'You know who you are': U.N. chief points finger at nations with no women lawmakers

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addresses a news conference follwing talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, March 8, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The handful of countries that have yet to see a woman in parliament or cabinet must act quickly to bring women into politics, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said at a summit focusing on women on Monday.

“I urge action by all those leaders of countries where not even a single woman is in the parliament or cabinet to end this injustice,” the U.N. Secretary-General said at U.N. headquarters in New York.

“I am not going to disclose the names of the countries today but I am urging them: (you) know who you are,” Ban said.

Qatar, Tonga, Vanuatu, Haiti and the Federated States of Micronesia have no women in parliament, said Julie Ballington, an adviser to UN Women.

In eight countries there are no women appointed to cabinet-level positions, Ban said. These include Brunei, Hungary, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Slovakia, Ballington said.

The U.N. chief was speaking at the opening of the two-week-long 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

This year’s meeting will prioritize tackling the issue of women’s empowerment, and its link to sustainable development, organizers said.

Some $28 trillion could be added to the global annual gross domestic product by 2025 should women play the same role as men in the labor market, according to research cited by the U.N.

The summit will pick up on momentum generated by the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals last year to achieve progress for the rights of women, organizers said.