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Plan Urges UN to Take Stronger Stance on Girls' Rights at CSW

March 4, 2010

Marking the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which paid particular attention to the rights of the girl child, Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, led a speaking program and panel discussion of the successes and shortcomings of the initiative since then. As a participant in the discussion, held at this year's session of the CSW, a Plan delegate and 17 year-old activist for the global “Because I am a Girl” campaign, highlighted the need for governments worldwide to address gender stereotyping and the empowerment of young women.

Ban Ki-moon used his opening remarks to emphasize the need to reinvigorate the global campaign for women’s rights so as to address the myriad issues affecting the daily lives of women, stating, “We must pledge a renewed determination for the future of equal rights, equal opportunities and progress for all.” He urged the UN General Assembly to create a UN entity focused solely on gender issues.

Plan delegate, Amy, had the opportunity to share her experience as a young woman who was only 2 years-old at the signing of the Beijing Declaration, and expressed frustration at the inequity she faces on a regular basis.

“There are girls that still face an expectation that their future means becoming a wife and mother, without the need for additional ambitions,” said Amy. “We need to continue fighting to change these conventions and encourage women to strengthen their voice in determining their future and their lives.”

In support of Ban Ki-moon’s initiative and position, Audun Lysbakken, minister for gender equality and children’s affairs in Norway, elaborated on the critical implications for gender equity to global economies. In his remarks he stated, “No enduring solution to society’s most social, economic or political problems can be found without the full empowerment of all women.”

Other participants in the day’s sessions included Meng Xiaosi, minister and vice-chairperson of the national committee on women and children, People’s Republic of China; Ms. Gertrude Mongella, secretary-general Fourth World Conference on Women; Dr. Patricia Licuanan, former chair of CSW/ chair Asia Pacific NGO Forum; and Tarcila Rivera Zea of Enlace Intercontinental de Mujeres Indígenas.

Get more coverage of the Commission on the Status of Women