NEW YORK, March 04 (IPS) – In 2020, progress on gender equality blocked or regressed in many countries, in large part because of the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent analysis, by 2021, an estimated 435 million girls and women will live on less than $ 1.90 per day, of which 47 million will be forced into poverty due to the pandemic.
Global lockdowns have contributed to a outbreak of gender-based violence around the world, and estimates show that sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), the foundation of gender equality, have been severely disrupted, resulting in 49 million more women risk of having an unmet need for modern contraception. Our most pressing global problems have rarely been so daunting, and the cracks in existing social, political and economic systems have never been deeper.
Fortunately, the evidence-based solutions we need to lay the foundation for a future that works for everyone, including girls, women and under-represented populations.1 , are clearly visible. As a global community, by using gender equality as our shared North Star, we can set in motion actions that not only help us rise up, but also come out stronger on the other side of our challenges. most pressing global issues. Achieving gender equality, with a focus on the health and rights of girls and women, must be at the heart of the actions we take in response to COVID-19 and other deep-rooted barriers to the world. progress, such as climate change.
On this International Women’s Day, we call on governments, the private sector and civil society leaders to firmly position gender equality as our collective roadmap for coordinated action on COVID-19 and sustainable development. . As essential first steps, together we must prioritize the collection and use of disaggregated data, ensuring the full and effective participation of girls and women in all aspects of decision-making and investing more in gender equality. Sustainable progress towards a world that works for all depends on it.
Policymakers need to collect and use disaggregated data to initiate equitable action.
Girls and women are too often invisible to decision-makers because data and knowledge about them is either incomplete or missing. To create policies that advance gender equality by addressing the disproportionate impacts of global challenges on girls, women and underrepresented populations, we must first invest in disaggregated data to get the full picture and intersectional of the uneven impacts of global problems.
In August 2020, in partnership with Focus 2030, we decided to do just that, by leading a first multinational survey of its kind – in 17 countries, representing half of the world’s population – to better understand the impacts of COVID-19 on girls and women, as well as global public opinion and policy-making expectations for gender equality. We have learned that girls and women are suffering the worst of the impact of the pandemic: in 13 of the 17 countries studied, women report suffering more emotional stress and mental health problems than men, and take a part. even greater household chores.
Girls and women must engage fully and effectively in the fabric of our common path.
Building a sustainable future for all requires the full participation – and potential – of girls and women in all aspects of our international and national response to global problems, and the realization of this potential depends on their health and rights. In fact, we now know that 82% of citizens in the world believe that women should be involved in all aspects of the global health response to COVID-19 and recovery efforts.
Fundamentally, we need to engage today’s youth, who will ultimately bear the consequences of our action – or inaction – and who have the highest expectations of increased government funding for gender equality. . 75% of women surveyed aged 18 to 24 expect their government to spend more on gender equality, and over 94% of young men and women are willing to take personal steps to make sure they do.
Gender equality is what citizens want and it is what the world needs to build a healthier future for all.
The resounding call to action on gender equality, with strong funding and accountability mechanisms, is valid in all of the countries surveyed for men and women, young and old. More than 80% of citizens in the world want their government to invest more to promote gender equality, and are ready to act – from the way they vote to the products they buy – to make sure that happens. The vast majority of citizens also believe that improving access to SRHR is a top priority for immediate government action.
As governments, the private sector and civil society leaders come together on International Women’s Day and at upcoming global forums, including the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women and the Forum on Generational Equality to discuss how to turn words into actions that improve the health of all and the planet, making gender equality our common roadmap to tackling global challenges is crucial for sustainable progress today. hui and in the years to come. It’s what citizens want and it’s what the world needs to build a healthier, more gender-equal future.
The author is Interim President and CEO, Women Deliver
© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service