Director-General Speaks Up for Gender Equality before Women’s Leadership Board in Boston
“Gender equality is one of the most important goals, and one of the most significant challenges, both political and humanistic of our times,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova addressing an audience of women corporate leaders, scholars and philanthropists in Boston on 3 November 2010.
Members of the Women’s Leadership Board broke into applause on several occasions as Ms Bokova outlined UNESCO’s efforts to promote women in science, to empower women and girls through literacy programs in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, and to promote women’s rights globally.
“Cultural sensitivity is vital. At the same time, respect for other cultures does and should not mean that customs or tradition can serve as an excuse to justify discrimination against any human being,” said the Director-General.
She also stressed the need for long-term engagement and sustainability. “We should not be complacent with our achievements,” she warned. “We have seen setbacks in times of crises and we must be honest enough” to analyse them and devise the right strategies to address inequalities.
The Women’s Leadership Board advances issues related to women at the Harvard Kennedy School and throughout the world.