledge that equality for women is progress for all and make greater and bolder progress as we work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and chart a new post-2015 development agenda,”.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were developed, in 2000, as a tool to provide a focus for governments in their efforts to reduce poverty and achieve development over the following 15 years through to 2015. As 2015 is fast approaching, the time has come to look back over the progress and consider the lessons we have learnt from the last 14 years and make important decisions about the future of development in the Pacific Region.
International Women's Day has been observed since in the early 1900's and is now an official holiday in 27 countries around the world. The theme in 2014 is “Equality for Women is Progress for All”
Media Contact: Olivia Owen (email@example.com)
UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office: International Women’s Day 8 March, 2014
Press Release #1403-02
Palikir, Pohnpei – FSM Information Services
March 6, 2014