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UN General Assembly president calls for more support for women's rights, empowerment

UN-UNGA PRESIDENT-GENDER EQUALITY-WOMEN'S LEADERSHIP-PRESS BRIEFING

Former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (from L to R) attend a press briefing on gender equality and women's leadership for a sustainable world, at the UN headquarters in New York, July 15, 2019. UN General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces on Monday called on the international community to support women's rights and empowerment. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

UNITED NATIONS, July 15 (Xinhua) -- UN General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces on Monday called on the international community to support women's rights and empowerment.

In her remarks to a General Assembly meeting on gender equality and women's leadership for a sustainable world, Espinosa warned that women lag behind on virtually every Sustainable Development Goal.

For example, just 42 percent of countries give women the same rights to land ownership and just 60 percent give women equal access to financial services, she said, adding that the gap is even greater for women in rural areas, women with disabilities, indigenous women and older women.

No country has achieved full gender equality and women continue to face discrimination in every region of the world -- from suffocating stereotypes to discriminatory laws, harmful practices and violence, Espinosa noted.

She highlighted the positive impact that women's participation and leadership have on economic stability, good governance and investment in areas such as health, education and social protection.

"For every additional year of education for women of reproductive age, child mortality decreases by almost 10 percent," she said.

It is no secret that some of the Sustainable Development Goal targets relating to women's rights were the subject of tough negotiations, she said, stressing "we cannot take for granted the gains we have made."

"The pushback is real. And women on the ground are working hard -- under duress and at great personal risk -- to push back against it. They need our support," Espinosa said.

[ Editor: Shi Ruoqi ]