Despite great strides in the advancement of gender parity, women still lag behind men across an array of critical areas, from political representation and wage inequality to education " a gender gap that the United Nations is once again tackling head-on as it kicks off its annual observance of International Women`s Day.
According to UN Women, in fact, approximately 50 per cent of women worldwide are in paid employment " an increase from 40 per cent more than 20 years ago. In the international sphere, meanwhile, the global community has widely acknowledged the need to increase women`s role in peacebuilding in post-conflict countries.
Nonetheless, the data paint a startling picture: today, only one in five parliamentarians is a woman while, at the present rate of progress, it will take an estimated 81 years for women to achieve parity in employment. At the same time, the pandemic of violence against women and girls affects one in three women worldwide.
As the UN prepares for its upcoming 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, the international blueprint " for gender equality and women`s empowerment, it will lead the charge on gender issues over the next week through a number of major events, including today`s High-level Thematic Debate on Advancing Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls for a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda.
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