This Sunday, activists around the world will celebrate International Women's Day, recognizing the successes of women around the world. But the world is still a vastly unequal place, according to the United Nations, and there's much work to be done.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the executive director of UN Women, told the Associated Press that there is not a single country in the world that has achieved gender equality. A girl born today will have to wait 50 years before she's projected to have an equal chance at running a government. She'll have to wait 70 yearsbefore the pay gap evens out, and she'll have to wait 81 years before she might have the same chance as a man of being the CEO of a company.
Mlambo-Ngcuka added that the gender gap and violence against women are "global phenomena" caused by male domination in the world. "Women's bodies are viewed not as something to respect, but as something that men have the right to control and to abuse," she told the AP.
Next week, the UN will review a massive platform to achieve gender equality around the world that was developed in 1995. Things have gotten slightly better in the past two decades, but there are still far too few female lawmakers and heads of state. Mlambo-Ngcuka is urging world leaders, universities, and companies to take on their "He for She" campaign (advocated by Emma Watson, among others) and fight for the equality the world desperately needs.
The UN hopes that by enlisting men to step up, everyone can get an advantage for the future—and make equality a truly global effort. "Let us work together to secure a sustainable future where women and girls, boys and men are equally empowered," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at an International Women's Day event.
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