Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, has said that worldwide, almost one-in-two women murdered were killed by a partner or ex-partner.
Ms Mohammed stated this in Brussels at the launch of a new partnership between the UN and EU, an essential tool to make violence against women and girls “a thing of the past”.
Addressing the European Development Days, she said that the joint ‘Spotlight Initiative’ was a key element for making Global Goal 5 on women’s empowerment, of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, a reality.
She said that in some countries, “spotlight will focus on the most extreme form of violence – femicide”.
“Often, in the wake of these murders, we find that women have indeed reported to the police, or sought medical care.
“But service providers did not have adequate information or the means to identify the risk,” the UN deputy scribe said.
Ms Mohammed, a former Nigeria’s minister of environment, said some of the violence took place due to the broader insecurity that women faced, particularly where they were advocating for women’s rights.
She painted a picture of women not fully included in decision-making, being subjected to a “global pandemic” of violence against women and girls.
“Attacks and discrimination are deeply embedded in social norms, attitudes and practices. Addressing these mindsets will require significant investments of time, resources and political will,” she asserted.
Now in the third year of working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the forum in 2018 is spotlighting on gender equality.
“Without equality and empowerment, we will simply perpetuate today’s paradigm: trying to address all the world’s challenges with only half the world’s assets,” she said.
The UN deputy chief cited the World Bank in detailing how women’s equal participation in the labour force had the potential to unlock 160 trillion dollars for sustainable development reinvestment.
“Yet a stark reality prevails: more women than men live in extreme poverty,” she said, adding that the worldwide pay gap stands at 23 per cent, and gender roles have been too slow to change.
Ms Mohammed pointed to the benefit of reaching SDG 5 – for the more than 190 countries around the world who signed up to the Goals in 2015 – which calls for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
“I often call it the ‘docking station’ for all the goals,” she said, flagging that Spotlight builds on civil society leadership and aims to address some of the imbalances women face.
The UN deputy chief also underscored the UN’s commitment to lead by example by empowering women within the organisation itself.
Ms Mohammed said the UN was working towards, for the first time in its history, full gender parity in the Senior Management Group and among those nominated to be its Resident Coordinators.
“We have a long way to go. But we have a plan and we have the will,” she stressed.