[JURIST] The High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] on Tuesday stated [press release] that no country has achieved full equality between men and women and urged the 47 members of the Human Rights Council to make efforts to achieve such equality. During an opening statement to a panel discussion on gender equality, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] blamed such things as under-representation of women in the member states and only having women experts on panel discussions regarding issues with women and children as possible causes of this inequality. Hussein noted:
The equal representation of women and men in all levels of decision-making, employment and education, gender parity goes far deeper than the simply symbolic and visible advancement of specific individuals. It is a crucial indicator of progress towards gender equality. And more importantly, it is a fundamental matter of rights: women and men must be able to participate equally in all spheres of life. They must be equally empowered to voice their opinions and argue for their needs.
Zeid also pledged that he will not take part in any panel discussions that do not include women experts.
Women worldwide continue to face inequality, frequently due to a lack of governmental support. In June Zeid’s office renewed calls [JURIST report] for women’s and girls’ to be given equal access to education. A discussion panel said equal educational rights is way to end discrimination against women that is “so deeply etched in many societies.” In April the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights urged the government of Afghanistan [JURIST report] to provide women protection against domestic violence within the state. Also in April Amnesty International reported that Nigerian extremist group Boko Haram has abducted at least 2,000 women and girls [JURIST report] since the start of 2014, subjecting some to forced-marriage.The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women also urged [JURIST report] Tanzania to enforce its international obligations to prevent discrimination against women, after two women brought suit arguing that customary laws enforced in their communities contravened Tanzania’s constitution and its obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.