UNITED NATIONS, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Several officials of the United Nations on Thursday called for more participation from women in making decisions, a day ahead of the International Women's Day.
Urging everyone to redouble their efforts against the discrimination and violence women and girls face every day, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, the president of the UN General Assembly, said that more women leaders are needed to participate in public life and making decisions.
UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed said that women's equal participation in the labor force would unlock trillions of dollars for global development, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved without the full participation of women.
"Gender equality is essential to the effectiveness of our work, and we cannot afford to miss out on the contributions of half of the world's population," she added.
"Let's invest in girls' education and skills so they become the leaders and innovators they were born to be," said UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake.
In her message for the Day, the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, pointed out that "women and girls around the world still face many challenges," arguing that changes begin with making sure that their needs and experiences are integrated and enhanced by new technology and innovation.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also said that women still face major obstacles in accessing and exercising power, and increasing the number of women decision makers is fundamental.
"We need to redouble our efforts to protect and promote women's rights, dignity and leadership. We must not give ground that has been won over decades and we must push for wholesale, rapid and radical change," said the UN chief.
According to its official website, the UN began celebrating the International Women's Day in 1975, which was designated International Women's Year. Over the decades it has tranformed from recognizing the achievements of women to becoming a rallying point to build support for women's rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.
"Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change" is the theme for International Women's Day this year.