United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has announced that “gender equality is growing more distant” and that “on the current track, UN Women puts it 300 years away.” I’ll keep the day open!
“Women’s rights are being abused, threatened, and violated around the world,” Guterres told the assembly. He went on to list a slew of the most depressing and urgent global issues women and young girls face like kidnapping, police preying on vulnerable populations, being forced into marriage, and maternal mortality rates.
“One woman dies every two minutes during pregnancy or childbirth,” Guterres said. Last week, the World Health Organization reported that maternal mortality has increased by nearly four percent between 2016 and 2020 and that pregnancy kills about 800 women per day.
What’s made things so absolutely dire? Well, covid-19 certainly hasn’t helped anything. Both WHO and the UN cited the pandemic as having hazardous effects on pregnant women and women and girls in general. The unequal burden of childcare and school-age girls having their education interrupted has increased significantly during the global pandemic.
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And if you can believe it, the UN has located the villain at the center of gender equality’s demise: the patriarchy. “Centuries of patriarchy, discrimination, and harmful stereotypes have created a huge gender gap in science and technology,” Guterres said. “Let’s be clear: global frameworks are not working for the world’s women and girls. They need to change.”
Sorry, I don’t mean to be so glib about global human rights crises. It’s just all so incredibly bleak and apparently, I was denied some sort of nurture at a pivotal point in my development, which made sarcasm my strongest coping mechanism. But, as we’ve learned from this dismal UN report, that is one of the more favorable interruptions to a young girl’s development in this hellscape.
Maybe next year the outlook won’t be so depressing and they’ll bump up the timeline to a mere 250 years. A girl can dream!