The Feminist Majority Foundation directed me to a powerful speech UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro presented to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on March 11th. In it she announces that UN efforts to halve the number of those living in extreme poverty around the world by the year 2015 are dependent on a renewed focus on increasing, worldwide, women’s roles in economic, social and political leadership.
Migiro emphasizes that one of the biggest obstacles in the way of women’s ability to take on positions of leadership is violence:
Violence against women is one of the most widespread and systematic violations of human rights, eroding womenâ€™s health, productivity and independence to the detriment of countriesâ€™ efforts to overcome poverty and foster inclusive development.
The speech itself is certainly not uplifting.Â But it is inspiring when women’s empowerment is emphasized as a necessary and significant component in the effort to improve the standard of living for everyone.