UN Women Executive Director stresses solidarity, pledges support to Equal Futures Partnership

Remarks by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, at Equal Futures Partnership event in New York on 23 September, 2013

Date: Monday, September 23, 2013

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Distinguished delegates and colleagues,

Leadership is about bringing people together for a vision we believe in. 

I thank United States President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for their leadership and the Equal Futures Partnership.

I thank Jim Kim for committing the World Bank to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

UN Women is the creation of UN Member States, and a collective expression of the commitment of Member States to half of humanity, 3.6 billion women and girls.

For UN Women to deliver on this mandate, partnerships within and outside the UN are critical. Today I pledge the strong support of UN Women to the Equal Futures Partnership.

Together we have made remarkable progress but we still have much unfinished business.

From the experience of my home country of South Africa, I saw the power of international solidarity. It was a big factor in bringing down the system of apartheid. 

This is the kind of international solidarity that we need to build to bring down discrimination and violence against girls and women; to make the 21st century a real century for women, with tangible and visible progress for the poorest women, the abused and the violated. 

Today an estimated one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence. Together we must fight these human rights violations. That is what I am committed to do through UN Women to restore our collective humanity.

Today we have an opportunity through technology to empower women and grow economies if we include all the talent we have. We see an untapped potential of a promising emerging market, which can be a green economy of women.

My vision and commitment is to expand equal access to technology and opportunity and if we succeed, it will be a game-changer for women and girls.

With substantive material support and political will, together we can reshape the 21st century for women. UN Women has a big dream to expand women’s political participation, to enhance women’s economic opportunity and to end violence against women and girls. 

We have one purpose. To bring us closer to the day when all girls and boys can enjoy equal futures.

This morning UN Women launched empowerwomen.org, our new Knowledge Gateway for women’s economic empowerment. Looking forward, I call on all countries to ensure that women’s rights and gender equality are a priority in the post-2015 development agenda.

On my side, I will ensure that UN Women is partner of all women. A partner that is determined to make change that matters for and with half of humanity. I will lead with dedication, focus and determination, and build UN Women to be an inspiration to the billions of women of the world. 

I thank you.