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Need to engage men in fight against women discrimination

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Need to engage men in fight against women discrimination
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New York: There is a need of engaging men in India for fighting abuse and discrimination against women, the head of the UN's women empowerment body has stressed and said India's support is critical to run "last mile" to break the back of gender inequality.

"Women have given it their all, we have to broaden the base in support of gender equality. We need to have men take the responsibility to build a men's movement, they must build themselves into a solidarity movement. We need men to take responsibility and ensure that we kill these harmful practices against women," UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mllambo-Ngcuka said.

Mllambo-Ngcuka is embarking on her first to India as head of the UN's body dedicated to gender equality and women empowerment beginning tomorrow.

During her trip till the 11th November, she will visit New Delhi and Mumbai and meet Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi and Speaker of the Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan.

Describing her trip as a "very strategic" one, Mllambo-Ngcuka told PTI in an interview here that if India is able to achieve success in gender equality and eliminating discrimination against women, it can serve as a lesson for other countries in the world.

She said that UN Women sees 2015-2030 as the "last mile" to break the back of gender inequality and "we cannot run the last mile without India".

Mllambo-Ngcuka, who will attend the 'Men Engage Symposium' in New Delhi, stressed that it is important to engage men and boys at an early age in the fight against discrimination, saying that all cannot depend on women and the government.

New partners like men and boys, members of Parliament, religious authorities and media have to be identified and taken on board to address gender inequality.

Mllambo-Ngcuka said that it is important that signal is there from the Prime Minister that women and girls are one of the top priorities of the country and the government is investing to ensure that those in leadership positions have a "good grasp" of what is acceptable and unacceptable.

"We want the Modi government to do this. Utterances from the government are encouraging to us and we are going there to say that please stay the course. It is very important.

"Can you imagine if we get it (gender equality and women's empowerment) right in India, what it would mean for the world," she said adding that UN Women is with India "for the long haul.

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