A young girl attends one of the thousands of community based schools, supported by UNICEF to make formal education accessible to children. 
Photo: UN Photo/Roger Lemoyne.A young girl attends one of the thousands of community based schools, supported by UNICEF to make formal education accessible to children. Photo: UN Photo/Roger Lemoyne

Advance women, advance all

10/12/2009 // When the UN General Assembly today discussed the main challenges to the advancement of women, Norway pointed to the root causes of the problem: Conservative and archaic attitudes, often with cultural and religious connotations, leave women and girls at the margins of society in many parts of the world.

Ambassador for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment, Mr. Fredrik Arthur, stressed that deeply rooted impediments to gender equality deprive women and girls of their human rights - to health, to education, to formal ownership of land, inheritance and other economic assets.  The price is paid by all of us, not only from a moral and ethical perspective, but also in real econonomic and development terms.
 
Referring to the Human Development Report, recently issued by the United Nations Development Program, Norway's envoy reminded the General Assembly that gender equality and women's empowerment lead to human development - they are not merely products of develpment. He appealed to all political leaders to put fairness, social justice and gender equality first. They should regard this as a means to promote growth and prosperity.
 
The statement made clear that the Norwegian government in 2010 will continue its policy of allocating 1 percent of GNI to official development assistance. Norway sets aside a third of its bilateral aid for the advancement of women. 
 
Finally, Norway welcomed the recent decision by the General Assembly to establish a new and stronger UN entity for gender equality to be headed by an Undersecretary-General. It should be equipped with the appropriate mandate and resources to match. Ambassador Arthur reiterated Norway's expectation to see this entity up and running by next summer.
 

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