UN Women calls for urgent action against discrimination, gender violence

By Ines Amarelo

Mexico City, Nov 30 (EFE).- Immediate action is needed to end discrimination and gender violence in Mexico and the world, UN Women’s representative in the Aztec nation told EFE.

“We are clear that it is possible to transform this situation of inequality and violence and the solution is today, in which we unite and collectively, as a society, from where we are, become activists for equality,” Spain’s Belen Sanz said in an interview in Mexico City.

On Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the United Nations agency launched its “UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls” initiative.

At the current rate, according to UN Women, it will take another 300 years to sweep away all of the laws that discriminate on the basis of gender.

The campaign “is centered on reminding everyone that it is not only activists who must act, rather that we can all become activists,” Sanz said, adding that there is scope for activism in the workplace, at school, in the media and in everyday social interactions.

Despite “enormous risks and difficulties,” she said, women’s rights activists have done much to raise consciousness about the scourge of gender violence.

Yet Sanz conceded that the situation remains bleak.

“Today, violence against women and girls continues being the most extensive, most generalized and, what is worse, the most tolerated human rights crisis in our world,” she said.

While at the global level, one in every three women has experienced violence at some point in her life, the comparable figure for Mexico is seven in 10.

The country also sees an average of 10 “femicides” a day.

Sanz stressed that the solution goes beyond the capabilities of individuals, no matter how courageous or motivated they may be.

“This problem is of such dimensions that it requires a collective response. We will not be able to solve it individually nor from a single sector: we need governments, which have the obligation to defend the rights of women,” she said.

“And we also need the private sector. It is the principal generator of employment in our countries and it has the possibility to generate violence-free spaces or spaces where discrimination and harassment is reproduced,” Sanz said. EFE


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