Violence against women

Mamas on Bedrest: Who is Ban Ki-Moon?

March 9th, 2012

International Women’s Day was yesterday, March 8, 2012. International Women’s Day, helps to culminate The United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), 2 weeks of meetings during which world leaders come together to discuss the status of women and girls around the world. The meetings are wrapping up this week.

The head of the UN is Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. To mark the occasion of International Women’s Day, the Secretary General noted gender equality and the empowerment of women are gaining ground worldwide, but urged governments, civil society and the private sector to continue to commit to gender equality and the empowerment of women as a fundamental human right and a force for the benefit of all in his statement to the UN counsel and partners.

I have only recently began to study Mr. Ban and I am heartily impressed. This man is a staunch advocate for women’s rights and well being. One of his primary initiatives as Secretary General is empowering women. Here is what he has done during his tenure as Secretary General:

The Secretary-General pressed successfully for the creation of UN Women, a major new agency that consolidates the UN’s work in this area. His advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality has also included the “Unite to End Violence against Women” campaign, the “Stop Rape Now” initiative, the creation of a “Network of Men Leaders” and the establishment of a new Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Within the UN itself, the Secretary-General has increased the number of women in senior management positions by more than 40 per cent, reaching the highest level in the Organization’s history.

How fantastic is it that a man with such global power has such a heart for the health and well being of the world’s women? One could argue that Mr. Ban is inspired by his wife, Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek. Since 2007, Mrs. Ban has devoted her attention to women’s and children’s health, including autism, the elimination of violence against women, and the campaign to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.  So maybe his interest stems from her interest, her “whispering sweet nothings in his ear”?

That is not the impression that I get. In his own words, Mr. Ban says, “I grew up in war” (Mr. Ban was born in the Republic of Korea (South Korea)) and he knows first hand the destruction and hardship people often endure. He also knows the importance of global help in order to rebuild a nation and its people. But even more key, Mr. Ban recognizes that for a nation to be strong  a nation must tend to the care of all of its people and when one or more segments of the population are not thriving, the nation and subsequently the world, cannot thrive.

I am thrilled that I am learning about his plans for global women’s empowerment. I think that it behooves all of us to learn more about the United Nations’ initiatives on women’s empowerment and to see what we each can do to help move these initiatives forward-after all, they will impact us all in one way or another. There is something for everyone to do. For some of us, it will be making financial donations. For others, it may mean becoming involved with one of the many partnering organizations. I think most of us will work in our immediate neighborhoods, towns, cities, states and nations to effect change. There is nothing wrong with that. We are not all called to perform on the global stage as Mr. Ban does, but we are all called to serve.