People, mainly women, take part in a rally during the International Women's Day in central Brussels, Belgium, March 8, 2019. (REUTERS Photo)
UNITED NATIONS, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Investing in women and respecting their human rights is the surest way to lift communities, companies and countries, and to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, said the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday.
In his remarks for the observance of International Women's Day, the UN chief called for "a new vision of equality and opportunity so that half the world's population can contribute to all the world's success."
Guterres said that gender equality and women's rights are fundamental to addressing many global challenges like climate change and armed conflict.
"Remarkable progress" on women's rights and leadership has been made in recent decades, but these gains are far from consistent, and they have sparked a backlash from an entrenched patriarchy, said the secretary-general.
"Gender equality is fundamentally a question of power. We live still in a male-dominated world. Our male-dominated culture has ignored, silenced and oppressed women for centuries - even millennia," said Guterres.
Women's political representation in parliaments around the world stands at less than 25 percent. At the highest levels that drops to 9 percent. The Global Media Monitoring Project found that worldwide, just one quarter of the subjects of news stories are women, and most often as victims rather than leaders, he added.
Despite women's achievements and successes, their voices are still routinely overlooked, and their opinions ignored. So increasing the number of women decision-makers is essential, said Guterres.
"We must not give ground that has been won over decades. We must push for wholesale, rapid and radical change," he said.