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Secretary-General, at Event Commemorating Beijing+20, Tells International Community to ‘Step It Up’ for Gender Equality, Female Empowerment

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the Public Commemoration of Beijing+20: “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality” event, held in New York today:

What a wonderful crowd!  Thank you for stepping up for gender equality.  I would like to thank New York’s first family.  Mayor [Bill] de Blasio, last September, we marched together for climate action.  And First Lady Chirlane McCray, last Sunday, we marched together with thousands of citizens for gender equality.  All of us are standing up for the human rights of the world’s women and girls.

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action is based on a pair of fundamental truths:  Women’s rights are human rights.  Women’s progress is the world’s progress.

Some of you here today were in Beijing back in 1995.  Ms. [Hillary] Clinton, Ms. [Gertrude] Mongella — she was Chairperson of the Conference — your efforts left an imprint on the world.

The Beijing Platform has guided us for a generation.  But the journey is far from through.  Discrimination is widespread.  Violence is an epidemic.

Women’s and girls’ voices too often go unheard, their talents go unused.  The least utilized resource in the world is women’s potential.  As a result, the whole world suffers, and we are all made less prosperous and less secure.

Our shared challenge remains:  we need to break more barriers and shatter more glass ceilings.  I have followed a simple philosophy as United Nations Secretary-General.  Too often, leaders have used women to advance their power.  I believe we must use power to advance women.

I am proud to have appointed more women to leadership positions at the United Nations than ever before.  I am proud to be the first man to be a HeForShe.  I constantly press other leaders to do their part.

The world will not realize 100 per cent of its goals when 50 per cent of humankind is missing from the table.  This is an injustice.  We have come a long way.  But we must step it up.  Our aim is gender equality in the next 50 years.  Fifty-fifty by 2030.  We can do it, and we must do it now.

I thank all of you for stepping up.

For information media. Not an official record.