UN chief says 'women's inequality should shame us all'

UN chief says 'women's inequality should shame us all'
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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres argued passionately for women's equal rights across the globe in a speech to The New School in New York this week, calling for the end of “default male thinking.”

"This discrimination harms us all," he said. "Just as slavery and colonialism were a stain on previous centuries, women’s inequality should shame us all in the 21st. Because it is not only unacceptable; it is stupid.

"Only through the equal participation of women can we benefit from the intelligence, experience and insights of all of humanity," he continued. "Women’s equal participation is vital to stability, helps prevent conflict, and promotes sustainable, inclusive development."


Guterres did not mention President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump lawyers to Supreme Court: Jan. 6 committee 'will not be harmed by delay' Two House Democrats announce they won't seek reelection DiCaprio on climate change: 'Vote for people that are sane' MORE by name in his speech, but warned of countries rolling back rights for women and failing to enshrine them in law. It comes as the Trump administration has clashed with the United Nations, asking last year that mentions of reproductive health be left out of official U.N. documents

“We do not support references to ambiguous terms and expressions, such as sexual and reproductive health and rights in U.N. documents, because they can undermine the critical role of the family and promote practices, like abortion, in circumstances that do not enjoy international consensus and which can be misinterpreted by U.N. agencies,” the Trump administration said at the time.

In his speech on Thursday, Guterres also nodded to the women in Hollywood who have come forward as part of the #MeToo movement, praising "those who have courageously spoken up and fought back," despite Hollywood "men who wield physical, emotional and professional power over them."

Harvey Weinstein — once one of the country's most powerful Hollywood producers — was found guilty on two of five counts in his New York sexual assault trial earlier this week, but was acquitted on the most serious charges against him.

"From the ridiculing of women as hysterical or hormonal, to the routine judgement of women based on their looks; from the myths and taboos that surround women’s natural body functions, to mansplaining and victim-blaming – misogyny has been everywhere," he went on.
"We must urgently transform and redistribute power, if we are to safeguard our future and our planet," he said. "That is why all men should support women’s rights and gender equality."