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The United Nations (UN) said the world will lose from gender discrimination but acknowledged that countries with greater equality are more competitive and grow faster.

It said about a billion women fall short of their potential economic contribution due to barriers in decision-making, labour markets, financial services, education and training, among other areas.

The UN Women 2011-2012 report , made available to the GNA in Accra, said since women?s role would be fundamental, UN would continue to champion women?s empowerment and gender equality as central to all solutions and successes.

It said women could and do drive forward growth and social inclusion and with their leadership and full participation, sustainability and justice were within reach.

The report said around the world, the rates of violence against women and girls continue to be staggeringly high and this pervasive human rights violation affects all countries and communities.

It said recognizing that with a concerted action change is possible, UN Women is a leader of global efforts to end all forms of violence.

The report said through 2012 and beyond, UN Women?s top priorities would be a push for rapid progress in women?s political participation and economic empowerment, bolstered by its thematic focus on ending violence against women, broadening women?s role in peace and security, and making gender equality central to public plans and budgets.

?Overall, we aim to protect and advance hard-won gains for gender equality and the empowerment of women,? it said.

The report said in 2012, the World Bank found that eliminating all forms of discrimination against women in employment could increase productivity per worker by up to 40 percent.

It said: ?The Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that giving women farmers the same access as men to fertilizers, seeds, tools and other types of support would raise agricultural outputs enough to feed 100-150 million hungry people.

?According to World Bank calculations, Europe can expect a shortfall of 24 million workers by 2040 if women?s employment participation remains what it is now; if the rate rises to that of men, the shortfall will be only 3 million.?

In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

Source: GNA

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