STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Exclusion of women in decision-making marker of 'flawed democracy': Kamala Harris

Harris said the status of women is the status of democracy and the United States will work to improve both.

Published: 17th March 2021 12:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th March 2021 12:17 PM   |  A+A-

Vice President Kamala Harris. (Photo | AP)

Vice President Kamala Harris. (Photo | AP)

By PTI

UNITED NATIONS: The status of democracy depends fundamentally on the empowerment of women, whose exclusion from decision-making is a marker of a "flawed democracy", Kamala Harris has said in her first address to the United Nations as the Vice President of the US.

Harris, the first woman, the first Black American, and the first South Asian American to be elected Vice President, voiced her concern over the decline of democracy and freedom across the globe in her address to the 65th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

"Today, we know that democracy is increasingly under great strain. For 15 consecutive years, we have seen a troubling decline in freedom around the globe. In fact, experts believe that this past year was the worst on record for the global deterioration of democracy and freedom,” she said on Tuesday.

Harris said the US was strengthening its engagement with the world organisation and the broader multilateral system, as well as rejoining the UN Human Rights Council.

She emphasised that even as the world confronts a global health crisis and an economic crisis, it was critical that “we continue to defend democracy”.

"The status of democracy also depends fundamentally on the empowerment of women. Not only because the exclusion of women in decision-making is a marker of a flawed democracy, but because the participation of women strengthens democracy. And that's true everywhere,” Harris, 56, said.

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Representatives of member states, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from all regions of the world are virtually attending the session that will run from March 15 to 26.

The theme for this year's session is ‘Women's full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.'

Harris told the high-level session that the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the economic security, the physical security, and the health of women everywhere.

'As women struggle to get the healthcare they need, the pandemic appears to be reversing the global gains we've made in the fights against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, malnutrition, and maternal and child mortality,” she said.

That's why, Harris said on the first day of the administration of President Joe Biden, the US re-engaged as a member state and leader in the World Health Organisation.

Further, the US was revitalising its partnership with UN Women, to help empower women worldwide.

But she cautioned that when women face obstacles to obtaining quality healthcare, face food insecurity, are more likely to live in poverty, and therefore disproportionately impacted by climate change, are more vulnerable to gender-based violence, and therefore disproportionately impacted by conflict.

It is therefore harder for women to fully participate in decision-making, which, in turn, makes it that much harder for democracies to thrive, she said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in his remarks to the opening of the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women on Monday, said the pandemic was having a devastating impact on women and girls.

"COVID-19 is a crisis with a woman's face. The fallout has shown how deeply gender inequality remains embedded in the world's political, social and economic systems.

Those disparities have themselves exacerbated the damage — and we have all paid the price,” he said.

Quoting former US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who had shaped the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, Harris said: "Without equality, there can be no democracy."

Harris said the status of women is the status of democracy and the United States will work to improve both.

She stressed that this year, in considering the status of women, especially as it pertains to the participation of women in decision-making, nations must also consider the status of democracy.

Underscoring that democracy protects human rights, promotes human dignity, and upholds the rule of law, Harris said it is a means to establish peace and shared prosperity.

“It should ensure every citizen—regardless of gender—has an equal voice.

At the same time, democracy requires constant vigilance, constant improvement. It is a work-in-progress,” she said.

Highlighting progress in women's empowerment in the US, Harris said in every presidential election for the last 56 years, more women have voted than men, more women than ever before serve in the US Congress and more women than ever before are their family's breadwinner.

"Women in the United States lead our local, state, and national governments, make major decisions regarding our nation's security, and drive major growth in our economy.

These are signs of progress. These are signs of strength,” she said.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp