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UN chief laments lack of women in politics

Xinhua, February 28, 2015 Adjust font size:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lamented here on Friday the "slow and unequal" rise of women in global politics at a high-level conference.

"There are many more women in the global political arena, but progress is very slow and unequal," Ban said at the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

The conference, due to be concluded on Saturday, aims to find ways to speed up progress on the goals defined 10 years ago at the 1995 World Conference on Women.

On average, women represent only one-fifth of lawmakers, and out of more than 190 countries, only 20 have women heads of state, he said.

Governments must do what they can to help women break through the glass ceiling that blocks their access to decision-making posts, whether within the UN organizations, governments or the private sectors, he said.

"When women lead, we all benefit. We see it here. Under President Michelle Bachelet, Chile has promoted initiatives for the participation of women in politics," Ban said.

Latin America has made headway, Ban noted, with one out of four lawmakers in the region in 2014 being a woman, double the number in 1995, and six of the region's heads of state being women.

To make further progress, however, countries "need to invest more in gender equality," said the UN chief, saying the only way to eradicate violence against women is to have more women in positions of power.

"We have to change the mentality of men," Ban told the gathering, attended by some 60 women leaders from around the world.