Women leaders call to ‘step it up’ for gender equality

Santiago — “It’s time to step it up for gender equality. We have waited long enough!” With this call to action, global women leaders gathered at the high-level event on “Women in power and decision-making: Building a different world,” held in Santiago, Chile, on 27–28 February 2015. They urged governments and the private sector to take stronger measures to close the gap of inequalities in order to achieve the goals established 20 years ago during the Fourth World Conference on Women that resulted in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka

After two days of intense analysis on the progress made since the adoption of the Platform for Action by 189 countries in 1995, the global women leaders determined that progress has been slow and uneven. No country has yet achieved gender equality across all areas of public and private life, and significant inequalities persist between women and men.

“At the current pace of change, it will take 81 years to achieve gender parity in the workplace, more than 75 years to reach equal remuneration between men and women for work of equal value, and more than 30 years to reach gender balance in decision-making,” read the introduction of the Call to Action document generated by the conference.

The Call to Action declares 2015 a momentous year for gender equality and women’s empowerment, although commitments to achieve gender balance in leadership positions have not been met.

“Women and men are called to advance much more than what we have achieved so far,” said Ms. Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile, during her closing address. “Women and men are called to speed up the changes to achieve full equality, not in seven or eight decades, but sooner. We have a commitment with the new generation and to ensure that girls that are being born will not endure a lifetime of discrimination.