Construct a different world for women: UN

We want to construct a different world of work for women, says UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, in her message for International Women’s Day 2017.

“As they grow up, girls must be exposed to a broad range of careers, and encouraged to make choices that lead beyond the traditional service and care options to jobs in industry, art, public service, modern agriculture and science.

“We have to start change at home and in the earliest days of school, so that there are no places in a child’s environment where they learn that girls must be less, have less, and dream smaller than boys.

“This will take adjustments in parenting, curricula, educational settings, and channels for everyday stereotypes like TV, advertising and entertainment; it will take determined steps to protect young girls from harmful cultural practices like early marriage, and from all forms of violence.”

Mlambo-Ngcuka further says women and girls must be ready to be part of the digital revolution.

“Currently only 18 percent of undergraduate computer science degrees are held by women. We must see a significant shift in girls all over the world taking STEM subjects, if women are to compete successfully for high-paying ‘new collar’ jobs. 

“Currently just 25 percent of the digital industries’ workforce are women.

“Achieving equality in the workplace will require an expansion of decent work and employment opportunities, involving governments’ targeted efforts to promote women’s participation in economic life, the support of important collectives like trade unions, and the voices of women themselves in framing solutions to overcome current barriers to women’s participation, as examined by the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment.

“The stakes are high: Advancing women’s equality could boost global GDP by USD 12 trillion by 2025.”

Mlambo-Ngcuka calls for change in every part of society, from home to the workplace, if we are to benefit from the equal world envisioned in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.


Press release