Today, 8 March is International Women's Day. It is not the only day in which we should think about parity between the genders, but it is at least one day during which we should ponder how far we have come on this challenge, and how much farther we still need to go. I am particularly concerned about three aspects that are painfully still rampant:
- Unequal recognition/salary/compensation for work performed by women as compared to the same by men.
- Sexual abuse/slavery not exclusively inflicted upon women and children, but primarily so.
- Domestic violence also not exclusively perpetrated upon women and children, but primarily so.
You may think the Paris Agreement is far from these issues, but I share with you that I learned many lessons from our process of building toward COP21, and among them one fundamental lesson that is applicable here: there is no centralized solution. It takes an effort on the part of literally every one of us to face these global challenges. None of us can individually transform the three painful situations I have enumerated. But at minimum each one of us has the responsibility to ensure that none of them occur within the sphere of our personal influence. May I invite each one of you to personally identify whether there is any opportunity for you to help alleviate a situation which should not be occurring. Let us do so in the understanding that we are a link in a chain of many, many generations. That we have inherited practices, beliefs and behaviors most of which are laudable, some of which need urgent transformation. And that the best way to achieve gender parity is to actively work toward it with, and not against, the many wonderful men in our lives.