Lakshmi Puri leads discussion on gender equality post-MDGs at Women Leaders of New Asia Summit


From 12-14 April, Lakshmi Puri, UN Women Acting Head and Assistant Secretary-General will speak at the Women Leaders of New Asia Summit in New Delhi, organized by the Asia Society, an educational organization dedicated to strengthening partnerships and understanding between the people and institutions of Asia and the United States. The Summit will bring together experts from different fields and countries across Asia-Pacific and beyond to discuss the role of women and gender, including in a future global development agenda, once the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) conclude in 2015.

While the Asia-Pacific region has made great strides in narrowing gender gaps over the last decades, significant disparities remain within individual countries and across the region. The conference will address issues such as violence, systemic discrimination, and the barriers that stymie their potential and progress. It will also explore issues of political will and engagement and ways to ensure that policy is put into action.

On 13 April, Ms. Puri will lead the discussion on “Promoting Gender Equality and Empowering Women: the post-MDG Agenda.” While promoting gender equality and empowering women is one of the eight MDGs, it remains unfulfilled and women continue to face discrimination with regard to access to education, economic opportunities, and political participation. In addition, among all MDGs, the goals that are most off-track and least likely to be achieved are the ones that most depend on achieving gender equality, such as MDG 5 to improve maternal health.

In her remarks, Ms. Puri will highlight how gender equality and women’s empowerment must be central to sustainable development. She will argue for a stand-alone goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the next generation of the global framework on development for which discussions are currently underway, and she will explain how such a goal should address structural inequalities and discrimination in a more comprehensive way that in the current MDGs.

Such a stand-alone goal should establish minimum standards and push change forward in three critical areas: expand women’s choices and capabilities so that they have full choice and options about how to live their lives; ensure women’s safety and end violence against women; ensure that women take full part in household, public and private decision making. She will also advocate the need for comprehensive integration of gender equality across all other new goals, targets and indicators.