On World Population Day, governments urged to invest in gender equality

On World Population Day, governments urged to invest in gender equality
In this Feb. 14, 2018 photo, St. Scholastica's College students dance in unison during the "One Billion Rising" global movement as part of their advocacy against all forms of discrimination and violence against women and children.
The STAR / Michael de Guzman, File

MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Tuesday called on governments to invest in gender equality, emphasizing its critical role in building a resilient global population.

The organization made this call during the observance of World Population Day. Established by the United Nations in 1987 when the global population reached five billion, the World Population Day serves as a global platform to raise awareness about population-related issues, focusing on the urgency and significance of these concerns annually on July 11th.

“We must advance gender equality to create a more just, resilient and sustainable world. The creativity, ingenuity, resources and power of women and girls are fundamental to addressing demographic and other challenges that threaten our future, including climate change and conflict. Women play a powerful role in advancing consensus and building peace at all levels,” the UNFPA said.

According to the UNFPA, gender inequality is the root of a global problem that excludes and marginalizes women and girls, despite comprising nearly half of the world's population.

“They make up 49.7 percent of the global population, yet women and girls are often ignored in discussions on demographics, with their rights violated in population policies,” the organization said.

Women and girls facing exclusion from education, employment, and leadership roles, restricted autonomy in health and reproductive decisions, and heightened vulnerability to violence and preventable maternal mortality continue to grapple with a pervasive injustice.

“This process starts by listening to the voices of women, girls and other marginalized people and introducing laws and policies that enable them to exert their rights and make meaningful choices,” the UNPF said.

This year, World Population Day's theme is "Unleashing the power of gender equality: Uplifting the voices of women and girls to unlock our world's infinite possibilities."

In line with this, the United Nations underscored the crucial role of gender equality in sustainable development. 

World Population Day serves as a global reminder to address population issues, promote gender equality, and create a thriving world while highlighting challenges and opportunities tied to global population growth, encompassing healthcare access, family planning, gender equality, poverty alleviation, sustainable development and the environment. 

Meanwhile, last month, the Philippines remained among the leading countries in East Asia and the Pacific in terms of gender equality in this year’s Global Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum (WEF). It garnered a parity score of 0.791.— Intern, Sheila May Balagan

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