World leaders call for women-centered COVID-19 pandemic recovery – SABC News



World leaders are calling for ambitious solutions that will lead to a women-centered recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as a cornerstone of an inclusive and resilient response.

This was one of the messages delivered by key stakeholders at a virtual summit of women political leaders that seeks to elevate women political leaders as determinants of the “new normal”. The summit takes place a week before the Gender Equality Forum in Paris, France. The forum seeks to re-energize progress on women’s equality that has been uneven at best – and slow more generally – since the World Conference on Women adopted the Beijing Platform for Action in China. 26 years ago.

The message is clear and the evidence glaring: the COVID-19 pandemic threatens the hard-won gains since Beijing in an environment where the long-standing exclusion and discrimination of women has further compromised response and recovery.

“In about a week, I look forward to the Generation Equality Forum in Paris where this conversation will build on Mexico and crescendo to reinvigorate engagement and transformative action to leave no one behind by targeting six areas. Critics of Transformation – Ending Gender-Based Violence, Security Economic Justice, Body Empowerment, Climate Justice, Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality and the Advancement of Women’s Movements and Women’s Leadership ”Said Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary General.

Gender gaps worsened by COVID-19 pandemic

UN Women warns that the economic and health impacts of COVID-19 have exacerbated existing gender gaps, jeopardizing modest gains made over the past quarter century – women’s leadership becoming an urgent concern, as has explained Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

“We now need to make sure that our parliaments are not on average 25% global. We need to make sure our local governments don’t have a limited number of women, we want to make sure our cabinets don’t have an under-representation of women, we need you to take action, we need you to take this measure now, ”says Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Making women’s leadership a preference is seen as an urgent imperative as the data indicates its benefits for the whole of society.

“In government, this leads to greater investments in social protection, the environment and climate justice; in peace negotiations it is linked to more durable solutions and in the private sector to better business performance. Yet despite all the evidence, women in leadership positions still face resistance, suspicion and even hostility based on stereotypes about their abilities and place in society, ”says Michelle Bachelet, Haut -Commissioner for Human Rights.

Women in parliaments

Women currently hold only 26% of the more than 35,000 parliamentary seats in 156 countries surveyed or barely 29% of leadership positions worldwide. Amid a backlash over women’s rights and shrinking civil space in many countries, the call for political and financial support for feminist leadership is growing – including through quotas, a approach adopted by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

“Some of you may know that for the first time in history, the European Commission, of which I have the honor to be president, has as many women as men. This was long overdue, now we want to repeat this success at the middle and top management levels. Women already hold more than 40% of the top positions in the European Commission. I set a target of 50% by the end of 2024 because our democracies are stronger when women are involved on an equal basis – not because women are better, but because we are different Says Von der Leyen.

Also addressing the summit, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, shared a statistic that while 70% of the world’s health workforce was made up of women, only 25 % of managerial positions in the same sector are held by women. Call for transformative gender policies within health and other sectors to address these glaring inequalities.


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