Alternative ways of being #6: Kofi Annan

7 quotes by Kofi Annan about gender equality and why empowerment of women matters

Kofi_Annan_at_World_Economic_Forum_on_Africa_2007

  1. Strengthen girls’ access to secondary, as well as primary education. Education holds the key to unlocking most of the obstacles facing girls and women — from being forced into early marriage, to vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
  2. Guarantee sexual and reproductive health and rights.  How can we achieve real equality when half a million women die of pregnancy-related causes every year — causes that are entirely preventable?
  3. Invest in infrastructure to reduce women’s and girls’ time burdens.  What are the prospects for girls and women who are forced to spend half of every day gathering water, fuel and other necessities for their families?
  4. Guarantee women’s and girls’ property and inheritance rights. How can women climb out of poverty without access to land and housing?  And without that security, how can they protect themselves against the impact of HIV/AIDS?
  5. Eliminate gender inequality in employment.  And a good job is also a woman’s best protection against falling prey to trafficking.
  6. Increase women’s share of seats in national parliaments and local government.  Equality of opportunity in policy-making is not only a human right; it is a prerequisite for good governance.
  7. Redouble efforts to combat violence against girls and women.  That means leadership in showing, by example, that when it comes to violence against women and girls, there are no grounds for tolerance and no tolerable excuses.

“Whatever the very real benefits of investing in women, the most important fact remains:  women themselves have the right to live in dignity, in freedom from want and from fear.”

‘Above all, I would urge the entire international community to remember that promoting gender equality is not only women’s responsibility — it is the responsibility of all of us.

Sixty years have passed since the founders of the United Nations inscribed, on the first page of our Charter, the equal rights of men and women.

Since then, study after study has taught us that there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.

No other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, or to reduce infant and maternal mortality.

No other policy is as sure to improve nutrition and promote health — including the prevention of HIV/AIDS.

No other policy is as powerful in increasing the chances of education for the next generation.

And I would also venture that no policy is more important in preventing conflict, or in achieving reconciliation after a conflict has ended.

But whatever the very real benefits of investing in women, the most important fact remains:  women themselves have the right to live in dignity, in freedom from want and from fear.’

 

Taken from United Nations, Secretary General, Kofi Annan who Calls on International Community to Promote Gender Equality and Invest in Women’ – February 2005

 

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