Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women
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Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women
(1) a. Research has demonstrated that when Women are Economically Empowered, entire communities benefit. Yet until now, there has been a crucial knowledge gap regarding the most effective interventions to advance women’s economic opportunities. To address this gap, the UN Foundation and the ExxonMobil Foundation joined forces to develop A Roadmap for Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment. b. The Women's Empowerment Principles offer guidance to companies on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. They are the result of a collaboration between the the United Nations Global Compact and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and are adapted from the Calvert Women's Principles ®. The development of the Women's Empowerment Principles included an international multi-stakeholder consultation process, which began in March 2009 and culminated in a launch on International Women’s Day in March 2010. c. In accordance with its multi-year programme of work for 2010-2014, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) consider ‘The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges' as its priority theme during its fifty-sixth session in 2012. In order to contribute to a fuller understanding of the issue and to assist the Commission in its deliberations, UN Women in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) will convene an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on ‘Enabling rural women's economic empowerment: institutions, opportunities and participation' from 20-23 September 2011 in Accra, Ghana. (2) The World Survey on the Role of Women in Development is a UN Secretary-General report mandated by the Second Committee of the General Assembly and comes out every five years. The 2014 report focuses on gender equality and sustainable development, with chapters on the green economy and care work, food security, population dynamics, and investments for gender-responsive sustainable development. (3) UNDP Global Initiative on Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) was produced during GEPA Phase I. It reflects extensive research based on available national data, and provides analysis of the obstacles in the way of women’s equal participation and decision-making in public administration. Public administration is the bedrock of government and the central instrument through which national policies and programmes are implemented. In an ideal world, public administration is guided by principles of fairness, accountability, justice, equality and non-discrimination, and the civil service should serve as a model where women and men equally participate and lead, including in decision-making. Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality is a new UN Women initiative urging governments to make national commitments to ensure women and girls can reach their full potential by 2030. Gender was in the spotlight at the 24th Session of the African Union Heads of States’ Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 30-31 January, which focused on the “Year of Women's Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”. Participating Heads of States adopted the African Union’s Agenda 2063 (a new roadmap for Africa’s long-term development that includes the need to place gender equality and equity at the centre of the continent’s social and economic development), as well as the “Addis Ababa Declaration on accelerating the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action towards a transformational change for women and girls in Africa” (the outcome document of the Beijing+20 regional review in November 2014) and a Communiqué on gender equality (drafted during a pre-summit stakeholders consultation). “Women must be at the centre and front of all our lives,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his opening speech. “I applaud your proposal at this summit: Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063. Africa is home to Parliaments and Cabinets with the world’s highest percentage of women members.” However, he called for even quicker action, urging African States to make a deep and lasting difference to the lives of women and girls by 2020.
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Scooped by Dr Lendy Spires
August 4, 2021 1:18 PM

Empowering Libyan women to make a living and put food on the table | UN Women – Headquarters

Empowering Libyan women to make a living and put food on the table | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Empowering Libyan women to make a living and put food on the table

Date: Monday, August 2, 2021

This story was originally published on UN Women's regional website for the Arab States and North Africa

Libyan women in Ajdabiya participating in a tailoring course. Photo: Courtesy of Asarya
“I was in a bad situation when I heard about the Tamkeen project. I had been trying to think of ways to help my husband financially,” said Hana* who participated in a professional cooking course to start her own business. “I was hoping desperately to take part in the training. I wanted to prove that I can rely on myself to start our lives again.

Along with 194 women from Ajdabiya, Hana* participated in Tamkeen, a two-month vocational training aimed at meeting the immediate food needs of vulnerable women, support their skills development and create job opportunities for them so they can become self-sufficient. The programme is jointly implemented by UN Women, the World Food Programme (WFP), and local partner Asarya, with generous support from the Government of Japan.

Ajdabiya is the capital of the Al Wahat District in North-Eastern Libya, some 150 kilometers south of Benghazi. The city suffers from high unemployment and food insecurity rates due to economic instability and lack of skilled workers.

An assessment of the local labour market was conducted by WFP and its local partner Asarya. This included interviews with business owners, local authorities, consumers and with the trainees themselves. Based on their feedback, the capacity building programme was designed to include courses on photography, cooking, baking, hairdressing and tailoring. One hundred and fifty of the trainees attended additional trainings on the basics of running a business.  

“I’ve always dreamed of having my own clothing brand. It has been a passion since I was young. When the Tamkeen project post popped up on my Facebook page, I felt like my dream could finally come true,” said Sumaya* who took the tailoring classes.  “I’m grateful to be trained by experts who taught me exactly how to design and sew clothes. I also learned how to kick-start and manage my own business in the future.”

To enhance collaboration and solidarity between the trainees, the project introduced them to the concept of “Savings Group”. This micro-financing model is comprised of a group of individuals who make savings together so that they can take small loans from these joint savings to start a business.

“Through Tamkeen I met many women who have the same dream as me and have the same passion for designing clothes and starting their own business so we are planning now to start a business together,” said Sumaya.  

The trainees also engaged in constructive discussions and learnt about what it means to be self-employed and the importance of being financially independent.

“We are happy to partner with UN Women and be in a position to inspire and empower women," said Rawad Halabi, World Food Programme Libya Country Representative. "These skills will enable them to become economically independent, resilient, and will give them decision-making powers at home and beyond."  

“I’ve always thought I needed the right equipment and the most expensive camera to be a professional photographer until I got into the photography course in Ajdabiya,” said Heba* who had wanted to be a photographer since she was a child. “Now, I know that photography is not about equipment but it’s about passion, talent and practice. I can’t wait to put my new skills to work!”

Two young women participate in a photography training. Photo: Courtesy of Asarya.
“Economic empowerment of women is not only about supporting them to become financially independent,” said Begoña Lasagabaster, UN Women Representative in Libya and Tunisia. “Their economic empowerment translates into better living conditions for themselves, their families and community at large. It is also vital for their country’s economic development and prosperity.”

By the end of the training, participants from the cooking courses were already sharing photos and information about the products they had been selling. Many savings groups have been formed to support each other. The participants in the photography course have split into three groups and are working on joint photography projects.  

“I used to talk with my friends and family about how one day I would be a make-up artist in Ajdabya. They all thought that I was only dreaming until I heard about Tamkeen,” said Rama*.  I now know that nothing is impossible, and everything can come true with passion. I’m starting small but I’m definitely going to be one of the biggest makeup artists in Ajdabya.”

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the participants. 
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Scooped by Dr Lendy Spires
August 2, 2021 10:43 AM

Joint statement by UNFPA and UN Women: Impacts of the compounded political and health crisis on women and girls in Myanmar | News and events: Stories | UN Women – Headquarters

Joint statement by UNFPA and UN Women: Impacts of the compounded political and health crisis on women and girls in Myanmar | News and events: Stories | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Joint statement by UNFPA and UN Women: Impacts of the compounded political and health crisis on women and girls in Myanmar

Date: Sunday, August 1, 2021

Media inquiries:

Thein Zaw Win, Communications and Advocacy Analyst, UNFPA | thewin[at]unfpa.org, +95 925 418 6907
Lesly Lotha, Communications Officer, UN Women | lesly.loth[at]unwomen.org, + 95 979 613 9223
Yangon, Myanmar — Six months since the military takeover in Myanmar, the country faces a compounded political and public health crisis, on top of intensification of conflicts, putting the lives of even more women and girls at serious risk with the deteriorating socio-economic situation adding hundreds of thousands of people to those in need of humanitarian assistance in the country who were not previously targeted for humanitarian support.

Since February 1, women and girls have been at the frontlines as leaders of civil society organizations, civil servants, activists, journalists, artists and influencers, exercising their fundamental rights to express their hopes for the future of their country. Even before the coup, women, who make up 75 per cent of Myanmar’s healthcare professionals, were at the forefront of the COVID-19 response. Now, during a tragic surge in COVID-19 cases, many women continue in their activism and serve their communities while also assuming significant responsibilities as caregivers for sick family members, and for their children’s home-based learning.

Women and children are also expected to bear the heaviest brunt of the combined crises with those most at-risk including single women, pregnant and breastfeeding women and girls, ethnic and religious minorities, older persons, people with disabilities, children and people of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations.

The impact on women workers has already been pronounced with 580,000 women estimated to have lost employment since February 1. Women and girls experience challenges to access sexual and reproductive health services due to the collapsed health system, with attacks on hospitals, financial barriers and movement restrictions further jeopardizing their health and well-being. Over 685,000 women are currently pregnant in Myanmar and it is estimated that nearly 250 preventable maternal deaths may occur in the next month alone if they are not able to access appropriate emergency obstetric care. Furthermore, the adolescence of over almost five million girls (10 to 19 years old) in Myanmar has been seriously disrupted by public-health, loss of school-year, and security-related restrictions and fears.

LGBTIQ+ populations have flagged serious concerns about their mental health and wellbeing before the coup, and these concerns are now heightened. Moreover, with continued arbitrary arrests and detainment of women and girls and people of diverse gender identities and sexual orientations, serious protection concerns persist with continued reports of sexual harassment and of sexual violence perpetrated against activists and detainees. Conflict-related sexual violence remains a key risk given recent reports on top of evidence of widespread previous allegations.

Non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations and women’s organizations/activists have been working very hard to respond to all these increasing safety, health and protection risks faced by women, girls, young people and people of diverse gender identities and sexual orientation. While the need to provide support to these population groups increases, the operational environment is becoming more and more challenging due to the ongoing conflict/insecurity as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the banking crisis and the access restrictions.

UNFPA and UN Women as co-chairs of the UN Gender Thematic Group in Myanmar stand in solidarity with the women and girls of Myanmar and urge all stakeholders in Myanmar and abroad to listen to their voices and uphold commitments to international human rights for all people. We reiterate the UN Secretary-General’s call to release all who have been arbitrarily detained and echo the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence to end all forms of violence against women and girls. We will continue to work with our partners to deliver life-saving social and health services to reach women and girls in Myanmar.
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Scooped by Dr Lendy Spires
August 2, 2021 10:43 AM

I am Generation Equality: Isidora Guzmán: Youth and inclusion activist | UN Women – Headquarters

I am Generation Equality: Isidora Guzmán: Youth and inclusion activist | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
I am Generation Equality: Isidora Guzmán: Youth and inclusion activist

Date: Wednesday, July 28, 2021

This story has been adapted from UN Women's regional website for Latin America and the Caribbean

Photo: Courtesy of Isadora Guzmán
I am Generation Equality because...

Three things you can do to become part of Generation Equality
Recognize the variety of realities that women live throughout the world
Promote education with an inclusive approach

Advocate for public policies that recognize intersectionality
I think I was always in an environment that taught me the value of feminism, because my parents and my maternal grandmother raised me without barriers or stereotypes, teaching me that nothing and no one could keep me from achieving my goals. Of course, I would later learn that those values would be based on a movement created by courageous, determined women who sought their freedom from a system that had been oppressing them for years.

I became an activist for inclusion because I live with a disabling condition that has made me experience inequality firsthand. I realized there is misinformation and little empathy in society towards those who have been discriminated against throughout history, causing us to be left out of a society that does not accept differences.

Equality and inclusion for progress

By working towards inclusion, society can change the exclusionary paradigm, providing each person with specific tools so that they can live in dignity without any barriers. I advocate for inclusion in general and not solely for disability, because we all deserve to find our place in the world.

I think that action must be driven from inclusion, taking into consideration the variety of realities that women live throughout the world. We need to move away from the traditional model and connect from intersectionality.

We need equal access to education, which should be taught from childhood with an inclusive approach, because it generates respect and empathy.

If students recognize and value differences, both in gender and in other aspects of life, from the first years of schooling, in the future we will find people trained in inclusion, as well as women and men with inclusive consciences.

States must promote public policies that strengthen this idea of educating with an inclusive approach, creating educational proposals focused on promoting equal rights for their communities and ensuring access to this type of education.

One of the most common problems is the lack of mobility. When I was 13 years old, I created an application that helps people find a parking space in the city, using a system of censors. This helped them to move around the city in a more autonomous way. This is how I started to work on reducing the inequality gap that some people live with.

Taking forward commitments to equality

At the Generation Equality Forum, I stressed the importance of inclusive education and the consideration of the concept of intersectionality when making public policies, because when educating we must consider the diversity of our society, whether in tastes, ways of learning, and even ways of developing in the educational community and from that difference, bring out the greatest potential of each of the students. 

“It is time to put the issues that have never been discussed on the table.”

I believe that the Generation Equality Forums  have made gender equality more visible. It is time to put the issues that have never been discussed on the table; for example, when I talk about women and disability, I often receive comments such as "men with disabilities are also important", "men with disabilities are also discriminated against" and of course it is true, but without gender equality, women with disabilities will continue to be twice as discriminated against, apart from the fact that, normally, disability is linked to poverty.

Everything that happened in the Forum makes the authorities and representatives of States connect with girls and women, understanding why it is important to achieve equality and thus, speed up the implementation of public policies in this aspect.

At the age of 16, Isidora Guzmán, a young Chilean activist, already has among her achievements the development of an app that helps people with disabilities to find adequate parking spaces in her municipality. She was born prematurely, at six months of gestation, which resulted in cerebral palsy and spastic diplegia, which affected her motor skills and led her to use a wheelchair. She has focused her activism on the struggle to create greater awareness of disability and advance towards universal accessibility. She is an advisor to Tenemos que Hablar de Chile (Chile, We have to Talk) and participates as an ambassador of the Tremendas collective in the area of inclusion, where she contributes to the promotion of sustainable cities and communities.
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Scooped by Dr Lendy Spires
August 2, 2021 10:42 AM

Women in sport are changing the game | UN Women – Headquarters

Women in sport are changing the game | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Women in sport are changing the game

Date: Thursday, July 22, 2021

As the Tokyo 2020 Olympics kick-off on 23 July 2021, almost 49 per cent of participating athletes will be women, making it the most gender-balanced Games in history. All 206 National Olympic Committees also have at least one female and one male athlete representative. This marks a landmark for gender balance in sport – a powerful means of empowering women and girls.

Sport mobilizes the global community and speaks to youth. It unites across national barriers and cultural differences. It teaches women and girls the values of teamwork, self-reliance and resilience; has a multiplier effect on their health, education and leadership development; contributes to self-esteem; builds social connections; and challenges harmful gender norms.

To celebrate women in sport, here are just a few inspirational women breaking down gender barriers all around the world.

Malak Abdelshafi, a Paralympic swimming champion from Egypt

Malak Abdelshafi, Egyptian Champion in Paralympic Swimming, donning some of her medals. Photo: Courtesy of Malak Abdelshafi
Malak Abdelshafi is a 17-year-old Egyptian Paralympic swimming champion who qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. When she was 10 months old, she suffered severe spinal cord injuries from an accident that left her partially paralysed.

“I started swimming as hydrotherapy, since wheelchair-users usually need to maintain blood circulation,” says Abdelshafi. “I did not plan to swim professionally. During my hydrotherapy sessions, my trainer said I was talented and pushed me to compete.”

“My first championship was in 2012 with my club and I won a silver medal. I was 9 years old then and the youngest among the participants. We were all surprised and did not expect it at all. Since then, I decided to pursue a professional track in swimming. I joined the national team in 2014.” Abdelshafi has since won 39 national and six international medals.

“Nothing can stop us because we’re girls. We’re all human and there’s no difference between a girl or a boy. One of my favourite quotes is: ‘There’s always another way’. When you find out that the way to your goal is blocked, don’t give up. Try to find another way and you’ll reach your goal with your persistence.”

“I believe that sports can influence our behaviour and help us have a positive impact on others. I hope I can do this one day and be an inspirational model.”

Kathely Rosa, an aspiring soccer coach from Brazil

Kathely Rosa, 19, pictured center with ball, with other graduates of the One Win Leads to Another programme in Brazil. Photos: UN Women/Camille Miranda
When Kathely Rosa,19, first shared her dream of becoming a professional football player, people around her said football was for boys. When she tried to play with the boys, they refused and would only allow her to watch. Her brother, four years younger, had a completely different experience, and took football lessons from an early age.

 “He had a ball, a complete uniform, the opportunity to train at a club, money to participate in championships and selection processes. I got nothing,” says Rosa.

Rosa decided to coach herself, watching videos online to learn the tactics and practiced alone. One day, she was searching various ways of dribbling and found a video showing Brazilian football player and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Marta Vieira da Silva scoring a goal 20 different ways.

“I learned football mainly from male figures, because women’s football is not that visible,” says Rosa. “I was just fascinated when I saw what Marta could do with a ball.”

In February 2020, Rosa, along with 15 girls from One Win Leads to Another (OWLA), a joint programme with UN Women and the International Olympic Committee that provides weekly sport practice and life skills sessions for adolescent girls, fulfilled another dream ­– she met Marta in person in Rio.

“Marta told me that if I truly believe in what I want to do, nothing is impossible,” says Rosa. “It may sound like an obvious advice, but I needed to hear that from her.”

“I will graduate, become a coach and create a female’s football team with girls from the favela. There are a lot of girls with so much talent. They just need to be properly trained,” says Rosa. In the meantime, Rosa continues to lead by example in her community, as the only girl who plays on the boys’ team. 

Anita Karim, Pakistan’s first professional mixed martial arts fighter

Anita Karim poses at the gym where she trains in Islamabad; this photo was taken on 21 February 2021. Photo: UN Women/The Centrum Media
Anita Karim, 24, is the only woman among the more than 300 professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters in Pakistan.

“I understand how significant confidence and knowledge of self-defence are for girls,” says Karim. “I started training in mixed martial arts and I wanted to become an example for other girls to encourage them to join a sport like MMA that makes individuals healthy and active.”

Karim comes from a family of MMA fighters and trains at an MMA training centre founded by her brothers in Islamabad. Her first professional fight was in 2018. “My family always supported me and encouraged my enthusiasm towards MMA, which is why I have accomplished so.” says Karim.

“We get the message from our society that women and girls can't commute on their own or can only work in particular areas. We are taught to fear, and there is a perception that girls are weak and vulnerable, which makes it difficult for us to move forward. When we go out and encounter harassment, we get frightened and are unable to react. MMA has taught me confidence and also made me strong enough to compete at a global level. It has taught me strategies for protecting myself in any kind of difficult situation.”

Khadija Timera, a lawyer and boxer from Senegal

Khadija Timera, 35, was raised in a working-class district in Paris. She won a scholarship to study business law at the University of California, Berkeley, and has worked in one of the world’s top law firms.

“After graduating, I felt that I had achieved a challenge,” says Timera. “I wanted to create my own company to support high-level sportswomen, specifically soccer players.” Now, Timera runs a London-based business and investments consultancy for professional athletes and is also a boxer, who advocates against gender-based violence. She narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.

“I made my first selection in 2019. We went to the African championship in Cabo Verde and I won the gold medal for Senegal,” says Timera.

“Violence against women is regrettable. Women and children in Senegal are vulnerable and should therefore be protected.”

“People need to become [more] aware that women and men are equal and complementary. I also think that women themselves have to realize that they have a real power that they send out; they have to learn to trust themselves.”

“Boxing can help to build confidence,” Timera adds. “There should be many more associations and action to help women recognize their personal value and learn self-development.”

To women, Timera says: “you are enough.”

Aizhan Alymbai Kyzy, a chess champion from Kyrgyzstan

Aizhan Alymbay kyzy at a chess tournament. Photo: Kim Bhari
Aizhan Alymbai Kyzy is a 26-year-old chess champion from Kyrgyzstan. She has been a member of the national team since she was 15 years old, and came third place in the Asian Rapid Chess Championship.

“In Kyrgyzstan, as in the rest of the world, chess is mostly male dominated,” says Kyzy. “Monetary awards for women at the Kyrgyz championships are almost half of what men are offered and mostly men participate in these tournaments. The situation is changing for the better now.”

Kyzy believes the world is heading towards equality and that families have a significant role to play in supporting their daughters.

“We can be the ones to push the boundaries of what is possible,” says Kyzy. “At chess academy, where I was teaching, we demanded equal performance both from girls and boys. But parents urged teachers to be less harsh on girls. We need to raise awareness on ensuring quality education for girls and encourage families to support their daughters.”

“In the modern world, creative thinking and analytics are highly valued, and this is exactly what chess can offer. I want to be a role model for other girls. Playing chess is empowering, self-fulfilling, and makes you realize that everything is possible. Our society needs to create an enabling environment for women’s empowerment in sports and beyond. I call on all women and girls to challenge gender stereotypes, smash the boundaries and keep realizing their dreams!”
Scooped by Dr Lendy Spires
August 2, 2021 10:42 AM

Supported by UN Women, police forces are becoming more responsive to survivors of violence | UN Women – Headquarters

Supported by UN Women, police forces are becoming more responsive to survivors of violence | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Supported by UN Women, police forces are becoming more responsive to survivors of violence

Date: Thursday, July 15, 2021

Originally published on UN Women's regional website for Asia and the Pacific

Two female police officers of Dhaka Metropolitan Police patrolling streets in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The visible presence of female police officers makes women feel safer. Taken on 3 June 2020. Photo: UN Women/Fahad Abdullah Kaizer
In the past 18 months, by trapping women with their abusers, COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns have worsened the already-widespread violence against women while preventing many of them from getting help. But even those who do manage to contact the police come up against another long-standing challenge: a culture and system that treats the survivor as a big part of the problem.

“The biggest challenge we face is that women do not report cases of violence because of victim-blaming attitudes by police officers,” says Police Superintendent Maria Mahmood, Director at the National Police Academy in Pakistan. “When I started working as a police officer, I was shocked to see the deep-rooted bias of a patriarchal police force. The criminal justice system is discriminatory, and also stigmatizes victims of violence and does not provide efficient support for them.”

While there are many other causes besides unsympathetic officers, worldwide only 1 out of 10 female survivors seek help from the police, according to a 2015 United Nations report. UN Women has been trying to encourage police reforms in its work on Essential Services, and with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in its work on police and justice responses to gender-based violence against women.

Jane Townsley giving transformational training to the police force in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Her experiences in Cox’s Bazar largely informed the peer guidance in the Police Handbook. Taken on 24 April 2019. Photo: UN Women/Julian D’Silva
Using its own manuals on gender-sensitive policing, UN Women has organized police training in places around the world including Pakistan, Kosovo,[1] Morocco and the world’s largest refugee camp, Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. This year, UN Women, in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Association of Women Police published the 529-page The Handbook on Gender-responsive Police Services for Women and Girls Subject to Violence; it will be used in 22 countries. The handbook gives practical, in-depth guidance on how to respond during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic; prevent violence against women and girls; and do investigations that meet the needs and concerns of survivors and focus more on what the perpetrators did.

Shifting attitudes and creating change
In Pakistan, UN Women trained the national police force in 2019 and 2020 and this year wrote a Pakistan-specific police training manual on dealing with female survivors. Mahmood is using these lessons at her academy.

“We see UN Women as a key partner in helping us build the capacity of Pakistani police officers,” she says.

Jane Townsley delivered remote training to police force in Cox’s Bazar during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a chapter especially included in the Handbook by Townsley, she highlighted the importance of coordination in times of normality and during times of crisis. Taken on 14 March 2021. Photo: UN Women
Major Tahire Haxholli, a leader of the Domestic Violence Investigation Unit in the Kosovo Police, says UN Women training has changed how the force deals with survivors, “especially in handling cases without prejudices, stigma, and giving priority to the issue”.

Atiqur Rahman, Commanding Officer at the camp in Cox’s Bazar, says female officers were deployed there because the female refugees, who are Muslims, did not want to communicate with male officers. The officers were also trained on how to overcome the language barrier and how to empathize with people in such vulnerable conditions, he says.

UN Women Morocco has been supporting the restructuring of the national police force, particularly in ensuring that every provincial police station has a separate unit trained to deal with female survivors of violence.

Among those who benefitted from the reforms was a young woman in the city of Meknes who was abused by her boss in 2019. A friend took the pregnant woman to the police station.

Female police officers in Cox’s Bazar attending transformational training delivered by Jane Townsley. Taken on 10 October 2019.
Photo: UN Women/Julian D’Silva
She was in a difficult position. Sex outside marriage is a crime in Morocco, and she was carrying ‘evidence’. In an interview with UN Women, the woman recalled:

“On the way to the police station, I was afraid that [the police officers] would ignore me and wouldn’t believe what I was going to tell them.

“But when I arrived, I was warmly welcomed by a female officer who introduced herself as the Chief of the Police Unit for Women Victims of Violence. I told myself that if the chief is a woman, maybe she will understand me. The first thing she told me was: There is a solution to everything. I will never forget that. It has become my motto in life. Her words encouraged me, and she listened to me with great care and attention, showing interest.

“At the time, I was feeling insecure, unsafe, not worthy and that my life was over. Meeting her made me realize that I still have a chance to get my life back.”

While having more female officers will increase people’s trust in the police, lasting change requires transforming police cultures through better policies, structures and practices, says Jane Townsley, Executive Director of the International Association of Women Police and a former chief inspector in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Jane Townsley with training participants in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Her experiences in Cox’s Bazar largely informed the peer guidance in the Police Handbook. Taken on 24 April 2019. Photo: UN Women/Julian D’Silva
Townsley has been training the Cox’s Bazar police as a UN Women consultant and co-authored the newly released handbook with human rights and security specialist Mirko Fernandez. Unlike most other police training materials, the handbook is mainly for police middle managers.

Says Townsley, “It became obvious to me that you can train all the first responders in the world, but if those people who manage and lead front-line staff do not understand the importance of responding effectively to violence against women…other efforts will be in vain.”

“This handbook was written by police for police. Critical to the success of the handbook will be ensuring the police at institutional level accept responsibility for its implementation and recognize the benefits it can bring, not just to victims and survivors of violence against women and girls, but also to the effectiveness of the police organization as a whole.”

Related links
Handbook on gender-responsive police services for women and girls subject to violence
[1] All references to Kosovo should be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).
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Scooped by Dr Lendy Spires
August 2, 2021 10:41 AM

Press release: UN Women presents ‘A Force for Change’, an art exhibition and auction featuring work by 26 Black women artists, benefitting Black women | News and events: News | UN Women – Headquarters

Press release: UN Women presents ‘A Force for Change’, an art exhibition and auction featuring work by 26 Black women artists, benefitting Black women | News and events: News | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Press release: UN Women presents ‘A Force for Change’, an art exhibition and auction featuring work by 26 Black women artists, benefitting Black women
The exhibition will be open to the public in New York City from 27 to 31 July 2021, with an online auction hosted on Artsy from 16 to 30 July 2021, closing at 2pm EDT.

Date: Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Media contacts:

Lizzie McNamara, FITZ & CO, emcnamara[at]fitzandco.com, +1 646 589-0926
Antonio Scotto di Carlo, FITZ & CO, ascottodicarlo[at]fitzandco.com, +1 646 589-0921
UN Women, media.team[at]unwomen.org
New York, 13 July 2021 — UN Women, the agency of the United Nations dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment, will host the first all-Black, all-women global selling exhibition and auction titled “A Force for Change”, with proceeds benefiting Black women across the world and the participating artists.

Open to the public 27–31 July 2021 at Agora Gallery, 530 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001, the exhibition includes 26 works by prominent and emerging female artists of African descent to recognize and elevate awareness of the transformative power of Black women’s art in social justice movements, and to support UN Women’s nascent global Black Women’s Programme. Works by artists Cinthia Sifa Mulanga, Tschabalala Self, Sungi Mlengeya, Wangari Mathenge, Zanele Muholi, and Selly Rabe Kane are included, among many others. The exhibition will be accompanied by online discussions on the role of artists in social justice movements and Black Women and the Art Market.

Cinthia Sifa Mulanga, “Self-sureness”, 2021. Mixed media on stretched canvas, 84cm x 118cm.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, said: “Racial justice and gender inequality are not separate but integrally linked—and UN Women’s work prioritizes both. Through the global Black Women Programme, and this exhibition that will raise funding for that work, we will support Black women’s movements and organizations in different parts of the world to foster closer ties and give greater power to their voice and actions.”

Works in the exhibition are offered for sale on Artsy, the largest global online art marketplace, from 16 July to 30 July 2021, with the auction ending at 2pm EDT on 30 July 2021. Fifty per cent of the proceeds will go toward launching UN Women’s nascent global Black Women Programme, designed to connect women of African descent in Africa and the Diaspora through comprehensive programming around economic empowerment in the creative industries; connect women’s movements across the Diaspora to strengthen their voices, action, and impact; and address violence against women.

As a deliberate effort to raise awareness of the global gender pay gap and the value of women’s work, the other 50 per cent will go directly to the artist. Furthermore, to protect the artists, buyers will pledge not to sell the work for at least five years; give artists the right of first refusal on resale; and give artists 15 per cent of the sale price if works are sold.

Tonni Ann Brodber, UN Women Caribbean Multi-Country Office Representative, said: “Our ambition for a global programme on race and gender is firmly grounded in the arts. Our office in Barbados has for some time been working with musicians, understanding that their expression and reach are important avenues for changing norms and stereotypes. Creatives, in all their diversity, these are the ones leading the way.”

Erin Jenoa Gilbert, Curator and Art Advisor, added: “Though the abstract and figurative works presented in this exhibition were composed by women of great linguistic and aesthetic diversity, their works are statements of survival and of solidarity. Subversively challenging the status quo, these images symbolically connect the concurrent civil and human rights movements in Africa, the Caribbean, South and Central America, Europe, and the United States. This exhibition simultaneously offers a glimpse into the past and the future as reimagined by women of African descent. The empowered images of women, presented by the artists in this exhibition, evidence the influence of intersectionality and the inextricable ties between women across the African diaspora.”

Wangari Mathenge, “The Ascendants XII (And Still I Rise)”, 2021. Oil on canvas, 163cm x 159cm.
“A Force for Change” is intergenerational, international, and interdisciplinary. Born between 1935 and 1997, the artists in this exhibition currently live and work in South Africa, Senegal, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Brazil, Somalia, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Presenting nuanced counter-narratives to the mainstream media’s presentation of women of African descent, the exhibition includes photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, and film in which the central character is the Black woman.

The exhibition includes works by the following artists:

Tschabalala Self (b. 1990), USA
Akosua Adoma Owusu (b. 1984), Ghana/USA
Andrea Chung (b. 1978), Jamaica
Phoebe Boswell (b. 1982), Kenya/UK
Wura Natasha Ogunji (b. 1970), Nigeria/USA
Sungi Mlengeya (b. 1991), Tanzania
Shinique Smith (b. 1971), USA
Deborah Roberts (b. 1962), USA
Rosana Paulino (b. 1967), Brazil
Janaina Barros, Brazil
Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi (b. 1980), South Africa
Zohra Opoku (b. 1976), Ghana
Esther Mahlangu (b. 1935), South Africa
Ayan Farah (b. 1978), Somalia
Nandipha Mntambo (b. 1982), South Africa
Selly Raby Kane, Senegal
Zina Saro Wiwa (b. 1976), Nigeria
Wangari Mathenge (b. 1973), Kenya
Virginia Chihota (b. 1983), Zimbabwe
Cinthia Sifa Mulanga (b. 1997), Democratic Republic of the Congo
Yelaine Rodriguez, Dominican Republic
Cassi Namoda (b. 1988), Mozambique
Sheena Rose (b. 1985), Barbados
Joiri Minaya (b. 1990), Dominican Republic
Joana Choumali (b. 1974), Ivory Coast
Zanele Muholi (b. 1974), South Africa
About UN Women

UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. UN Women is the global champion for gender equality, working to develop and uphold standards and create an environment in which every woman and girl can exercise her human rights and live up to her full potential.

UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to ensure that the standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girls worldwide. It works globally to make the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for women and girls and stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on four strategic priorities:

Women lead, participate in, and benefit equally from governance systems.
Women have income security, decent work, and economic autonomy.
All women and girls live a life free from all forms of violence.
Women and girls contribute to and have greater influence in building sustainable peace and resilience and benefit equally from the prevention of natural disasters and conflicts and humanitarian action.
UN Women also coordinates and promotes the UN system’s work in advancing gender equality, and in all deliberations and agreements linked to the 2030 Agenda. The entity works to position gender equality as fundamental to the Sustainable Development Goals, and a more inclusive world.

For more information:
Website: unwomen.org
@unwomen on Instagram and Facebook
@UN_Women on Twitter
@un-women on LinkedIn 

About Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

The United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, has devoted her career to issues of human rights, equality, and social justice. She has worked in government and civil society, and with the private sector, and was actively involved in the struggle to end apartheid in her home country of South Africa.

From 2005 to 2008, she served as Deputy President of South Africa, overseeing programmes to combat poverty and bring the advantages of a growing economy to the poor, with a particular focus on women. Prior to this, she served as Minister of Minerals and Energy from 1999 to 2005 and Deputy Minister in the Department of Trade and Industry from 1996 to 1999. She was a Member of Parliament from 1994 to 1996 as part of South Africa’s first democratic government.

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka began her career as a teacher and gained international experience as a coordinator at the World YWCA in Geneva, where she established a global programme for young women. She is the founder of the Umlambo Foundation, which supports leadership and education. A longtime champion of women’s rights, she is affiliated with several organizations devoted to education, women’s empowerment and gender equality.

About the curator

Erin Jenoa Gilbert is a New York–based art curator and consultant, specializing in modern and contemporary art of the African Diaspora. Most recently the Curator of African American Manuscripts at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Gilbert has also held positions at The Art Institute of Chicago and The Studio Museum in Harlem. She holds a BA in Political Science and a BA in African and African American Studies from the University of Michigan, and a MA in Contemporary Art from the University of Manchester. Exploring the relationship between art, power and politics, her curatorial practice examines the physical and psychological connection to land, the trauma of displacement, and the Black female body as contested terrain. Gilbert’s intersectional critical analysis exposes the fault lines in the aesthetic regimes that dominate visual culture, specifically by presenting artists whose contributions to the canon have been overlooked, particularly women artists from the “Deep South” and the “Global South”. 

She has published catalog essays on several Black female artists, including Deborah Roberts (Spelman University, 2018); Alma Thomas (Mnuchin Gallery, 2019); Chakaia Booker (ICA Miami, 2021); and Mary Lovelace O’Neal (MoAD, 2022).

Over the course of her career, she has addressed audiences at The Studio Museum in Harlem, National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Howard University, Fashion Institute of Technology and Swann Auction House. Figure and Force, a conversation she moderated between Barbara Chase Riboud and Ilyasah Shabbaz for Saint Heron, exemplifies her commitment to expanding the audience for modern and contemporary art.

She is the co-curator of a Mary Lovelace O’Neal exhibition which will open at MoAD in San Francisco, California in 2022. Since 2015 she has curated museum and gallery exhibitions in the US and UK including Zohra Opoku: Draped Histories/Beyond Visage, Sienna Shields: Invisible Woman and In The Eye of the Beholder.

About Artsy

Artsy is the largest global online marketplace for discovering, buying, and selling fine art by leading artists. Artsy connects 4,000+ galleries, auction houses, art fairs, and institutions from 100+ countries with more than 2 million global art collectors and art lovers across 190+ countries. Artsy makes purchasing art welcoming, transparent, and low-friction, with industry-leading technology that connects supply and demand safely and securely at a global scale. Launched in 2012, Artsy is headquartered in New York City with offices in London, Berlin, and Hong Kong.

UN Women has engaged with Artsy for the online auction in relation to the exhibition “A Force for Change”.
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August 2, 2021 10:41 AM

I am Generation Equality: Mete Belovacıklı, advocate for gender equality in media | UN Women – Headquarters

I am Generation Equality: Mete Belovacıklı, advocate for gender equality in media | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
I am Generation Equality: Mete Belovacıklı, advocate for gender equality in media
Billions of people around the world stand on the right side of history every day. They speak up, take a stand, mobilize, and take big and small actions to advance women’s rights. This is Generation Equality.

Date: Friday, July 9, 2021

Originally published on UN Women's regional website for Europe and Central Asia

Mete Belovacıklı. Photo: Bünyamin Aygün.
I am Generation Equality because…

Three actions you can take to promote gender equality in media
Challenge gender stereotypes in media through showcasing empowered women.
Say "NO" to violence and social and economic discrimination against women and girls.
Organize comprehensive and multi-stakeholder advocacy campaigns to empower women and girls.
“With my trust in media's role and responsibility in society's transformation, I believe we can make a difference in the economic and social life of women and girls through their empowerment and ensuring equal rights.

Being the Editor-in-Chief of Milliyet, Turkey's prominent and trusted newspaper, I witness how inequalities hinder realization of gender justice and women’s human rights. We have the means to shape the public opinion via media. That is why Milliyet, founded in 1950, has always prioritized social projects covering issues of women, workers, students and disadvantaged groups.

Commitments to empowerment and equality

Today, women and girls still cannot realize their full potential in economic and social life and continue facing violence and oppression. Media needs to take actions as part of their ‘corporate social responsibility’ role towards building an equal future, driving social norms change and challenging toxic masculinity. Therefore, at the Generation Equality Forum, we made a commitment to run projects empowering women, bringing voice to women business leaders, supporting girls and young women in finding role models and building their careers.

Media leadership and collaboration

“Media needs to act towards building an equal future, driving social norms change and challenging toxic masculinity.”

At Milliyet, we are working on creating a local media network that will work on empowering women journalists all around Turkey and find men allies in the local media. I believe that we need to fight for women’s empowerment and preventing violence against women on all fronts. We can succeed only if women and men act side by side.

Media is the voice of society and also plays a critical role in its transformation. With that responsibility on our shoulders, we have become the first Turkish newspaper joining UN Women’s Global Media Compact. At the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, we made firm commitments focusing on economic justice and rights of women with the slogan ‘Now is our turn.’ While delivering those commitments, we will make a difference and put our hearts into our work as Milliyet family.”

Mete Belovacıklı, 59, is Editor-in-Chief of one of Turkey's oldest newspapers, Milliyet. As a strong defender of gender equality, he has led Milliyet in becoming a partner of UN Women’s Global Media Compact. Milliyet is the only media organisation that became a commitment maker at the Generation Equality Forum with five-year commitments on economic justice and rights.
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August 2, 2021 10:41 AM

Op-ed: Achieving equality for women: COVID-19 and beyond | UN Women – Headquarters

Op-ed: Achieving equality for women: COVID-19 and beyond | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Op-ed: Achieving equality for women: COVID-19 and beyond
By Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women

Date: Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Originally published on sdg-action.org

More than 25 years after the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, true and lasting equality for women remains in view but not yet in our grasp. Though we have seen important gains, such as decreases in maternal mortality and improvements in girls’ education, overall progress has been too slow and too piecemeal. The COVID-19 crisis has also shown us that progress can be frighteningly reversed.

The pandemic has rapidly exacerbated existing gender inequities. Violence against women has risen, and women have suffered higher adverse economic impacts and job losses. This has been caused both by increased unpaid caregiving and the fact that women work in more insecure, low-paid and informal job settings. COVID-19-related school closures have heightened the effects of the gender digital divide and have put nearly 10 million more girls at risk of child marriage this decade. All of this is posing a direct challenge to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Shifting course
Despite these almost ubiquitous challenges, there are positive solutions that we can apply to steer our societies and economies out of the disastrous impact of COVID-19 and into constructive change. These solutions require recognition of some previously underestimated underlying barriers, which the pandemic stressors have brought to light.

Governments’ decisive commitment to gender-responsive stimulus packages that truly respond to women’s needs will be critical. Several governments have already taken unprecedented measures, such as strengthening access to healthcare and providing cash transfers, paid sick leave and unemployment benefits. Yet while some of these measures will benefit women, far too few are being designed or implemented with women’s rights or needs in mind. As the UN Development Programme/UN Women COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker shows, only 18% of the global social protection and jobs response so far have targeted either women’s economic security or addressed the rise in unpaid care work. Current forecasts are that without a change in course, an additional 47 million women will be pushed into extreme poverty this year, overturning decades of progress. This would be a stunning reversal for the SDGs, but this kind of backsliding is not a foregone conclusion: with bold policies to boost women’s economic empowerment, we can shift course and accelerate progress instead.

Generation Equality
We look to governments and to those who have power, resources, and influence to become the champions of what we call Generation Equality. We need new Commitment Makers to shape a future that dismantles the barriers to women’s progress by working across generations and sectors and on priority issues. I invite all countries, businesses, civil-society organizations, young people and allies to join Generation Equality’s Global Acceleration Plan. The plan convenes collective action through “Action Coalitions” which are centred around six themes:

gender-based violence
economic justice and rights
bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights
feminist action for climate justice
technology and innovation for gender equality
feminist movements and leadership
The targets that support the themes are intended to guide action and investment for the next five years. For example, the pandemic has confirmed that care for children and other family members is essential, life-sustaining work and there is a need for investments in both public and private quality care services. It also requires the creation of new, well-paid, and safe care jobs that recognize, reduce, and redistribute the current unpaid care work in homes, and that reward care workers and guarantee their labor rights. In turn, such changes need an enabling legal and policy environment.

Canada has recently promised significant fiscal resources to achieve affordable childcare for all, by specifically committing to improving the pay and conditions of care-sector workers. The United States’ Biden administration has recognized that care is infrastructure, alongside roads and bridges, and has pledged investments of USD 400 billion. Every country should have and implement gender-responsive macroeconomic plans, budget reforms and stimulus packages, including quality public social protection floors and systems so that the number of women and girls living in poverty is significantly reduced. Now is the moment for other leaders to follow suit to support the care economy and champion women’s economic justice and rights to the rest of the world.

A pandemic of inequities
Even before the pandemic, women’s employment was often concentrated in the most vulnerable informal jobs. During the pandemic, women have lost their jobs at a faster rate than men. This has had particularly devastating consequences for the economic autonomy of women with care responsibilities. Labor market vulnerabilities are even worse for the most excluded, including women with disabilities, migrant and refugee women, and small farmers.

In recent studies, lost income and employment, food insecurity, and substance abuse has been linked to increased risk of men’s violence against women and girls, exacerbating the prevalence of domestic and other forms of violence. Young women aged between 15 and 24 years are often the worst affected. There are well-grounded fears that other forms of violence, such as female genital mutilation and child marriage, are also on the increase.

I urge all stakeholders to join the Global Acceleration Plan to:

Tackle gender-based violence and commit to ratify international and regional conventions
Scale up implementation and financing of evidence-driven prevention strategies
Scale up implementation and financing of survivor-centred, comprehensive, quality, accessible and affordable services for survivors
Support women’s rights organizations, activists and movements, including those working to address gender-based violence against women and girls in all their diversity
Generation Equality also includes a Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action. This calls for the acceleration of full, equal and meaningful participation of women in security institutions, among other key leadership, protection, and financing goals. While progress has been achieved, particularly in civilian leadership where women now comprise 41 per cent, a UN Women analysis estimates that at current rates it will take 30 years to reach gender parity for military troops in the UN. I invite Member States, regional bodies, civil society organizations and networks, young women peacebuilders, and those working in humanitarian and crisis settings and the private sector to join the Global Compact. I invite them to support the sustainable deployment and meaningful participation of uniformed women peacekeepers, so that security institutions become representative, responsive and accountable to all.

We need bold, transformative action
There is hope if we change course. But hope is not a strategy. At a critical moment in this Decade of Action, these and the other elements of the plan will help us rethink, renew and revolutionize how we organize our societies and economies.

Progress will also depend on generating much-needed financial resources, especially for developing countries. There have been significant calls to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to issue special drawing rights. These will provide emergency funds for developing countries to pay off unsustainable debt, fund vaccines or invest in social protection for their people. Meanwhile, a new global minimum tax rate proposed by the UN would help to stem the tide of tax evasion and avoidance. It would ensure that everyone makes a fair contribution to the kind of world we want for the next generation.

Crises of the magnitude we face today call for big, bold ideas and extraordinary levels of global solidarity and cooperation to implement them. The Generation Equality Action Coalitions bring together the broad range of actors needed to drive progress forward. Together, we must aim towards a more sustainable and just future, in order to ensure prosperity for all and realize the 2030 Agenda.
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August 2, 2021 10:40 AM

Remarks by Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, at the Closing Ceremony of the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, France | UN Wome...

Remarks by Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, at the Closing Ceremony of the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, France | UN Wome... | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Remarks by Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, at the Closing Ceremony of the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, France
The world jumped and patriarchy shook

Date: Friday, July 2, 2021

[As delivered]

I have seen the world jump together and shake the world of patriarchy. It has not all collapsed, but it is in bad shape, and I think that we can only get better from here.

I am most grateful for the support that we have received from everyone who has contributed to the USD 40 billion total. Our Member States and public institutions together committed to USD 21 billion. Private sector has given us USD 13 billion. The philanthropists have given us USD 4.5 billion and the UN along with international and regional organizations have given us USD 1.3 billion. And civil society, youth and adolescent girls have given us commitment and amazing passion and advocacy, which this process could not survive without, and for which I am thankful.

During the last few days a few people have called me aside wanting to know what’s going to happen to these resources. Let me tell you, first, UN Women is not rich but UN Women is much better than it was. The resources that have been put forward by the many commitment makers that were here today will go to grassroots organizations in communities. They will go to Member States, who need to implement programmes that will address women and girls that are facing trouble. They will also go to the UN agencies that have programmes that must be scaled up and taken to a much larger scale. The funds are not going to just UN Women because we do not have all the skills to implement what is needed. So, it is the whole UN family that is coming together and taking this forward. It is civil society, it is private sector, it is our bosses, the Member States, who will take it forward.

So, Mexico and France, I am eternally grateful to you. You had faith in us, and you gave us a chance. You opened your countries to us as hosts, and today look at what we have been able to do. So, I want to thank you, and thank you profusely.

And lastly, the pandemic. It could have derailed us, but you did not give up. As a result of the pandemic, we needed Generation Equality more. Because of the pandemic, you pushed even harder. And of course, you embraced young people. We have youth and adolescents who are leading from the front, who are doing wonderful things. They will stand on your shoulders and my shoulders. They will look much further than we can look, and they are a new generation. What was born in Beijing, these young people are going to take forward for us, who are older now. This is the new birth of a new generation and new leadership for women, and we thank them for everything that they have done in these last few days.

And, UN Women staff, thank you, thank you, thank you. Not even a single one of you was not touched by this event. You worked beautifully together with the staff of Mexico and the staff of France.

Thank you all.
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August 2, 2021 10:40 AM

To build back better, transform and invest in the care economy, say leaders at the Generation Equality Forum Paris | UN Women – Headquarters

To build back better, transform and invest in the care economy, say leaders at the Generation Equality Forum Paris | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
To build back better, transform and invest in the care economy, say leaders at the Generation Equality Forum Paris

Date: Friday, July 2, 2021

At a high-level panel on care at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris on 2 July, the Government of Mexico, represented by the President of the National Institute of Women (INMUJERES), Nadine Gasman, launched the Global Alliance for Care.

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has laid bare the critical economic and social importance of care work – mostly unpaid and done by women – the Global Alliance is poised to mobilize policy and action that invests in the care economy and ensures economic justice and rights for women and girls worldwide.

“Care work has always been very high on the feminist agenda, but the COVID experience has made it very real for men and women”, said Gasman.

Around the world, the closure of schools and childcare during the pandemic pushed parents, mainly women, to a breaking point. UN Women research shows that on average, women now spend nearly as much time doing unpaid care work, as a full-time paid job. These impacts are more pronounced in developing countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Women have also been forced to leave the workforce at alarming rates, rolling back progress towards gender equality.

“We created the Global Alliance for Care as a call for urgent action by governments, civil society, the private sector and international organisations; actions that will change the way work is distributed,” added Gasman. “We need legal reform, more services, physical spaces for service [provision] and awareness campaigns. This is a socio-cultural transformation that we know is going to be revolutionary.”

UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Anne Hathaway affirmed that changing the way the world treats care-giving is a vital step in changing the opportunities for women to thrive, saying, “Care work deserves to be properly recognized and made visible. It needs to be safe and fairly paid. I spoke recently with women in Mexico who have been able to change their lives through getting help with care; from leaving situations of abuse to developing successful livelihoods. We all need to be able to make choices that are best for us and our families.”

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Asa Regner invited the distinguished champions for the care economy to join wide-ranging partnerships to reduce and redistribute the unpaid care work, and to promote decent work conditions for care-givers.

The high-level panel also highlighted how innovative policy design, financing, and investments in care infrastructure can be a game-changer for job creation, inclusive growth, poverty reduction, and women’s economic empowerment.

“We firmly believe that investments in the care economy have the potential to create decent jobs for care workers, particularly for women; and to contribute to the achievement of several Sustainable Development Goals, including those related to education, health, gender equality and growth, facilitating a recovery [from COVID-19] that is both inclusive and resilient,” said Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General.

The Government of Canada, represented by Karina Gould, Minister of International Development described care as a ‘triple win’. “It’s a win for children, for gender equality and for the economy. It’s one of the few policies that actually pays for itself.” Gould stated that the childcare system implemented in Quebec resulted in the province going from having the lowest female workforce participation in Canada, to the highest. Furthermore, “the number of women entering the workforce [in Quebec] has resulted in enough government revenue to pay for the childcare system,” she said. The Canadian government is to invest CAD 30 billion in a five-year plan to develop an accessible childcare system nationwide.

In the United States, recent efforts are also setting new standards for addressing the care economy nationally. For example, the Co-chair of the White House Gender Advisory Council, Jennifer Klein, explained how the United States’ first legislative package “provided immediate relief in the form of direct payments and expanded the the child tax credit, which will have a transformative impact on women and their families, and is projected to cut child poverty by half.” Klein added, “the President has put forth an even more ambitious vision for strengthening and reinforcing our country's carrying infrastructure in his proposed American families plan, which is a USD 1 trillion commitment to working families.”

Moreover, efforts from the philanthropic sector are also now focusing on financing and investing in care, as underlined by Gargee Ghosh, the President of Global Policy and Advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – an Action Coalition leader on Economic Justice and Rights.

Speakers also emphasized addressing discriminatory gender norms that underpin and exacerbate gender inequalities is critical for reducing and redistributing unpaid care work. Tristan Champion, Blogger and Author highlighted how male engagement in care and domestic work can bring true change in the care economy. On paid domestic work, Elizabeth Tang, General Secretary of the International Domestic Workers Federation, said, “as domestic workers, we care for the families of others, but it is important to remember that we must have the time and leverage to care for our own families.”

Building back better – in ways that are gender-equitable – will require deliberate actions focused on the care economy. UN Women Deputy Executive Director expressed eagerness to work with all stakeholders to transform the global care economy over the next five years.
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August 2, 2021 10:38 AM

Press release: Generation Equality Forum concludes in Paris with announcement of revolutionary commitments and Global Acceleration Plan to advance gender equality by 2026 | UN Women – Headquarters

Press release: Generation Equality Forum concludes in Paris with announcement of revolutionary commitments and Global Acceleration Plan to advance gender equality by 2026 | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Press release: Generation Equality Forum concludes in Paris with announcement of revolutionary commitments and Global Acceleration Plan to advance gender equality by 2026

Date: Friday, July 2, 2021

Media Contacts: media.team[at]unwomen.org; clare.winterton[at]unwomen.org

Paris, France, 2 July 2021 – The Generation Equality Forum Paris concluded today with the announcement of bold gender equality commitments and launch of a global 5-year action journey to accelerate gender equality by 2026. The Forum’s bold, action-oriented agenda will be under-written by nearly USD 40 billion of confirmed investments as well as ambitious policy and programme commitments from governments, philanthropy, civil society, youth organizations and the private sector. The monumental conclusion comes at a critical moment as the world assesses the disproportionate and negative impact that COVID-19 has had on women and girls. Gender equality advocates have pressed for gender-responsive stimulus and recovery plans to ensure that women and girls are not left behind as the world re-builds.

“The Generation Equality Forum marks a positive, historic shift in power and perspective. Together we have mobilized across different sectors of society, from south to north, to become a formidable force, ready to open a new chapter in gender equality,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. “The Forum’s ecosystem of partners – and the investments, commitments and energy they are bringing to confront the greatest barriers to gender equality – will ensure faster progress for the world’s women and girls than we have seen before.” UN Women will maintain a critical role driving the Forum’s 5-year action journey, overseeing the implementation of commitments to ensure accountability and progress over the next five years.

Speaking to mark the close of the Forum for the Government of France, the host of the Paris Forum, Ambassador and Secretary General of the Generation Equality Forum Delphine O said, “After two years of collective work with Member States, civil society and philanthropic and private organizations, we succeeded in raising the largest amount of investment to advance gender equality and women’s rights ever. By implementing a new way of tackling global issues through efficient multilateralism, the Generation Equality Forum reversed the priorities on the international agenda and made gender equality, for too long underestimated, a long-term issue for the international community, along with climate, education and health. France will continue to be at the forefront to accelerate gender equality progress.”

The USD 40 billion of investments confirmed at the Forum’s close represent a major step-change in resourcing for women’s and girls’ rights. Lack of financing is widely understood to be a major reason for slow progress in advancing gender equality and in enacting the women’s rights agenda of the milestone 1995 Beijing Conference. By the close of the Forum, governments and public sector institutions had committed to USD 21 billion in gender equality investments, the private sector USD 13 billion, and Philanthropy USD 4.5 billion. UN entities, international and regional organizations committed an aggregate of USD 1.3 billion. In addition to these bold investments, many organizations made strong policy and program commitments, including 440 civil society organizations and 94 youth-led organizations. Forum organizers expect that the approximately 1,000 commitment-makers confirmed to date will be joined by many others over the next five years.

In addition to the significant commitments unveiled at the opening ceremony, the final two days of the Forum saw the unveiling of a wide range of commitments from every sector, with examples including:

The Government of Burkina Faso’s work with Benin, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Togo to develop shared commitments related to family life education; free care for pregnant women and children under five years; and pursuing legal and social change to end gender-based violence, including FGM and child marriage
The United States Government’s commitment to a range of significant policies and investment requests including an investment of USD 1 billion to support programmes to end violence against women, and USD 175 million to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally
The expansion of the Global Alliance for Care, initiated by the Government of Mexico and UN Women. This now includes over 39 countries; for example, the Government of Canada’s commitment of USD 100 million to address inequalities in the care economy globally, as a parallel to significant investment in its own care system
The Malala Fund’s commitment to provide at least USD 20 million in feminist funding to girls education activists
P&G’s commitment to advance women’s economic justice and rights through its global value chain by spending USD 10 billion with women-owned and women-led businesses through 2025
The Government of Bangladesh’s pledge to increase women’s participation in the ICT sector, including the tech start-up and e-commerce sector, to 25 per cent by 2026 and 50 per cent by 2041.
PayPal’s commitment of USD 100 million to advance women’s economic empowerment
Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia’s commitment to collaborate with Caribbean NGOs to advocate for the recognition of the LGBTQI+ community and to undertake region-wide legislative reform to minimize discrimination and victimization
Open Society Foundation’s commitment of at least USD 100 million over five years to fund feminist political mobilization and leadership
The Forum in Paris, held 30 June – 2 July, engaged nearly 50,000 people in a mainly virtual format to generate action for the rapid advancement of gender justice. The convening launched a Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality designed by six Action Coalitions – multi-stakeholder partnerships that have identified the most critical actions required to achieve gender equality in areas from gender-based violence and technology to economic and climate justice. The Forum also launched a Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action, and announced new gender equality initiatives focused on health, sports, culture, and education.

Reflecting on the Forum, African Union Goodwill Ambassador on Ending Child Marriage Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, said, “This week, I relived the experience of 1995, when I was a young women's rights activist at the Beijing Conference. The COVID-19 context and other barriers are now an even greater inspiration for innovation, solidarity and inclusion. I am grateful for the commitments made this week. Now it’s time to invest in girls and young women even more – for resources to reach rural and marginalized communities, for technology for public good and available to all, and for Member States’ greater accountability to human rights of women and girls.”
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August 2, 2021 10:37 AM

Media Advisory: Invitation to attend virtual closing press conference, Generation Equality Forum Paris | UN Women – Headquarters

Media Advisory: Invitation to attend virtual closing press conference, Generation Equality Forum Paris | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Media Advisory: Invitation to attend virtual closing press conference, Generation Equality Forum Paris

Date: Friday, July 2, 2021

We invite you to join us for the virtual closing press conference of the Generation Equality Forum, held today, Friday 2 July, from 6:30-6:55pm Paris time / 12:30-12:55pm ET time.

What: Generation Equality Forum Closing Press Conference

When: Friday, 2 July. The virtual press conference will begin at 6:30 and finish at 6:55pm CEST before the closing ceremony

Featured speakers: The conference will feature remarks from UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, French Ambassador and Secretary General of the Generation Equality Forum Delphine O and Vice Minister of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights for the Government of Mexico Martha Delgado. They will be joined by representatives of Civil society and the Youth Task Force – Feminist Activist and African Union Goodwill Ambassador Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda and Youth Task Force Member Amani Aruri.

*At the conclusion of the press conference there will be a brief Q&A session.

Where: Attendees can join the event through the following link : https://zoom.us/j/91824548946?pwd=cFU1b2JPb0lrRkFmNFROZndYdGRQQT09

Meeting ID: 918 2454 8946

Password: 558557

Please confirm your presence at the following address: margaux.bonnet@diplomatie.gouv.fr 
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August 2, 2021 10:36 AM

Press release: More than 100 signatories launch Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action at the Generation Equality Forum | UN Women – Headquarters

Press release: More than 100 signatories launch Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action at the Generation Equality Forum | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Press release: More than 100 signatories launch Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action at the Generation Equality Forum

Date: Friday, July 2, 2021

Media Contact: christine.luby[at]unwomen.org

Paris, 2 July, 2021— More than 100 governments, United Nations entities, regional and civil society organizations, academic institutions and private sector groups today announced their signatory status to the Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action, during a launch event at the Generational Equality Forum in Paris.

As part of a five-year push for gender equality, the Compact intends to reshape peace and security and humanitarian action processes to systematically include women and girls in the decisions that impact their lives.

More than 25 years since the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and more than 20 years after the adoption on UN Security Council resolution 1325, public rhetoric on women’s rights has not been matched by concrete action and investment. Currently, not a single country can claim to have achieved gender equality.

This fact is starkly evident in the peace, security and humanitarian sectors where women are woefully underrepresented.

“Since 1992, about 70 per cent of all peace processes did not include women signatories or mediators. This isn't just shameful, it's ignorant. It makes our world more dangerous,” said Samantha Power, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, underscoring the White House’s commitment to the Compact.

Additionally, half a billion women in 31 countries and territories live in protracted crisis and are at increased risk of human rights violations. Research shows that humanitarian programmes targeted at women and girls are chronically underfunded.

“As we continue to grapple with a global pandemic, we are seeing women-led civil society organizations, and programmes that support women peacebuilders, at risk of disappearing at the very moment they are needed most…We call on all countries to become signatories to this Compact and to demonstrate their commitment to bridging the gap between aspiration and action,” said Simon Coveney, Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“My government stands in solidarity with the numerous global gender champions in this call to action to do more for our women and girls globally, said Julius Maada Bio, president of Sierra Leone. “Transformative actions across [the Compact’s] thematic areas can only be achieved with sustained political will and commitment.”

By joining the Compact, signatories pledge to take concrete action on existing commitments for women and girls in five key areas: increased financing for Women, Peace and Security and gender equality in humanitarian programming; meaningful participation in peace processes; economic security and access to resources; leadership and agency; protection of women’s rights in conflict and crisis.

The Compact will support these actions through an improved monitoring and accountability process.

The Compact is open to governments, regional and civil society organizations, UN entities, academic institutions and the private sector.

Current signatories to the Compact include: Austria, Canada, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Norway, Netherlands, Peru, Spain, Sierra Leone, State of Palestine, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, United States, African Union Commission Office of the Special Envoy on Women Peace and Security, ASEAN, ECCAS, OHCHR, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, OECD, OSCE, United Nations Department of Peace Operations, UNDP, UNHCR, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, United Nations Women's Peace and Humanitarian Fund, UN Women, as well as more than 65 civil society organizations.

About the Compact on Women, Peace, Security and Humanitarian Action
As one of the key outcomes of the Generation Equality Forum, the Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action is an inter-generational, inclusive movement for gender equality in women, peace and security and humanitarian processes.

For a full list of Compact signatories visit: www.wpshacompact.org
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August 4, 2021 1:18 PM

statement on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, 9 August 2021 | – Headquarters

statement on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, 9 August 2021 | – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

UN Women statement on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, 9 August 2021

Date: Monday, August 9, 2021

Today, on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we join the call for a new social contract that will let us rebuild our world in a way that is forward-looking, equitable and targeted to the most marginalized.

An ongoing legacy of exclusionary polices, underrepresentation in decision-making and corruption in land and natural resource management in many countries means that indigenous peoples often face a lifetime of poverty, exclusion and discrimination. For indigenous women and girls experiencing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, the effects can span generations and be exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. For example, the fact that indigenous women and girls are less likely to be medically insured makes them more susceptible to pre-existing conditions that aggravate the impact of COVID-19. Women who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination are also at greater risk of violence, and it is estimated that more than one in three indigenous women are raped during their lifetimes. Indigenous women also face what they describe as “environmental violence”: environmental degradation and extractive industries that pollute water resources and ancestral agricultural lands, with fatal health impacts.

Despite these challenges, indigenous women are leading efforts to preserve their distinct cultures and traditions and to build awareness of women’s human rights among their own communities. We saw this firsthand at UN Women’s Generation Equality Forum, where indigenous women offered blessings and brought unique expertise, energy and power to the discussions. The Generation Equality Global Acceleration Plan, centred on six Action Coalitions, includes strategies to amplify the voices of indigenous women and girls in climate justice, feminist movements and organizations that promote bodily autonomy, and at the Forum’s culmination in Paris the international community stepped forward with commitments to these issues and others, such as preventing violence against indigenous women and girls, and ensuring their rights to land. Following through on actions like these will be an important part of the new social contract that we must build together.

Today, UN Women renews its dedication and commitment to indigenous women and girls all over the world. We must continue to work together, including with women’s rights organizations such as the International Indigenous Women’s Forum, to ensure indigenous women have equal opportunities, a voice in decision-making and a chance to use their collective priorities and experiences to drive transformative change, now and for future generations.
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August 2, 2021 10:43 AM

How women migrants in Thailand are stopping trafficking and gender-based violence in their communities | UN Women – Headquarters

How women migrants in Thailand are stopping trafficking and gender-based violence in their communities | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
How women migrants in Thailand are stopping trafficking and gender-based violence in their communities
Migration can be a life-changing experience, but migrant workers are especially vulnerable to human trafficking and gender-based violence. San May Khine, a social worker in Thailand who was once a migrant worker herself, is supporting her fellow women migrant workers to move past experiences of violence and build a stable and bright future in a COVID-19 world.

Date: Thursday, July 29, 2021

San May Khine shares resources and equipment for coping with COVID-19 withwomen migrant workers. Photo courtesy of San May Khine
“Migration empowered me and made me who I am today,” explains San May Khine, a Project Officer with the Education and Identify Project at the MAP Foundation in Thailand. Born and raised in Myanmar, Khine became a domestic worker in Thailand at the age of 14.

“I was the youngest child in my family, and I wanted to help my parents. Back then, I earned 3,500 Thai Baht (about USD 100) per month. I was excited to have that money for me and my family in Myanmar,” she explains.

“However, the working environment was exploitative. I had to work for a whole day without any leave or proper care as a child. But I did not know I had rights, so I did not even think of claiming them.”

After being a domestic worker for two years, Khine worked in various fields, including on an orchid farm and at a construction site. “I gained more freedom as I earned more money. This was not possible without the support of the good people that I have met in Thailand.”

Finding strength in adversity
Migration can empower female migrant workers financially and help build their confidence. But, away from family and established community networks, many women struggle to find support when they need it. Khine found that the strength she gained through her migration experience allowed her to leave her abusive husband, and realized that she wanted to support others in her migrant community to also break free of gender-based violence.

San May Khine organizies a session on violence against women migrant workers, trafficking in persons and the rights of women migrant workers in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Photo courtesy of San May Khine
“I thought only men could do things like protect the family and earn money – the traditional roles of the father. My daughter was very little, and I was terrified to leave my husband, so I endured his abusive words and acts. But, one day, I realized that I was working like he did, earning money like he did, and I was protecting my daughter, probably better than he did.”

“I had no doubt that I could be the best parent for my daughter without him. It was all thanks to financial independence and the belief I had in myself, which I gained throughout my migration experience. When women are confident and know more about their rights, they will be more prepared to break out from the cycle of violence. My role is guiding them to realize their potential and supporting their brave journey to walk away from violence,” enthuses Khine.

Khine is now a social worker, and she is part of a multi-disciplinary team in Chiang Mai province that has a large migrant population from Myanmar. She works with migrant women and their children who have experienced violence and trafficking.

“I see my past in them. I know they have unlimited, yet unrealized, potential because of what women are ‘supposed to be’. While the COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult time for everyone, it is extremely difficult for women who have had to stay within abusive relationships. I’ve seen an increase in the number of cases of violence, and also an increase in the intensity violence.”

Migrant communities support their own
Khine’s social work is supported by the Safe and Fair Programme, jointly implemented by UN Women and ILO, in collaboration with UNODC, as part of the multi-year EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to Eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls. In Thailand, the programme is working with local civil society organizations in Mae Sot, Chiang Mai and Bangkok to strengthen coordination systems by developing local standard operating procedures.

San May Khine, in a traditional Shan dress, in front of Royal Park Rajapruek in Chiang Mai, Thailand after hosting a programme on the rights of the child and women. Photo courtesy of San May Khine
“Working with women like Ms. Khine is critical,” explains Kohnwilai Teppunkoonngam, the National Programme Coordinator of UN Women in Thailand. “Having experienced that life firsthand, they know the reality that women migrant workers are living and how best to help them.”

The programme has also been supporting peer network groups and civil society organizations across the ASEAN region to better support women migrant workers in whatever country they find themselves in. “Research shows that women migrant workers who are survivors of violence seek immediate support and help from friends, fellow women migrant workers or local civil society organizations,” notes Valentina Volpe, the Ending Violence against Women Specialist at the UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

“The Safe and Fair Programme encourages and supports the establishment of migrant women’s networks in countries of origin, transit and destination, and across countries, for peer support and information sharing.”

Khine says her work will not stop as long as there is someone who needs her. “I work to make the referral processes safer and more gender-responsive for women migrant workers and their children. I also provide interpretation support for women from Myanmar who do not speak Thai. My job is to make them more comfortable, confident, and safer. Their courage always inspires me. It is what keeps me moving… until the day every woman and girl is free from violence and trafficking.”
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August 2, 2021 10:43 AM

Your questions answered: Women and COVID-19 in India | UN Women – Headquarters

Your questions answered: Women and COVID-19 in India | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Your questions answered: Women and COVID-19 in India

Date: Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Vandana Gupta, a community worker with SEWA, checking body temperature as part of COVID-19 safety protocols at a ration distribution centre in Jahangir Puri, New Delhi, India. SEWA is a non-governmental organization that organizes and empowers women in the informal economy and home-based workers. SEWA Delhi also provides employment opportunities to home-based workers, education and skills training for women and girls, health clinics and community micro-finance initiatives. UN Women is working with women’s and civil society organizations like SEWA in India to support women and their families during the COVID-19 crisis. UN Women/ Prashanth Vishwanathan
The second wave of COVID-19 in India brought unprecedented losses. The poorest and the most marginalized, including women and girls, face more risks without the means to absorb the economic shocks and mitigate the health crisis. They are caring for their families, sustaining livelihoods and leading efforts to fight the pandemic, amidst the threat of a third wave.

UN Women and health sector experts answer some frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and how it impacts women and girls in India.

Are women and girls at more risk of contracting COVID-19 than men?
Over 30 million people have been infected by the coronavirus in India. COVID-19 can infect people of all gender and ages. However, some women and girls may be at higher risk because they are poorer and lack information and resources, or because they are at the front line as caregivers and workers in the health and service sectors.

In India, women make up a significant proportion of all healthcare workers and more than 80 per cent of nurses and midwives. Yet, when it comes to decision-making roles in the health sector, they are largely absent, and they get paid much less than their male counterparts. Only 13 per cent of the members of the national COVID-19 task force are women.

Since women in India spend more hours caring for children, the elderly and sick family members, and masks and other personal protective equipment are often designed and sized for men, women may be at risk of more exposure to the virus.

Right now, there is also a concern that less women are getting vaccinated than men in India – 17 per cent more men than women have been partially or fully vaccinated, and according to national data, there are only two states where more women are taking the vaccine. Because of the fact that women have less access to internet or smart phones, they may not be able to register for vaccination. Due to the prevailing patriarchal norms, women may find it difficult to go to the vaccination centres alone, and there may be preference for male family members to get vaccinated first. There are also myths that vaccines compromise women’s fertility. Unvaccinated women are at a high risk of contracting the disease, especially in the wake of the new variants.

How has COVID-19 impacted women’s employment in India?
Wage inequality and the burden of unpaid care has pushed more women out of employment and into poverty. Women’s earned income in India was just one-fifth that of men’s even before the pandemic. Globally, and in India, more women have lost jobs during COVID-19. A recent report by the Center for Sustainable Employment at Azim Premji University in India shows that during the first lockdown in 2020, only 7 per cent of men lost their jobs, compared to 47 per cent of women who lost their jobs and did not return to work by the end of the year. In the informal sector, women fared even worse. This year, between March and April 2021, rural Indian women in informal jobs accounted for 80 per cent of job losses.

Indian women also spend more time doing unpaid care work at home than men. On an average, they spend 9.8 times more time than men on unpaid domestic chores and 4.5 hours a day caring for children, elders and the sick. During the pandemic, their share of unpaid care work grew by nearly 30 per cent.

The socio-economic toll on women and girls have long-term consequences, unless policies and actions deliberately target and invest in women. There is a risk that the exodus of women from the workforce could become permanent, reversing not only gender equality gains, but GDP gains. UN Women data [1] also shows that more girls than boys were left out of school during the pandemic and 65 per cent of parents surveyed were reluctant to continue the education of girls and resorting to child marriages to save costs. This can create an entire generation of young women without education and employment opportunities.

Women and children from the community assembled at a Saheli Samanvay Kendra (SSK) community centre in Batla House, Okhla, New Delhi. SSK community centres have been set up by the Indian Government across the country to act as local incubation centres to promote women’s self-help groups, provide skills training and public health information. The SSKs operate within “Anganwadi” centres that are part of the Indian public health care system, providing basic health care services in rural and marginalized areas. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these centres have remained open, providing free meals, immunization and health check-ups for children, pregnant and lactating mothers, and helping women access government assistance programmes. In the SSK centre in Batla House, women also learn tailoring and sewing, computer skills and beautician training. Photo: UN Women/Ruhani Kaur
Has COVID-19 increased violence against women in India?
As the COVID-19 lockdowns trapped women at home with their abusers, domestic violence rates spiked throughout the world. In India, reports of domestic violence, child marriage, cyber violence and trafficking of women and girls increased within the first few months of the pandemic. According to the National Commission of Women data, India recorded a 2.5 times increase in domestic violence between February and May 2020. Some women’s organizations reported that in the first four phases of the lockdown, they received more reports of domestic violence than they had in the last ten years for a similar period of time. Others indicated that many women were unable to report the violence, as they had less privacy and means to access help.

The Indian Government classified domestic violence shelter and support services as “essential” – an important step in COVID-19 response. During the first and second waves of the pandemic, 700 One-Stop-Crisis centres remained open in India, supporting over 300,000 women who suffered abuse and needed shelter, legal aid and medical attention.

The current draft of the anti-trafficking bill that will be tabled soon in the Parliament is another welcome step, as it is set to increase penalties for perpetrators and make reporting of such crimes mandatory.

Should those who have recovered from COVID-19 not get vaccinated?
India has fully vaccinated 6.2 per cent of its population (as of 19 July 2021) and 17 per cent of its population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. However, the vaccination rate has been declining and currently averaging at around 4 million doses daily.

Leading health organizations around the world have confirmed that people who have recovered from COVID-19 can still get re-infected. There is not enough data available to say if and how long a body’s natural immunity acquired after surviving the disease will last or protect against other variants. Therefore, those who have recovered from COVID-19 should still get vaccinated.

Getting vaccinated is also likely to protect people from getting severely sick from the virus, including the highly infectious variants.

Shobha, a SEWA community mobilizer, who works at a ration distribution centre in Jahangir Puri, New Delhi, India. UN Women/Prashanth Vishwanathan
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for pregnant or menstruating women?
There is no evidence yet about COVID-19 vaccines causing harmful side effects in menstruating, pregnant or lactating women. There is also no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems. In fact, there is a higher risk of severe symptoms of COVID-19 if contracted during pregnancy.

WHO has also confirmed that women who are breastfeeding can safely take the vaccine and transmission of active COVID-19 disease-causing virus through breast milk has not been detected. There is evidence that vaccinating lactating mothers provides some protection to babies as the anti-bodies are passed on from mother to child.

For more information on COVID-19 prevention, safety and vaccination, please refer to the WHO website

How can we support women and girls in India during the COVID-19 crisis?
Every crisis impacts women and girls differently than men, because of existing gender norms and inequalities. To build back better and equal from the COVID-19 crisis, policy, investment and action must be shaped by women and girls and deliberately target them.

UN Women is working with the government and grassroots organizations on the ground to provide food, personal protective equipment for women, and cash assistance.

Through our communications campaigns, we are making sure that women get verified information about disease prevention and vaccination, and creating public awareness about gender-based violence. Through our programmes, we are making education and vocational training available for women through digital and distance learning, and helping them find pathways to employment and small businesses. We are working with our national partners to provide shelter, financial and legal assistance and medical help to survivors of gender-based violence in COVID-safe spaces.

UN Women is advocating with the government and private sector allies to invest in the formal and informal care economies to create sustainable jobs and boost women’s empowerment and income.

With your help, we can do much more. Donate to support women in South Asia today.

[1] UN Women survey conducted in 2020 in 14 states and 10 urban areas of India as part of a forthcoming report.
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August 2, 2021 10:42 AM

From where I stand: “It is everybody’s responsibility to take action” | UN Women – Headquarters

From where I stand: “It is everybody’s responsibility to take action” | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
From where I stand: “It is everybody’s responsibility to take action”
Miatta Darwolor is the Founder and Executive Director of Sister Aid Liberia, a women-led non-governmental organization that promotes young women and girls’ rights in political participation and leadership; works to prevent violence against women and girls; and advocates for women-friendly policies and laws.

Date: Friday, July 16, 2021

Miatta Darwolor. Photo: Ush Productions

I grew up in a poor family that was deeply rooted in tradition. Some of my sisters and aunties were members of the ‘Sande Society’, where female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced. Fortunately, I escaped the initiation – but that also meant I faced discrimination.

I depended on scholarship programmes to attend school. When I was in high school, I managed to support my mother to go to school with my income from part-time work. Her education opened her up to discussions on gender equality within our family; we agreed as a family to respect and value the rights of girls and boys equally. 

Since then, I have worked with several women’s organizations to raise awareness on women’s rights and the health implications of FGM. When I advocate for women’s rights, I am standing up for the rights of my sisters, mothers and daughters. My life experiences have strengthened my resilience and fortitude.

Through information from workshops, my family decided to never again ‘initiate’ girls through practices such as FGM, but rather promote girls’ education. Sister Aid Liberia is now working with other women’s organizations to push for the signing of the FGM bill into law in Liberia.

Poverty and our patriarchal system are the root causes of violence against women and girls in Liberia. If we empower women to stand up for their rights and take up leadership positions in all spheres of life, we will solve many societal issues.

There is also a need to bridge the gap between the young and older generations. We are not in competition and are equally relevant to the fight for gender equality in Liberia.

Advocating for gender equality should not only be the responsibility of women’s rights organizations; it is everybody’s responsibility to take action. More men need to realize that women’s rights are human rights, promote positive masculinity and discourage negative social norms, whether at home or work.”

Miatta Darwolor, 31, is a Liberian women’s and youth rights activist and development advocate. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Sister Aid Liberia, a women-led non-governmental organization that promotes rights advocacy and empowerment, research and policy engagements, and leadership and capacity building, mainly targeting women and girls across the country. UN Women supported Sister Aid Liberia’s participation in training on women’s political participation, following which they stepped it down to 50 women political aspirants and CSOs.
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August 2, 2021 10:42 AM

Address the interlocking crises of care, jobs and the environment to achieve the promise of the SDGs, say experts at the High-Level Political Forum | UN Women – Headquarters

Address the interlocking crises of care, jobs and the environment to achieve the promise of the SDGs, say experts at the High-Level Political Forum | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Address the interlocking crises of care, jobs and the environment to achieve the promise of the SDGs, say experts at the High-Level Political Forum

Date: Wednesday, July 14, 2021

At a side event of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, jointly organized by UN Women, UNDP and ILO on 6 July, expert panelists reflected on deep and interlocking crises and their disproportionate impacts on women and other marginalized groups. They identified transformative actions for an inclusive and equitable recovery.

Asa Regner, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, shared UN Women’s forthcoming Feminist Plan for Sustainability and Social Justice, which urges governments to strengthen the care economy, create sustainable livelihoods and support a ‘gender just’ transition to environmental sustainability as part of COVID recovery. Regner welcomed recent financial commitments at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris and emphasized that “financing is a feminist issue, since it is about power and priorities,” urging governments and donors to strengthen gender-responsive budgeting.

Busi Sibeko, an Economist at the Institute for Economic Justice, South Africa, contextualized the current moment within the colonial history of extractivism, the contemporary flows of wealth from the global south to global north, and an international financial architecture that privileges profits at all costs. She called for progressive taxation and debt cancellation to increase fiscal space, including for social protection measures which are critical in the COVID-19 response.

Gita Sen, distinguished Professor at the Public Health Foundation of India, highlighted the pressing need to waive intellectual property rights on vaccines, therapeutics and personal protective equiptment as an “act of global social justice.” She urged redoubling of efforts to strengthen health systems, including to ensure that community health workers, who are mostly women, are adequately paid and recognized for their vital work.

Armine Yalnizyan, an Economist at the Federal Task Force on Women in the Economy in Canada, was unequivocal in saying that “sustainable development is not a choice, but the only vehicle that can get us into the future.” She stressed measures to reduce distributional inequalities, support care as infrastructure of the economy, and ensure that all essential workers have decent jobs.

On the issue of decent work, Paola Simonetti, Deputy Director, Economic and Social Policy Department, International Trade Union Confederation, called for investments in sustainable infrastructure and the care economy, and improved working conditions for women workers, including by preventing gender-based violence and harassment, promoting equal pay for work of equal value, and ensuring equal parental leave policies.

Looking to the future, Mariama Williams, Principal, Integrated Policy Research Institute and a Director at the Institute of Law and Economics, Jamaica, stated that an effective, just transition to a low-carbon economy is paramount for gender equality. It must include equitable access to climate financing, green jobs for women, and acknowledgement of women’s contributions to low-carbon economies.

In closing, Raquel Lagunas, Head of UNDP’s Gender Team, emphasized that government responses to the pandemic had mostly failed to address gender inequality adequately, noting that prioritizing gender equality is a choice that all should make. Beate Andres, Director of ILO’s New York office, recognized the importance of an intersectional approach and how gender equality and women and girls’ well-being are integral to a green and inclusive socio-economic recovery.

The session highlighted the interwoven nature of the crises and argued that transforming the economic systems that have precipitated these crises is essential to reduce inequalities, prioritize care for people over profit, and bring about a gender-just, sustainable future.
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August 2, 2021 10:41 AM

Leave no one behind in efforts to build back better | UN Women – Headquarters

Leave no one behind in efforts to build back better | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Leave no one behind in efforts to build back better

Date: Friday, July 9, 2021

At the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, UN Women convened a high-level dialogue to highlight what is needed to ensure transformative change in the lives of women and girls with disabilities as the world accelerates the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and builds back better from COVID-19.

Even among women and girls, who have been disproportionately affected by the impacts of the pandemic, those with disabilities have fared worse due to the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination that they are subjected to.

Participants shared key solutions and recommendations on integrating a Leave No One Behind approach and focusing on disability and inclusion across the six thematic areas of the Action Coalitions and the Compact for Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action. In addition, the event highlighted the compounded impact of gender and the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls with disabilities across two regions: Asia Pacific and Eastern and Southern Africa.

Haidi Zhang, Chairperson of China Disabled Persons' Federation, highlighted the efforts of the Chinese Government towards inclusion of women and girls with disability, including providing rehabilitation assistance and skill building for persons with disabilities and building state-level rehabilitation centres.

“Economic empowerment is vital for the development of women and girls with disabilities. The Chinese Government has incorporated Disability Affairs into the national development plan by granting living allowances to persons with disabilities in financial difficulties, including nursing support for those with severe disabilities. By the end of 2020, more than 7 million persons with disabilities have been lifted out of poverty,” said Zhang.

Florence Ndagire, Chairperson of the UN Women regional Civil Society Advisory Group for Eastern and Southern Africa and the first visually impaired female lawyer in Uganda emphasized the strides made about the opportunities that exist to empower women and girls with disabilities: “Uganda has been able to demonstrate great achievements to secure and advance the rights of persons with disabilities through constitutional recognition of the inherent dignity of persons with disabilities and guarantees affirmative actions through the passing of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 2020, which recognises the right of women with disabilities; and the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities without reservation.”

Tobeka Lwana, Director at Cultivation Point and Do Good Circle, highlighted the need of accessibility, technology, financing and language as the key tools to advance the cause of women and girls with disabilities.

“Exclusion cannot continue to be the norm,” said Lwana. “We need to incorporate the human rights of persons with disabilities into the main development conversations and agendas.”

Additionally, Abia Akram, CEO, National Forum of Women with Disabilities (NFWWD), Pakistan, and Co-Chair, Asia Pacific Women with Disabilities Network, recommended that the Generation Equality Forum and the Action Coalitions take a multi-track approach, including women with disabilities and their contributions in all aspects.

“Disability rights are human rights,” said Akram. “When we talk about the leadership of women and girls with disabilities at the Generation Equality Forum, we can provide the advisory role and unique space for them to contribute at all levels.”

Maria Soledad Cisternas, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility addressed the unique issue and disproportionate effects of discrimination against women and girls living with disabilities. She further highlighted the need to promote security and a life of dignity through the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, emphasizing: “There are synergies between the CRPD and the Agenda 2030, particularly Articles 6 and 25 on Women with disabilities; and both documents are important for UN member states to ensure gender and human rights for all.”

The event concluded with a video message from Sophie Cluzel, French Secretary of State in charge of People with Disabilities, underlining the need for a society which is inclusive, free of stereotyping and is with all people and for all people.

“In France, we place at the heart of our public policies those issues that originate from the most vulnerable sections and from the field,” said Cluzel. “And without [the contribution of] women with disabilities and their representatives, our policies will not be comprehensive.”
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August 2, 2021 10:41 AM

From active funding to catalytic action | UN Women – Headquarters

From active funding to catalytic action | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
From active funding to catalytic action
The private sector and philanthropic foundations announce bold investments and actions for gender equality

Date: Thursday, July 8, 2021

The Private Sector Commitment Showcase, a high-level event held on Friday, 2 July, on the sidelines of the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, was the premier moment where more than 70 businesses demonstrated and unveiled concrete commitments to gender equality in critical areas of women’s empowerment.

During her opening remarks, the Minister Delegate for Gender Equality in France, Elisabeth Moreno emphasized the importance of the private sector’s inclusion as part of the French Government’s vision for the Generation Equality Action Coalitions. She remarked, “We believe in the power of companies to enable the economic emancipation of women. One actor or one compartment of society alone will not solve the gender equality challenge”.

Minister Moreno expressed that with collective action we can look forward to a world in which girls are able to fulfill their professional aspirations, where they are not confronted to invisible glass ceilings, where they are able to get funding based on their merit, and finally a world in which female leadership is encouraged. She called on CEOs from across the globe to join forces, and follow in the footsteps of those who have already made bold commitments.

Other speakers included business leaders (PayPal, Estee Lauder, Women Leadership Capital, P&G, KEPSA, Cartier, Unilever) who discussed innovative ways to take a meaningful role in the sustainable development agenda and announced their commitments focused on new and ambitious investments and institutional change measures. The commitments are linked to the six thematic areas covered by the Generation Equality Action Coalitions, and support the creation of gender-responsive marketplaces, tackle gender inequalities in the workplace, and bridge the gender digital divide.

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), an umbrella body of approximately 400 private sector entities in Kenya, announced their commitment to the Action Coalitions. CEO Carole Kariuki Karuga stated that the alliance already works in collaboration with the government and expressed, “There is no way that private sector would thrive if the country is not thriving in development and so matters like gender-based violence are very dear to the private sector [in Kenya] and we are committed to playing our roles [for prevention and response]”.

Businesses also reflected on lessons learned to scale up their ongoing commitment. Procter & Gamble highlighted their long-lasting, unwavering dedication to gender equality and announced their commitment to advance women’s economic justice and rights through their global value chain by spending; “Choosing equal is a societal imperative. Equality benefits all of us and it will take all of us - public sector, private sector, and civil society to make the progress we need”.

In another session at the Forum, philanthropic foundations stepped up to announce their active participation in financing gender equality and the key role of innovative partnership models to build back equal, better, and different.

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), CEO, Kate Hampton highlighted the intersectional and systems-level change needed to ensure a gendered recovery. CIFF committed USD 500 million to the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and the Economic Justice Rights Action Coalitions. On their involvement in the SRHR Coalition, Hampton expressed, “Our commitment to SRHR focuses on scaling more gender-transformative approaches to contraception, safe abortion, and post-abortion care. A key piece of our work is to support girls and young women with their decision-making – with better access to self-care tools that remove barriers such as HIV self-testing or self-injectable contraceptives. This has the potential to be gender transformative because it enables women and girls to take control of their own bodies and their lives”.

The Ford Foundation honed in on how it’s building partnerships to leverage more and better funding. The Ford Foundation announced that it will be allocating USD 420 million over the next five years towards the global acceleration plan. Executive Vice President Hilary Pennington added, “The most concrete way of ensuring that our resources actually reach women is by partnering directly with organizations working on the frontlines. So in our work in India, South Africa, Nigeria, Mexico, Brazil, and other places – we, like others, are directing multi-year general support funding to women’s rights organizations in those contexts and giving them the flexibility they need to see around the corner and be able to be the first move rand as they see changes that are required by COVID and others”.

Other bold commitment came from Women Moving Millions (USD 100 million); Women’s Funding Network which committed to raising USD 100 million over the next 5 years, the Ford Foundation Black Feminist Fund which focuses on significantly increasing funds for Black Feminist Organizations across Africa, Europe and the America and the newly established Co-Impact Gender Fund which unites philanthropists, women-led organizations, feminist movements and in-country partners to advance gender equality. The Fund aims to disburse USD 1 billion over 10 years, supporting organizations working in the Global South to transform systems, advance women’s leadership at all levels, and shift harmful gender norms. The session also showcased speakers and commitments from The Open Society Foundation, Fondation Chanel, Edelgive Foundation.

CEO Mark Suzman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation concluded the session and reflected, “Our collective investments in the GEF have laid the groundwork for genuinely meaningful change. The Action Coalitions have leveraged the best ideas from sectors that don’t always come together to collaborate… and together we have built a platform to advocate for more and better resources that the gender community desperately needs over the long haul”. The BMGB commitment USD 2.1 billion over the next five years to advance women's economic empowerment, strengthen women and girls' health and family planning, and accelerate women's leadership.

UN Women highlighted the importance of momentum in such process, and Director and co-lead of the Action Coalitions Sarah Hendriks emphasized the need to “continue working together to be accountable for delivering on these commitments, and to share the stories of real impact, in real time, encouraging more to join us”.

To learn more about how to join and become an Action Coalition commitment-maker, visit: https://forum.generationequality.org/action-coalitions 
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August 2, 2021 10:40 AM

Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa Global Award for Women’s Empowerment launched on the sidelines of the Generation Equality Forum | UN Women – Headquarters

Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa Global Award for Women’s Empowerment launched on the sidelines of the Generation Equality Forum | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Press release: Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa Global Award for Women’s Empowerment launched on the sidelines of the Generation Equality Forum
UN Women kicks-off the call for applications for the second edition of the Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa Global Award for Women’s Empowerment in partnership with the Supreme Council for Women of the Kingdom of Bahrain, to recognize the work of governments, the private sector, civil society organizations and individual champions towards empowering women and girls worldwide.

Date: Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Media contacts:
Diego De La Rosa, diego.delarosa[at]unwomen.org
Nourhan El-Nagdy, nourhan.elnagdy[at]unwomen.org

Originally published on UN Women's regional website for the Arab States and North Africa

On the sidelines of the Generation Equality Forum co-hosted by the Governments of France and Mexico, UN Women in cooperation and partnership with the Supreme Council for Women of the Kingdom of Bahrain, hosted a virtual event to launch the second edition of the Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa Global Award for Women’s Empowerment.

The award aims to encourage and promote worldwide efforts for the empowerment of women and girls, while highlighting the achievements of individuals and institutions in this field. It recognizes achievements towards women’s empowerment across four categories: Public Sector, Private Sector, Civil Society Organizations and Individual Champions. The winner in each category will be awarded USD 100,000 to further sustain initiatives that support women.

HRH Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al-Khalifa noted: "We are pleased with the initial response and impact of this Award, which was adopted by UN Women. We appreciate their valuable input along with its esteemed Jury Members, to accurately position and define the Award’s goals, allowing its participants to have the opportunity to promote and publicize their efforts in supporting women’s progress and enhance their role in advancing their society, and for us to celebrate these distinguished initiatives.”

“The Award shines a spotlight on the need for all segments of society to collaborate on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and on Sustainable Development Goal 5 in particular, to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,” said Anita Bhatia, UN Women Deputy Executive Director. 

“I kindly invite institutions and individuals worldwide to share their success stories on such a platform that welcomes and applauds innovation that brings in new approaches to bridge gaps in favour of women of all ages and in various fields; while ensuring the sustainability of these initiatives during times of peace, stability, conflicts, disasters, and/or pandemics,” said H.E. Hala Al-Ansari, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Women of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

During the online panel discussion, Ms. Yenny Wahid, Director of the Wahid Foundation from Indonesia said: “Empowering women brings great benefits to society. Only by empowering women we can achieve all the development goals we have set for humankind.”

Panelist Abdulrahman Jawahery, President of Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company from Bahrain, alluded to the role of private sector in advancing women’s economic empowerment: “Companies, by embracing and supporting women as workers, consumers, producers, and suppliers; act as a catalyst for change and a supportive partner in progress of women’s empowerment.”

Speaking at the panel, actress, model, and UN Women Asia-Pacific Regional Goodwill Ambassador Cindy Sirinya Bishop from Thailand, referred to how individuals can support women’s empowerment: “In this age of social media, individuals have the power to reach such a wider audience and many influencers are now using their platforms to empower, inspire and educate.”                               

Interested parties can apply or nominate an organization or individual, by completing the online form available on the Award’s official website www.womenglobalaward.org/en, and uploading the required supporting files. Applications will be accepted until March 2022, with the winners announced later that year.

The inaugural winners of the Award , announced in 2019 were:

Public Sector: Abu Dhabi Police Force (UAE), for its initiative “Empowering Women for a Secure Society" to support and empower women in the police force at the local, regional and global levels.
Private Sector: Mahila Sahayatra Microfinance Bittiya Sanstha Ltd. (Nepal), for its initiative to empower disadvantaged women in Nepal’s mountainous region through access to microfinance services.
Civil Society Organization: Sustainable Development for All (Kenya), for its initiative “Use Solar Save Lives” to increase access to clean and affordable energy in rural communities to help families benefit from sustainable development.
Individual Champions: Dr. Kalpana Sankar (India), founder of Hand in Hand India, for providing digital and financial services to support livelihood activities by women entrepreneurs.
Join the conversation: Follow @unwomenarabic and @scwbahrain on Twitter and Instagram and share your messages using the hashtags #GlobalAward4Women and #SCW20.
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August 2, 2021 10:40 AM

Generation Equality Forum Action Coalitions launch transformative commitments for gender equality | UN Women – Headquarters

Generation Equality Forum Action Coalitions launch transformative commitments for gender equality | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Generation Equality Forum Action Coalitions launch transformative commitments for gender equality

Date: Friday, July 2, 2021

At launch events of the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalitions on 2 July 2021, Leaders and Commitments Makers showcased their catalytic commitments to make irreversible gender equality progress by 2026.

The powerful commitments and investments announced by the Action Coalitions mark the beginning of a five-year action journey to foster action and renew movements for gender equality and women’s rights.

Following the Action Coalition launch events on 1 July 2021, Leaders and Commitment Makers, including governments, private sector, civil society, youth, philanthropy, and international organizations, from the Action Coalitions on Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), Feminist Action for Climate Justice and Feminist Movements and Leadership showcased their commitments.

Some highlights from the commitments include:

USD 1.4 billion in family planning over the next five years by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
USD 420 million to the Action Coalitions on Gender-based Violence, Economic Justice, Tech and Innovation, Bodily Autonomy and SRHR, and Feminist Movements and Leadership by the Ford Foundation
Double core contributions to the United Nations Population Fund to support flexible funding for sexual and reproductive health services to survivors and USD one million to UN Women to engage men and boys in gender equality by the Government of Iceland
Supporting feminist movements and leadership
At the launch event for the Action Coalition on Feminist Movements and Leadership, commitments were made by governments, women’s, feminist and youth-led organizations, international organizations, foundations and the private sector. Together, these commitments aim to ensure that, by 2026, feminist leaders, movements, and organizations, including those led by trans, intersex and nonbinary people, indigenous women, young feminists and other historically excluded people, are supported to become sustainable, can carry out their work without fear of reprisal, and advance gender equality, peace and human rights for all.

Action Coalition Leaders presented commitments—both live and through pre-recorded video statements—that will catalyze long-term change for women and girls around the world.

Karina Gould, Minister of International Development at the Government of Canada, announced a commitment to mobilize a minimum of CAD 110 million in funding and other direct support for feminist organizations, women’s funds, and movements over the next 5 years. “We are dedicated to supporting diverse feminist movements,” said Minister Gould.

Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Chile, announced that, “Together with other UN leaders of Generation Equality, my office has committed to actively promoting a safe and inclusive civic space. We will take concrete progressive steps for the meaningful participation of feminist movements and women human rights defenders of all ages and in all their diversity, online and offline.”

A third example of the far-reaching commitments made for feminist movements and leadership was announced by Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Martin Chungong. “The IPU commits to promote gender-sensitive parliaments that drive the feminist agenda and are sexism free and family-friendly,” Chungong said in his remarks. “This starts with review and reform processes.”

Ensuring bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights
Transformative, multi-stakeholder commitments were also announced at the launch event of the Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) to empower women and girls, in all their diversity, to exercise their SRHR and make autonomous decisions about their bodies.

“We are focused on developing new and improved contraceptive technologies that meet the needs of more women and girls, investing in innovative strategies to fully inform women and girls about their contraceptive options,” said Melinda Gates, Co-Founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in a video segment that announced the organization’s commitment of USD 1.4 billion in family planning over the next five years.

Among commitments from Member States, private sector, civil society, youth, philanthropy and international organizations, Alvaro Bermejo, Director General of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), stated that Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands have agreed to work together with IPPF in realizing universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights and to comprehensive sexuality education. "IPPF commits to accelerate universal access to safe abortion care, centred on three principles: Rights based, reproductive justice, and gender transformative,” Bermejo said.

Furthermore, commitments to increasing the delivery of comprehensive sexuality education, increasing the scope of contraception and access to abortion as a fundamental women’s right, reducing the number of child marriages and increasing support for autonomous feminist women's organizations were announced by President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski in a video segment. “It is our obligation to show political will and do continuous joint activities to provide conditions for empowerment of women and girls on a global level,” said President Pendarovski.

Furthering feminist action for climate justice
Concluding the Action Coalition launch events, speakers at the Action Coalition on Feminist Action for Climate Justice outlined commitments that increase financing for gender-just climate solutions, enable women and girls to lead a transition to a green economy, and build the resilience of women and girls to climate impacts and disaster risk, including through land rights and tenure security.

“It’s important that we find ways to look forward and commit to action, and this Generation Equality Action Coalition is grounded in hope and optimism for a future that builds on collective action with women and girls in their full diversity at the centre,” said Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland and Moderator of the event.

Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica, stated that, with support of FLASCO Costa Rica and the United Nations Development Programme, Costa Rica will, “By 2022, have a National Action Plan for gender and climate change covering tourism, energy, infrastructure, agriculture, forestry, mobility and transport,” among other commitments to Improve women’s access to funding schemes for climate and environmental change, develop toolkits for capacity-building in lead entities for gender mainstreaming in climate action, and promote gender-sensitive education that enables the inclusion and retention of girls and young women in science and technology for the environment.

Gilbert Houngbo, President of the International Fund For Agricultural Development, announced a commitment ensure that, by 2024, ensure that at least 35 per cent of IFAD’s new projects will be gender transformative. “The nexus between climate change and gender equality is at the core of the Sustainable Development Agenda,” said President Houngbo.

This story has been updated with corrected figures on 8 July.
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August 2, 2021 10:38 AM

Global leaders advocate for male accountability in the fight to end violence against women at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris | UN Women – Headquarters

Global leaders advocate for male accountability in the fight to end violence against women at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Global leaders advocate for male accountability in the fight to end violence against women at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris

Date: Friday, July 2, 2021

At a high-level event on the final day of the landmark Generation Equality Forum in Paris, UN leaders, feminist and youth activists, policy makers, and influencers called on men everywhere to step up and take accountability in the fight to end violence against women.

The urgency of this call is set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has triggered escalations in gender-based violence against women and girls. Across the globe, physical and sexual violence, domestic abuse, femicide, trafficking, child marriage and female genital mutilation have risen exponentially, exceeding already alarming levels. For instance, in 2020, calls to helplines increased up to five-fold in some countries during the first weeks of the coronavirus outbreak, while in others, women were unable to seek help, sheltered in place with their abusers.

“Gender-based violence in all its complexities is an expression of the existing power structures based on age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion and culture”, explained Diipa Khosla, Model and Co-founder of Post for Change, an organization that is committing to building a coalition of social media influencers to point out injustices, emphasize concepts of mutual respect, and push forward notions of equality.

Speakers at the event highlighted the important role that men and boys have to play in ending gender inequalities. “I am going to make sure that I set a great example for my son and for my brother. I will not only tell them how to live but also show them how to live, so that that my daughter doesn't have to be protected. So that my daughter can feel safe”, explained Siya Kolisi, South African Rugby Captain and UN Global Advocate for the Spotlight Initiative.

By taking on responsibility and accountability, men and boys can challenge male privilege and harmful masculinities, and the violent ways that these norms manifest in society. “My call to men around the world is they should know that ending violence against women is not a woman's issue, it's a global issue. It's everyone’s problem and men should hold themselves accountable,” said UN Women Regional Goodwill Ambassador for Africa, Jaha Dukureh.

The discussion explored efforts required from men, organizations, and political leaders to achieve change, urging these actors to redouble their efforts. Referring to gender-based violence as “the national emergency” for all countries, UN Secretary General António Guterres urged UN Member States to join him in support of proven solutions and ongoing efforts to end violence against women and girls, such as the Spotlight Initiative, which is “showing that it is possible to deliver high-quality results for women and girls even during the constraints of the pandemic.”

The Generation Equality Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence is leading a major effort to secure commitments to end violence against women. “Iceland has taken on a leading role in the Action Coalition on Gender Based Violence”, said Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, President of Iceland, highlighting the catalytic of the work of the Action Coalitions. “We have seen first-hand how society progresses when the power imbalance between women and men is reduced, and we wish to see the same progress achieved globally.” Iceland has committed USD 1 Million to enhance work on prevention and response to gender-based violence through engaging men and boys and transforming harmful masculinities.

On 1 July, the Leaders and Commitment-Makers of the Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence gathered at the Generation Equality Forum to announce their game-changing commitments to ensure that women and girls can live free from violence

A panel discussion on 2 July explored the role that police forces must play in combating gender-based violence. Worldwide, only 1 out of 10 female survivors of violence seek help from the police, often due to victim-blaming attitudes of male police officers. Pamela Zaballa, Global Executive Director of NO MORE, explained that gender-responsive policing presents an important solution, stating “a gender-responsive police force in every interaction demonstrates that domestic and sexual violence are crimes, and that these crimes are taken seriously”.

The session laid out a vision for the future characterised by gender equality, respect and non-violence. “Violence against women and girls will not be fought if we do not act together. I invite you to join me in commitment and action to end violence against women and girls today, so that our future can be better,” urged the Rapper, MC Soffia.
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August 2, 2021 10:38 AM

Trailblazing leaders commit to end gender-based violence, drive equality in technology and innovation, and ensure economic justice and rights for women and girls at the Generation Equality Forum | ...

Trailblazing leaders commit to end gender-based violence, drive equality in technology and innovation, and ensure economic justice and rights for women and girls at the Generation Equality Forum | ... | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Trailblazing leaders commit to end gender-based violence, drive equality in technology and innovation, and ensure economic justice and rights for women and girls at the Generation Equality Forum

Date: Friday, July 2, 2021

On 1 July, Action Coalition Leaders and Commitment Makers gathered at the Generation Equality Forum to launch ground-breaking commitments to end gender-based violence, drive equality in technology and innovation, and to ensure economic justice and rights for women and girls everywhere.

Twenty-six years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, progress on gender equality is still too slow. Public rhetoric has not been matched by action, financing, or implementation. The Generation Equality Action Coalitions are mobilizing governments, women’s, feminist and youth-led organizations, international organizations, and the private sector to create game-changing, concrete actions that tackle the most intractable barriers to gender equality.

The thematic events on 1 July showcased the work of the Action Coalitions on Gender-Based Violence, Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality, and Economic Justice and Rights. The Action Coalitions have identified the most catalytic actions and investments needed to advance gender equality in their “Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality”. This plan, which was launched on 30 June at the opening of the Forum, is a 5-year roadmap for the achievement of gender equality.

Ending gender-based violence

Gender-based violence is a global emergency. Even pre-COVID, 1 in 3 women experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly perpetrated by an intimate partner. The pandemic has further exacerbated these existing inequalities, with domestic violence increasing by upwards of 33 per cent in some countries, leading to what UN Secretary-General António Guterres called a ‘shadow pandemic’ for women and girls around the world.

However, the escalating violence has not just been limited to the domestic sphere, as feminist activist Suneeta Dhar, speaking on behalf of the Global Coalition on Inclusive and Safe Spaces and Cities for Women and Girls, pointed out. Sexual violence, discrimination, harassment and exclusion of women and girls also continues in public spaces within both rural and urban areas. In response to the rising crisis, the Global Coalition on Inclusive and Safe Spaces and Cities for Women committed to strengthening ongoing work to end gender-based violence in public cities, and to create inclusive and safe spaces in cities for women and girls.

Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, kicked-off the Leaders commitment segment by pledging over USD 260 Million to tackling gender-based violence and building an infrastructure for women’s rights organizations. “If we are to address the issues of gender-based violence, we have to focus on the infrastructure of women-led organizations and grassroots organizations, so they can have the resources to be resilient in the face of the obstacles and challenges that they are facing,” said Walker.

Participants stressed on eliminating violence at all levels, from the family level to the institutional and societal level. “Ending gender-based violence and realizing gender equality will require a concerted effort from all sectors of society, for many years to come,” said Minister Wendy Morton, Minister for European Neighbourhood and Americas at FCDO.

The bold commitments from 17 Action Coalition Leaders sent the clear message that their holistic and transformative vision of change is backed by very concrete targets.

“Commitment is not just about financing, but also having an accountability framework for implementation and being able to track results. We are committing to implementation and being held accountable as a government on these gender-based violence commitments,” said Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary of Kenya, when announcing Kenya’s national strategy and resources to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.

Achieving economic justice and rights for all women and girls

The far-reaching economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls was an overarching theme in discussions on economic justice and rights. Women’s workloads at home have intensified and 47 million more women are predicted to fall into extreme poverty as a result of the economic fallout of the pandemic. A global economic system that’s gender-responsive, and equally benefits women was underscored as a priority by all leaders.

Transforming the care economy was another priority endorsed by Action Coalition leaders and demonstrated by a powerful collective commitment to the Global Alliance for Care, an initiative launched at the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico in March by Mexico’s National Institute for Women (INMUJERES) in partnership with UN Women. The alliance marks a bold effort to confront and reduce the care burden that severely impedes women’s economic opportunity. The commitments to the alliance included gradual and progressive financing of a universal and sustainable care system and awareness campaigns to equal sharing of care work. “We cannot carry on having women and girls working twice as much and not sharing the responsibilities that are the responsibilities of all”, said Nadine Gasman, President of the National Women’s lnstitute of Mexico.

Commitments ranged from implementing progressive laws and policies to address violence and harassment in the world of work, ensuring women’s access to land rights and strengthening education systems for women and girls.

“Convention 190 of the ILO says that there is no place for violence and harassment in the world of work”, said Guy Ryder, Director General of the ILO. “Today I give you a clear commitment to deliver on that promise. In the coming 5 years the ILO will intensify its efforts to advocate and support an effective implementation of convention 190.”

“Equal access to productive resources acts as a catalyst, because it increases women’s independence and negotiating power in all areas of life”, emphasized Maria Flachsbarth, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Government of Germany. In order to bring that catalytic effect to life, one of Germany’s ground-breaking commitments is to make more than 30 million euros available over the next five years via the global ‘Responsible Land Policy’ project, to promote secure land rights, especially for women, in nine countries.

Livia Leu, Secretary of State of the Government of Switzerland announced the Government of Switzerland’s commitment to provide a substantial increase in core funding for the Global Partnership for Education.

Empowering women to access, lead and innovate in technology
The event on Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality showcased inspiring women innovators that have broken barriers, innovated for social good, and paved the way for other women to thrive.

Sebastián Piñera Echenique, President of Chile, announced the first commitment as an Action Coalition leader to help ensure that other brilliant women can pursue their aspirations and contribute to advancing the world through technology and innovation. “Today I am proud to announce that Chile will launch a national gender equality policy in the world of science, technology and innovation with the aim of achieving full equality of opportunities in these areas,” said Echenique.

The Leaders and Commitment Makers presented a united vision of a future in which women and girls in all their diversities have equal access to opportunities to use, lead, and design technology and innovation. However, for meaningful progress in this area, the world needs to address the significant digital divide that persists in low- and middle-income countries and entrenched gender norms that continue to limit the aspirations of young women and girls.

Global Fund for Women, in partnership with the Numun Fund and other Commitment Makers, committed to mobilize at least USD 5 Million over the next five years to fund gender justice movements and feminist activists in the Global South who are advancing technology and innovation.

“The bottom line is that technology must work for gender justice, not against it,” said Latanya Mapp Frett, President and CEO of Global Fund for Women. “Feminist technology innovators in the global south and east are creating technologies to help advance democracy and human rights. Global fund for Women is alongside them with funding and support.”

Finland Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Pekka Haavisto, acknowledged that “technology is creating countless opportunities for us, but it is also create risks and cause harm”. Over 85 per cent of women globally have witnessed or experienced online violence, with young women facing heightened risk. Finland has partnered with UNICEF, the U.S. Government Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, and several ACT&I commitment makers, to pilot and build an innovative virtual safe space designed for girls and women in humanitarian settings.

“This virtual safe spaces platform is about putting human-centred design squarely in the centre of this process and in the hands of girls and women, because they know their own digital realities, which tech tools bring them joy, and which bring them opportunity and which ones do not,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director.

“I think part of what is different about the Generation Equality Forum process,” reflected UN Women Deputy Executive Director Anita Bhatia, “is that all of these commitments are actually underlined by financial commitments as well. We understand that the scale of the problem is so large that unless we drive new resources towards the agenda, we simply will not be able to solve the problems we all know exist.”

On 2 July, trailblazing actors from the other three Action Coalitions and from the Compact on Women, Peace and Security will be taking the stage at the Generation Equality Forum to launch their shared plan of transformative actions.

For more information, register and attend the Generation Equality Forum in Paris (30 June – 2 July).

Related Links:
For more information about the Generation Equality Forum in Paris (30 June – 2 July) and news coverage, please visit UN Women website
The Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality is a transformative roadmap designed by the Generation Equality Action Coalition leaders to advance concrete results in the six Action Coalition themes over five years. Plan ►
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August 2, 2021 10:36 AM

Women mayors commit to far-reaching and transformative actions to advance gender equality in cities around the world | UN Women – Headquarters

Women mayors commit to far-reaching and transformative actions to advance gender equality in cities around the world | UN Women – Headquarters | Women's Economic Empowerment & UN Women | Scoop.it
Women mayors commit to far-reaching and transformative actions to advance gender equality in cities around the world

Date: Friday, July 2, 2021

UN Women, with support from United Cities and Local Government (UCLG), co-organized a high-level dialogue at the Generation Equality Forum, to highlight local commitments to gender equality in cities across the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded all aspects of gender inequality and rolled back hard-won gains. In building back better, the world needs women’s leadership. Cities and local communities are a fundamental part of the efforts to fast-track actions towards a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable future for all.

Women around the world have excelled in their role as mayors responding to COVID-19 and addressing other challenges. Many women leaders have demonstrated empathy and compassion and put in place innovative solutions to address the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women and girls.

“Cities are essential. We need local cities and regional governments to join Generation Equality, because we know transformation starts there, where people live, where they identify, where they have their families and their jobs” said Asa Regner, UN Women Deputy Executive Director. “This is an opportunity to learn about the responses to place and demand higher levels of gender equality, and how the mayors’ leadership and concrete actions are supporting it. UCLG and UN Women are making commitments and we have called for global feminist municipal movements to put care at the center of the COVID-19 recovery”, she added.

During the event, the mayors from, Istanbul (Turkey), Tunis (Tunisia), Bogota (Colombia), Odienné (Cote d’Ivoire), Dhangadi Sub-Metropolitan City (Nepal), and Charlotte (USA) revealed far-reaching and transformative commitments geared to address the underrepresentation of women in decision-making, inadequate financing and protection for feminist movements and rights activists, violence against women and girls online and offline, obstacles to women’s economic empowerment and access to economic rights, climate change, the digital gap and more.

“One of our greatest prides is, right in the middle of the entire pandemic, having been able to build the first care system in a capital city. The great challenge of our time is not to allow women to be relegated to unpaid care work again in this economic and poverty crisis that the world is facing, particularly the developing world due to the pandemic ", emphasized Claudia López Hernández, Mayor of Bogota.

Participants also spoke about how working with women’s groups and feminist movements in “all their diversity”, especially young feminists, and young feminist-led and girl-led movements, are transforming their communities, promoting innovation and social justice, while addressing negative social norms and stereotypes.

Ekrem İmamoğlu, Mayor of Istanbul introduced a strong commitment for a gender equal Istanbul activating a series of tools in a holistic approach, which includes a 24/7 multilingual women support hotline and women consultancy unit. Services will ensure accessible and inclusive multillingual services for disabled and immigrant women. “There is no way out, except full equality for all” he added.

The event also covered the issue of women and girls’ safety in cities and public spaces, recognizing the continuum of violence against women and girls in private and public spaces, and provided examples of best practices from UN Women’s Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces Global Flagship Initiative, a global program that spans 53 cities in 32 countries now.

“Women in our city have not yet achieved substantive gender equality. Therefore, Dhangadhi Sub-Metropolitan City is moving ahead in a more strategic manner by developing policies on responding to gender-based violence. These policies focus on ensuring women’s access to justice, on women’s income generation initiatives and psychosocial counseling services t survivors.” said Deputy Mayor Sushila Mishra Bhatta.

Emilia Saiz, Secretary-General of United Cities and Local Government (UCLG) moderated the event and reminded all of the importance of commitments to be implemented at local level for things to change. “We are convinced that women’s leadership can bring new light, new essentials, new care, and new policies”.
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