The Executive Director of UNWomen has issued a call to action on all United Nations member states, particularly on the question of violence perpetrated by men against women, often resulting in death.

Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was speaking at an informal plenary of the General Assembly in New York under the banner “Joining forces to Achieve Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment” as momentum builds towards the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration next year.

“This call for action is very timely because it will enable us next year to bring together many of you who are in this room with whom we’ll be celebrating the 25 years of implanting the Beijing declaration.”

Mlambo-Ngcuka says, “When we meet next year the most important outcome will be the re-creating and the revitalization of the new cohort of gender activists that will take us forward in the next five years, the next 10 years, probably after 15 years we should have sorted this thing out people. So we need however to invest significantly in the team of activists across the world that will do the work.”

Mlambo-Ngcuka has lamented the fact that women were largely carrying the burden of redress by themselves and urged greater action and participation of men.

“We also are defining activists for gender equality not just as women, we’re calling on men, we’re calling on the private sector, we’re calling on young people because this problem of gender inequality is not a women’s problem, it is women sorting out the mess of men. And it is not fair that it is the women that must carry the burden, we want to stop talking about ending violence against women but talk more about addressing the men who kill women because we need to keep the face of the perpetrator in the centre of the argument so that people can see where the problem is and together as men and women we can address the problem,” adds Mlambo-Ngcuka.