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THE GLOBAL CALL FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT MUST GO BEYOND RHETORIC, SAYS PRESIDENT SIRLEAF

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PRESS RELEASE

New York, 6th March 2015, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has acknowledged progress being made by the international community towards strengthening women empowerment and equality, but stressed that such efforts must be sustained at all levels of socio economic development. She pointed out that   since the Beijing

Conference  took place 20 years ago ,  more girls are now educated, in addition to several women  holding professional positions, while others have broken the  glass ceiling.

The President spoke Friday 6th March, at the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Thematic Debate on a theme: "Advancing Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls for a Transformative -2015 Development Agenda".  The Liberian leader recalled the Beijing Conference 20 years ago, which brought together world leaders and activists from all walks of life to envision a world where women and Girls have equal rights, freedom and opportunity in all. She said in furtherance of the efforts to promote gender equality and to improve status of women, in January this year,   the African Union promoted a stakeholders consultation on progress and challenges relating to women advancement and designated  2015,  as the year of "Women Empowerment and Development in promotion of Agenda 2063". Similarly, said the president, in February 2015, San Diego Women Leaders of the global community declared 2015 a year for "Gender Equality and Women Empowerment"

In Rio, according to the President, World leaders reaffirmed their commitment to ensure women's equal rights access to opportunity and participation in leadership in the economy, security and political decision-making.

“Despite these achievements, there remains a gap between the implementation and promises as evidenced by numerous challenges faced by women." Yet, as the San Diego Conference points out, the current pace of change has been much too slow, much too slow so that at the current pace; it will take 81 years to achieve gender equality in the work place where we have highest echelon remains largely male and it will take 75 years to reach remuneration between men and women for work of equal value and more than 30 to reach gender balance in discussion.  President Sirleaf argued that such situation is unacceptable, and urged that as the world is currently engaged in negotiating for a post 2015 development agenda, the call for women empowerment and equality must go beyond rhetoric, to  set the goals that  are realistic and achievable, coupled with monitoring and evaluation systems that motivate countries to action.  "This was the success of the MDG’s the spirit of progress and competition in the achievement of goals". The conclusion, President Sirleaf thanked the international community for the support especially during the Ebola crisis, declaring that the country has not experienced new cases for 13 days   as the last Ebola patient has been discharged.