NEW YORK - Men and women from around the world gathered Sunday at the United Nations to mark International Women’s Day with a march to Times Square, joining voices globally demanding gender equity.
About 1,000 people convened at the U.N. headquarters to speak up for the gender that traditionally is paid less for work and often has a smaller voice in policy decisions.
U.N. officials say much has been achieved under the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, signed by 189 governments in 1995 as a pledge for realizing women’s rights. But U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the marchers that in the 20 years since the Beijing Declaration “progress has been too slow, uneven.”
“When you hold back half of our population, (we cannot realize) 100 percent of our potential. We have to fully respect and use the potential of all of our women,” Ban said.
New York City’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, noted that International Women’s Day commemorates the day in 1908 when thousands of women marched through the city demanding shorter working hours, better pay and voting rights.
“Today, you are marching in the footsteps of generations of feminists,” she said. “This march started more than a century ago, but we still have a long way to go before we get to equality.”
McCray pointed to universal prekindergarten, paid sick leave and other causes that her husband, Mayor Bill de Blasio, has emphasized as a sign of progress for women in New York City. In November, New York joined the U.N.’s Safe Global Cities Initiative, which works to combat sexual harassment and sexual violence in public places.