Gender equality key

National, Normal

The National , Wednesday, June 1, 2011

GENDER equality is a key condition for a country’s prosperity, US ambassador at large for global women’s issues, Melanne Verveer said.
Verveer told a regional policy dialogue on “Healthy women, a healthy economy”, in Port Moresby yesterday: “We know that when women bring their ta­lents, perspectives and expe­riences to bear in the political arena, they are far more likely to invest in the public good.”
She said there were many converging studies from the World Bank to world economic forum showing that investing in women “is a high yield investment”.
Verveer said data showed that development investments in wo­men and girls correlated positively with poverty alleviation, better health, and a country’s general prosperity.
“Educating a girl is the simple and most effective development investment that can be made with high yield dividends for her and her future family,” she added. 
Verveer said that in countries where men and women were clo­ser to being equal in econo­mic participation, political empowerment, access to education and health survivability, those countries, enjoyed greater prosperity and economic growth.
“No country can get ahead if half its people are left behind,” she added.
Verveer said that when women progressed, “everyone makes progress and all societies benefit”.
“We know that as women’s par­ticipation in parliament goes up, corruption goes down.”
 Verveer said yet women were still significantly outnumbered in parliaments, provincial councils, local governments and ministries around the world.
It was highlighted that the South Pacific region had ex­tremely low levels of representation of women in government decision-making.
“Together we must make greater progress in advancing women in politics,” Verveer told the women who came from different Pacific Island nations and territories.