The United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, says eliminating gender discrimination is vital to improving the lives of children and reducing poverty and hunger around the world.
In its annual State of the World report released today, UNICEF says gender equality and the well-being of children are intertwined. It says there is clear evidence that children prosper most when women are empowered to live full and productive lives.
The report says despite the international community's stated commitment to further gender equality, the lives of millions of women and girls continue to be plagued by discrimination and poverty.
In a statement, UNICEF's executive director, Ann Veneman, said declarations and goals are not enough to combat the problem and called on world leaders to move from words to concrete action.
She said UNICEF will have accomplished its mission (of a world where the rights of every child are realized) when women and girls have the same opportunities as men.