“UN Chief Claps Back at Patriarchy: We’re Standing Our Ground at CSW68!”

After decades of progress, women’s rights are being undermined and reversed,” said Secretary-General António Guterres.

Pointing to several ominous examples, he said women’s rights are severely restricted in Afghanistan, sexual violence is being reported during the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict and the patriarchy is pushing back against hard-won rights women have striven to achieve.

“The women of my generation did not win the fight for their rights only to see their daughters and granddaughters fight the same battle,” he said at the town hall meeting.

‘Equality requires investment’

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From inequalities in political power to the male-dominated artificial intelligence field, Mr. Guterres said governments and civil society must work together to ensure efforts include women at the table – in peacebuilding, bridging the digital divide and ensuring gender equality.

The patriarchy may be pushing back, but so are we,” he said, encouraging governments to “put their money where their mouth is” by funding equal rights and opportunities for women and girls.

“Equality requires investment,” the UN chief said, emphasizing the need to urge governments to take action to reduce poverty and inequalities.

In this regard, the Summit of the Future is a chance to advance progress, he said, adding that women and girls have been a constant priority in the planning process.

I will never stop fighting for a world that works for women and girls,” he said. “The question is of gender equality is a question of power. In my experience, power is never given; power has to be taken.”

Over 50 women dying each day in Gaza

Among a plethora of events held on the sidelines of CSW68, a gathering on Wednesday morning saw UN agencies and partners lead a discussion on the situation of women and children in war-torn Gaza, which faces growing hunger alongside the ongoing besiegement, bombardment and invasion by Israeli armed forces responding to Hamas attacks on Israel in October.

Heli Uusikyla of the UN agency for Palestine, UNRWA, provided a grim snapshot of the current situation on the ground, saying that women and girls remain extremely vulnerable amid continued bombing and attacks.

Since the start of the conflict, more than 31,000 civilians have been killed, among them were 9,000 women and 13,000 children, she said, briefing participants on the humanitarian impact of the conflict. Every day, about 53 women are killed, she said, citing UN Women reports.

Unhygienic living conditions have seen the spread of disease, and overcrowding in shelters currently sees 888 people per toilet and 5,400 people for each available shower room.

“People go days without eating,” Ms. Uuikyla said, with 155,000 pregnant women facing malnutrition.

‘One step away from famine’

Providing a close look at the current situation, Laila Baker of the UN reproductive health agency, UNFPA, said that tens of thousands of pregnant or nursing women are unable to access the food they need and 180 give birth every day.

At the same time, malnutrition rates for children under two has risen from under one per cent in October to an unprecedented 15 per cent today, she reported.

“Hunger is a deadly threat at the moment; every day is a fight for survival,” she said. “More than half a million people are one step away from famine in a society where famine was unheard of.”

© UNICEF/Abed Zaqout

A family forced to evacuate their home in Gaza now live in a refugee camp in Rafah.

Ceasefire needed now

All efforts to address concerns of women and girls before October “have turned to dust”, she said, calling for the immediate, safe delivery of humanitarian aid, in line with the provisions of the order issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in January.

As UNFPA works tirelessly with partners, but some are under attack and medical staff lack the safe conditions, medicine and supplies to treat their patients.

“The only way to address that is to call for an immediate ceasefire,” she said, also calling for equal protection for all.

An estimated 7,000 delegates are participating in CSW68, which runs from 11 to 22 March. Read our explainer here and find out about the dozens of side events being held here.



  • End all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls
  • Eliminate such harmful practices as early and forced marriages and female genital mutilation
  • Adapt and strengthen legislation to promote gender equality and empower women and girls
  • Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership in political, economic and public life
  • Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care

Globally, almost half of all married women currently lack decision-making power over their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

United Nations

SDG Goal 5: Gender Equality.



  1. As a woman, I fully agree with Secretary-General António Guterres. It’s disheartening to see the regression in women’s rights globally. We must continue to push back against the patriarchal forces that seek to undermine our progress. Investing in equality is crucial for a better future for women and girls everywhere.

  2. As a woman, I strongly believe that gender equality is crucial for a fair and just society. It is disheartening to see that even today, women’s rights are being threatened and pushed back by patriarchal forces. We must continue to fight for equal opportunities and rights for women and girls, and governments must invest in policies that promote gender equality. I stand with Secretary-General António Guterres in his commitment to never stop fighting for a world that works for women and girls.

  3. As a woman, I wholeheartedly support the UN Chief’s stance against the patriarchal forces trying to roll back the hard-fought rights for women. It’s crucial for governments and society to invest in gender equality and empower women to have a seat at the table in all decision-making processes. We must continue pushing back against the patriarchy and ensure a better future for the generations to come.

  4. How can we ensure that governments are truly committing to funding equal rights and opportunities for women and girls? Do you think the Summit of the Future will make a significant impact in this regard?

    1. To ensure that governments are truly committed to funding equal rights and opportunities for women and girls, we need to hold them accountable through transparency and monitoring mechanisms. The Summit of the Future presents an opportunity for governments to make concrete pledges and commitments towards gender equality. While the impact may vary, it is an important platform to push for tangible change and progress.

  5. As a lifelong advocate for gender equality, I fully support UN Chief Guterres’ unwavering stance against patriarchy. It’s crucial to continue fighting for women’s rights and ensuring that future generations do not face the same struggles. Equality is not a privilege, it’s a fundamental human right that requires investment and action from all sectors of society.

  6. “It’s inspiring to see the UN Chief boldly standing up to patriarchy and advocating for gender equality. We must continue to push against the forces that seek to roll back women’s rights and ensure a better future for all generations to come.”

  7. As a woman, I wholeheartedly support UN Chief Guterres’ strong stance against patriarchy. It’s time we stand our ground and ensure that the hard-won rights of women are upheld and protected for generations to come. Equality truly does require investment, and it’s inspiring to see ongoing efforts to bridge the gender gap in various sectors. Let’s keep pushing back against patriarchy and advocating for meaningful change!

  8. As a long-time advocate for gender equality, I wholeheartedly support Mr. Guterres’ powerful message. It’s disheartening to see the regression of women’s rights in various parts of the world. We must continue to stand our ground and push harder for the rights and opportunities that women deserve, because equality truly does require investment.

  9. “Finally, a strong stance against the patriarchy! It’s about time we prioritize women’s rights and ensure equality through meaningful investment. Let’s keep pushing back and making progress for future generations!”

  10. As a woman in the tech industry, I completely agree with Mr. Guterres. It’s crucial to have women involved in decision-making processes in all fields to ensure true gender equality. The fight for women’s rights is far from over and we must continue to push back against patriarchy and invest in creating a more equal world for future generations.

  11. As a strong advocate for gender equality, I wholeheartedly support Secretary-General António Guterres’ powerful stance against the patriarchy. It’s crucial to continue the fight for women’s rights and ensure that future generations don’t regress in the progress we’ve made. Investing in equality is not just a choice, but a necessity for a fair and inclusive society.

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