Statement by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on the outcome of the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women

Date : 22 March 2014

UN Women welcomes the outcome of the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women. The agreement represents a milestone towards a transformative global development agenda that puts the empowerment of women and girls at its centre. Member States have stressed that while the Millennium Development Goals have advanced progress in many areas, they remain unfinished business as long as gender inequality persists.

The clear analysis of Member States on the shortcomings in the design and implementation of the MDGs provides us with valuable guidance as the international community devises a comprehensive post-2015 agenda. As the Commission points out, structural inequalities such as persistent gender pay gaps, women’s disproportionate share of unpaid care work, low levels of women in decision-making and the persistence of discriminatory attitudes, norms and legal frameworks impede progress.

I commend the Commission for identifying critical issues that were not sufficiently addressed by the MDGs and calling for measures to address these. Notably, Member States highlight the pandemic of violence against women and girls that affects women and girls worldwide. The Commission also points to the urgent need to fully ensure women’s access to opportunities and resources, including quality education, control and ownership of land and other productive assets, as well as women’s sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, and recommends taking steps, including temporary special measures, to achieve women’s full participation in public- and private-sector decision-making.

The safety, human rights and empowerment of women are pivotal in the post-2015 debate. UN Women is encouraged by the call of a large number of Member States for a stand-alone sustainable development goal that addresses these issues. This will require political will, backed up by commensurate resources. As the Commission rightly points out, funding in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment remains inadequate. Investments in women and girls will have to be significantly stepped up. As Member States underline, this will have a multiplier effect on sustained economic growth.

We know that equality for women means progress for all. Through the development of a comprehensive roadmap for the future, we have the opportunity to realize this premise and promise. The 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women has given important impetus to making equality between men and women a reality.  

The Agreed Conclusions (advance unedited version) are available here.