International Women's Day: Girls' education is key to gender equality, UN's Fleming tells EuronewsComments
Today is International Women's Day - an annual initiative promoted by the United Nations to raise awareness of gender-related issues.
Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications at the UN, has been setting out what needs to change to ensure a gender-equal future.
She was speaking to Euronews at the Dubai Expo in the United Arab Emirates, where women's rights have been under increased scrutiny since the controversy around Sheikha Latifa, the Dubai ruler's daughter who claims to have been forcibly confined since being allegedly abducted and returned to the country four years ago.
A report by the World Economic Forum said the picture was improving in the UAE but ranked the country 135 out of 156 for women's economic participation and opportunity.
"What's so key is girls' education," Fleming told Euronews. "If you have all girls in school and not just in primary school, but in secondary school and the chance to go to university, that's the foundation and the building blocks.
"I'm saying this because we have way too many girls out of school. What happens when they are out of school, they are much more subjected to violence, much more likely to be married off and they are much less able to articulate their rights.
"Of course, policies and laws make a huge difference. We see that countries that have quotas, that have laws that promote equality in the workplace, that have laws against violence and where there is justice, we see women rising to the top."