By KABS KANU :
United Nations member states , civil society and business leaders attending the 60th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women ( CSW ) in New York have agreed that Gender equality is critical to economic development. They have also recognized gender equality as a fundamental human right, central to driving the global economy and achieving the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This was the outcome of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Annual Event yesterday, which focused on the multiplier effect of empowering women and girls in advancing all development issues and the enormous opportunity for business to lead on promoting gender equality.
The keynote address was given by His Excellency Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, President of Costa Rica. In his statement, he noted that : “The time is right. International consensus has been reached, at Beijing+20 and in Agenda 2030, about the importance of women’s empowerment in the global sustainability agenda.” He emphasized that “a society that puts gender equality at its forefront not only grows economically but becomes more human.”
The Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, who also delivered a statement at the event , observed that : “We cannot achieve our Sustainable Development Goals without securing the full and equal rights of half of the world’s population, in law and in practice.” He noted that: “when companies invest in women, they see a range of benefits and a return on investment. It is clear that gender equality is a business issue.”
The Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said that : “The engagement and commitment of the private sector to gender equality are essential to reaching the Agenda 2030 goals and aspirations. Gender equality and sustainability must be integral to every business plan and strategy.”
SIERRA LEONE is being represented at the session by a high-powered delegation, led by the Minister of State 2 of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ms. Isata Kabia . The delegation consists of minister of the government , civil society, the media and women’s and children’s groups .
The Minister Counselor/Head of Chancery of the Sierra Leone Embassy to the U.S, Mrs. Isha Sillah, is also attending the session.