#WomenEntrepreneurshipDay; #ILO; #WED
Geneva/ILO/Canadian-Media: On the observance of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day on 19th November, we want to make sure to recognize the achievements of the hundreds of thousands of women business owners in the world and how they can cross the business gender divide, ILO reports said.
Image credit: Twitter handle
ILO has developed a five step model to help women cross the business gender divide.
ILO’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Development (WED) aims to help women ‘add value’ to businesses they may already own in essential and female dominated sectors, and to encourage them enter more lucrative sectors, often growth-oriented and male-dominated. We have developed a five-point business upgrading model to help make this happen:
#UN; #WomenRights; #UNPeace; #UNSecirity
UN, Oct 13 (Canadian-Media): At a virtual roundtable discussion on Women, Peace and Security in Peacekeeping contexts on 8 October 2020, Secretary-General António Guterres made a rallying call to peacekeeping partners to summon the political will and recommit to the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
At a virtual roundtable discussion on Women, Peace and Security in Peacekeeping contexts on 8 October 2020, Secretary-General António Guterres made a rallying call to peacekeeping partners to summon the political will and recommit to the Women, Peace
The event took place in the context of the 20th anniversary since the adoption of the landmark Security Council Resolution 1325 that recognizes women as key agents of peace. In the presence of four women leaders from Mali, Central African Republic, Darfur and Cyprus, the Secretary-General heard about progress and remaining challenges in implementing this priority agenda in a number of key areas: from women’s participation in peace processes and conflict resolution, to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and ensuring women’s voices as voters and candidates in elections.
#UN; #WomenRights; #Covid19;
United Nations, Oct 1 (Canadian-Media): Unless countries act now, the COVID-19 pandemic could erase recent “fragile progress” towards gender equality, the UN Secretary-General warned on Thursday, urging governments to put women at the centre of recovery and response.
Civil society participants meet in Huairou, China, as part of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, in September 1995.
António Guterres issued the charge in a speech to a UN General Assembly high-level meeting to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China.
The Beijing Conference, as it is known, marked a significant turning point on the global agenda, making it clear that women’s rights are at the heart of equality and justice around the world.
But as the UN chief told the gathering, the Conference was also a “wake-up call” as these rights are still being denied, hindered and ignored everywhere.
“COVID-19 has emphasized and exploited the continued denial of women’s rights. Women and girls are bearing the brunt of the massive social and economic impact of the pandemic,” he said, speaking from the rostrum in the General Assembly Hall.
Deliver on the Beijing promise “Twenty-five years after Beijing, we are facing a women-led recession as women employed in the informal economy are first to lose their jobs,” Mr. Guterres continued, outlining the aftershocks of the pandemic. These include a “shadow pandemic” of gender-based violence, and an increase in early marriage and other abusive and repressive practices affecting women and girls.
“Unless we act now, COVID-19 could wipe out a generation of fragile progress towards gender equality,” he stated.
While the pandemic has demonstrated the need for a strong push to meet what the UN chief called “the unfulfilled promise of Beijing”, it is also an opportunity for transformative thinking that puts women at the front and centre of response and recovery.
“Stimulus funds should put money directly into women’s hands through cash transfers and credits. Governments should expand social safety nets to women in the informal economy, and recognize the value of unpaid care work,” he advised.
The Beijing Conference concluded with a groundbreaking Platform for Action, with commitments covering 12 areas of concern, such as power and decision-making, poverty, violence against women, education, human rights and discrimination against girls.
“In both containing COVID-19 and promoting post-COVID economic and social recovery, it is particularly important that we address the special needs of women and deliver on the Beijing Declaration and Programme for Action”, said Chinese President Xi Jinping in a statement recorded for the event.
Since Beijing, major advances have been made in the global fight for gender equality, as various UN agencies have documented. In 1995, there were 12 women Heads of State and Government worldwide. Today, there are 22. Maternal mortality has dropped by nearly 40 percent during this period, more girls are now in school, and women are increasingly involved in peace processes.
However, this progress is not enough; plus, it has been slow, according to the Executive Director of UN Women, which supports countries in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women.
A time for disrupters
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka emphasized the need for women’s leadership, including young women, in efforts to build back better after the pandemic. “Women and the people of the world are demanding these changes”, she said in a pre-recorded statement.
“This is the time for disrupters, young and old," Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka continued, saying it is time for actions to change the course of history for women and girls, especially women between the ages of 25 to 34 who are increasingly more likely to live in extreme poverty than their male counterparts.
“It’s time to bring an end to discriminatory laws, norms and homophobia, to end men’s violence against women and girls, and make a concerted effort to put women at the heart of climate justice. "
Besides the Beijing Conference anniversary, and the global pandemic, 2020 is a milestone year for the UN, which turns 75 next month. January also saw the start of a Decade of Action towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their promise of a more fair and equitable world for all people, and greater protection of the planet.
Given the SDG context, there is no longer any excuse for gender imbalances, according to Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka.
“Women are now calling for a leapfrog to 50 per cent representation, or parity in all spheres, including cabinets, corporate boards and throughout the economy, including women as beneficiaries of COVID-19 fiscal stimulus packages, engagement in all peace processes, and closing the digital divide,” she said, urging leaders to “fast-forward” the modest gains made since Beijing.
Back up words with deeds The rights of women and girls are non-negotiable, the head of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) underlined. Dr. Natalia Kanem called on leaders to “scale-up” action and investments.
“We urge you to back up words with deeds, and with funding for programmes and services that transform women’s lives,” she said, speaking from the podium.
“Investing in women and girls is not just a question of rights; it’s also smart economics, with benefits to society many times the cost.”
The President of the UN General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, appealed for everyone, everywhere to act now on behalf of the world’s women and girls so as to “level the playing field.”
Everyone must act now Speaking in person, Mr. Bozkir appealed for top-level commitment to girls education, equal economic opportunities for women, and ending gender-based violence. He urged countries to “shift established norms” to create a more just world, and thanked civil society groups for bridging divides and filling existing gaps, particularly during the pandemic.
He also issued a call to girls worldwide, including his own granddaughters: “Know this: there is nothing that women cannot do”.
The General Assembly President urged girls to “Dare to be the first. Dare to do what no woman has done before,” adding that the world needs more women in power.
“There is power in sharing your lived experience,” he said. “There is power in an outstretched hand. There is power in solidarity. Never doubt your personal power. Assert your power.”
#Nigeria; #Africa; #WomenRights; #Conflicts; #ClimateCrisis; #Covid19; #Children; #Adolescents; #EveryWomanEveryChild; #UNFPA
Nigeria/UN, Sep 25 (Canadian-Media): Fragile gains made over the past decade to advance women and children’s health are threatened by conflict, the climate crisis and COVID-19, according to a new report from Every Woman Every Child, released on Friday.
Young women and girls carry water in Nigeria (file photo). Image credit: World Bank
Protect the Progress: Rise, Refocus, Recover, 2020 highlights that since the movement was launched 10 years ago, spearheaded by then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, there has been remarkable progress in improving the health of the world’s women, children and adolescents, with under-five deaths reached an all-time recorded low in 2019, and more than 1 billion children were vaccinated over the past decade.
Coverage of immunization, skilled birth attendant and access to safe drinking water reached over 80 per cent. Maternal deaths declined by 35 per cent since 2000, with the most significant declines occurring from 2010. An estimated 25 million child marriages were also prevented over the past decade, says the report.
Prioritize women and girls: UN deputy chief
However, conflict, climate instability and the COVID-19 pandemic are putting the health and well-being of all children and adolescents at risk. The COVID-19 crisis, in particular, is exacerbating existing inequities, with reported disruptions in essential health interventions disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable women and children.
“We know that women and children are the foundation of our communities and of our future”, said UN deputy chief, Amina Mohammed, in a video message broadcast during the report launch online. “Plans to respond to and recover from COVID-19 must prioritize their rights, and ensure continued access to services that support health, access to clean water, nutrition and education.
“While much is still unknown and uncertain, our collective goal endures: for women, children and adolescents everywhere to survive and thrive, and for their lives to be transformed”, added the Deputy Secretary-General.
Death ‘every six seconds
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, a child under the age of five died every six seconds somewhere around the world”, said Henrietta Fore, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director.
“Millions of children living in conflict zones and fragile settings face even greater hardship with the onset of the pandemic. We need to work collectively to meet immediate needs caused by the pandemic while also strengthening health systems. Only then can we protect and save lives.”
Last year, 5.2 million children under the age of 5 and 1 million adolescents died of preventable causes. Every 13 seconds a newborn baby died. Every hour 33 women did not survive childbirth; and 33,000 girls a day were forced into marriages, usually involving much older men.
The report examines the deep-rooted inequities which continue to deprive women, children and adolescents of their rights, noting that where you are born, is a significant determinant of survival.
“For too long, the health and rights of women, children, and adolescents have received insufficient attention and services have been inadequately resourced”, said former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Board Chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Helen Clark.
“We call on all partners to work together to support governments to strengthen health systems and tackle the inequities that constrain progress.”
Narrow the gap
The report calls upon the global community to fight COVID-19 while honoring and respecting commitments that can improve the lives of women and children, and not widen the gap between promise and reality.
“The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to turn back the clock on years of progress in reproductive, maternal, child and adolescent health. This is unacceptable,” said Muhammad Ali Pate, Global Director for Health, Nutrition and Population at the World Bank Group.
“The GFF partnership will double down on its efforts to engage with partners and countries and honor the global commitment to ensure that all women, adolescents and children can access the quality, affordable health care they need to survive and thrive.”
The past decade of progress to advance the health of women, children and adolescents must be protected from the impact of the pandemic and the responses to it, the report emphasizes.
“As we respond to COVID-19 and reimagine a better future, with sustained peace, including at home, we must repeat unequivocally that the rights of women and girls are not negotiable. Even in times of crisis – especially in times of crisis – their sexual and reproductive health and rights must be safeguarded at all costs”, said Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of UN reproductive rights agency, UNFPA.
#UN; #Beijing; #WomenConference; #UNSDGs; #SDGs
UN, Sep 5 (Canadian-Media): Exactly 25 years after the historic world conference in Beijing on the advancement and equality of women, the head of the UN gender empowerment agency declared on Friday that “its significance is undimmed”.
While women have come a long way since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action nearly 25 years ago, they still lag behind on virtually every Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). Image credit: UN Women India
Looking back on the Fourth World Conference on Women in the Chinese capital, UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said in a statement that “we have seen the strength and impact of collective activism grow and have been reminded of the importance of multilateralism and partnership to find common solutions to shared problems.”
Defining framework for change
The deliberations of the Conference back in 1995 resulted in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – an agenda for change across 12 critical areas to realize the human rights of women and girls – whose continued relevance “cannot be overstated today”, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said.
The Platform imagined a world in which every woman and girl could exercise her freedoms and realize her rights, such as to live free from violence, attend school, participate in decisions and earn equal pay for equal work.
A quarter of a century later, no country is even close to fully delivering on the commitments of Platform, according to a major stock-taking UN Women report.
Hard-won advances under threat
UN Women said that the anniversary represents “a wake-up call and comes at a time when the impact of the gender equality gaps is undeniable.
“Research shows the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating pre-existing inequalities and threatening to halt or reverse the gains of decades of collective effort – with just released new data revealing that the pandemic will push 47 million more women and girls below the poverty line.”
The far-reaching social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the significant increases in violence against women, “threaten to reverse many of the hard-won advances made in the last 25 years to empower women and girls”, flagged the UN Women chief.
“At the same time”, she maintained “the outstanding value of women’s leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic is in plain sight, along with the recognition of just how much women’s work and women’s movements have sustained the world, from domestic life, the fight for human rights, to national economies”.
She pointed out that by next year, 435 million women and girls are likely to have been reduced to extreme poverty, calling on Governments, local administrations, businesses and enterprises of all sorts to “not let this happen”.
To tackle persistent systemic barriers to equality, the UN official stressed the importance of “transformative approaches and new alliances” that engage the private sector alongside Governments and civil society.
“This is a reset moment”, upheld Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka. “The economic and policy lifeboats for our struggling world must put women and children first”.
The political will of leaders can make a difference.
The UN Women chief pointed to those convening at the UN General Assembly, saying that they can use their power “to accelerate the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”.
“Our humanitarian responses to COVID-19, our economic stimulus packages, our reinventions of working life and our efforts to create solidarity across social and physical distance – these are all chances to build back better for women and girls”, she underscored.
Recipe for successIn 2019, the UN launched the global campaign Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future, which called for renewed commitment by Governments in partnership with civil society, academia and the private sector.
On 1 October there will be a High-Level Meeting on the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action convened by the President of the General Assembly where Member States can put into action their commitments toward a more gender-equal world.
“On this important anniversary, let us reaffirm the promises the world made to women and girls in 1995”, the UN Women chief asserted.
“Let us draw on the activist spirit of the Beijing Conference and commit to forging new alliances across generations and sectors to ensure we seize this opportunity for deep, systemic change for women and for the world”, she concluded.
#UN; #Covid19Recovery; #Health; #women; #UNSDGs; #SDGs
UN, Sep 5 (Canadian-Media): Young women are fighting interconnected battles for “environmental, economic and racial justice”, the deputy UN chief said in a discussion on Sep 3.
A female engineer checks on a construction site in Amman, Jordan.
Image credit: © ILO/Jared J. Kohler
UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told the second of a series of roundtable discussions with renowned women economists that she was honoured to witness the bold ideas put forward by “a generation that is confronted by a world increasingly characterized by closure, rather than openness, xenophobia, rather than tolerance, vulnerability, rather than security, and, above all, a world haunted by the existential threat of climate change”.
Failure without women
While acknowledging the unfairness of their having to shoulder burdens that they did not create, she pointed out that “status, country, and identity markers” that one is born with, are “little more than a matter of chance”.
“We require an intersectional lens” to overcome barriers, upheld the deputy UN chief, underscoring that “importantly”, any effort that does not involve women themselves, “will ultimately fail”.
Ms. Mohammed said that the young economists presented “concrete, tangible, and bold solutions to two pressing issues facing youth today” – namely job scarcity and climate change – calling it “a further reminder of the need for us to listen to the voices of this generation”.
“They are not the next generation”, she continued, “they are the current generation and leaders, because it is in fact their world that we are building through our response and recovery to this crisis”.
Noting the Financing for Development initiative at the Ministers of Finance meeting next week and the High-Level discussions of the General Assembly that will follow, Ms. Mohammed maintained that it is “our job to do justice to these solutions and ensure that we propel them forward”.
A silver lining
The deputy UN chief highlighted a “unique moment” presented by COVID, one in which “stakeholders are willing to discuss the hard questions” as they relate to economic models and financial architecture where innovative solutions were once “relegated to the fringes of economic thought”.
“This would not have been possible even a few months ago”, she flagged, urging everyone to capitalize on the moment and “reorient the global financial system to make it truly work for all”.
Recognizing that systemic problems will continue to persist “unless significant action is taken”, she concluded her remarks by expressing confidence that “we are crafting the solutions we need for a more resilient, equal, inclusive and sustainable world as we overcome the COVID-19 crisis and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.
Meanwhile, in his opening video remarks, Secretary-General António Guterres noted that as the social and economic fallout from the pandemic grows “ever more severe”, and the longer-term structural consequences “increasingly evident”, COVID-19 induced “seismic shifts” requiring bold ideas and innovative solutions, “particularly from younger generations”.
Recognizing that the impacts of the pandemic “have yet to be fully realized”, Mr. Guterres stressed the need to reskill young workers with the right abilities for the future economy.
“These include investing in technology skills, human skills that can’t be replaced by automation, and those aligned with green jobs”, the UN chief detailed.
Bold actions needed
Turning to the climate emergency, the top UN official said, “we face an existential crisis that is getting worse by the day”.
“We need polluters to pay for their pollution, an end to subsidies for fossil fuels and no new coal-fired power plants”, he spelled out, adding “we need bold actions that balance people, planet and prosperity”.
“These must be central to strategies that will allow us to recover better”, concluded the Secretary-General.
#UN; #Women; #Poverty; #UNDP; #covid19;
UN, Sep 2 (Canadian-Media): The coronavirus pandemic and its fallout will likely push 47 million more women into poverty, reversing decades of progress to eradicate extreme poverty, new data released on Wednesday by the UN has revealed.
A mother holds her child in a marginalized community where she lives in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Due to the pandemic, many people have lost their livelihoods and sources of income, with women the worst affected.Image credit: UN Women/Fahad Kaizer
The study, commissioned by UN Women and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), points to a 9.1 per cent increase in the poverty rate for women.
Prior to COVID-19, the rate was expected to decrease by 2.7 per cent between 2019 and 2021.
The projections also show that while the pandemic will impact global poverty generally, women will be disproportionately affected, especially women of reproductive age.
By 2021, for every 100 men aged 25 to 34 living in extreme poverty (living on $1.90 a day or less), there will be 118 women, a gap that is expected to increase to 121 women per 100 men by 2030.
Data summarized in the report, From Insights to Action: Gender Equality in the wake of COVID-19, also shows that COVID-19 will push 96 million into extreme poverty by 2021 – 47 million of whom are women and girls. This will increase the total number of them living in extreme poverty to 435 million, with projections indicating that this number will not revert to pre-pandemic levels until 2030.
Women at the heart of recovery Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director, said that the increases in women’s extreme poverty are a “stark indictment of deep flaws” in the ways that society and the economy are structured.
“We know that women take most of the responsibility for caring for the family; they earn less, save less and hold much less secure jobs – in fact, overall, women’s employment is 19 per cent more at risk than men’s."
She added that the evidence of multiple inequalities should now drive “swift, restorative policy action” that puts women at the heart of pandemic recovery.
Reducing gender inequality ‘affordable’
According to Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, more than 100 million women and girls could be lifted out of poverty if governments improve access to education and family planning, fair and equal wages, and expand social transfers.
“Women are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis as they are more likely to lose their source of income and less likely to be covered by social protection measures”, he said.
“Investing in reducing gender inequality is not only smart and affordable, but also an urgent choice that governments can make to reverse the impact of the pandemic on poverty reduction,” he added.
According to a UN Women report, gender-responsive policymaking is crucial to close gender poverty gaps. Image credit: UN Women
Action needed now
While its findings are alarming, the study estimates it would take just 0.14 per cent of global GDP (about $2 trillion) to lift the world out of extreme poverty by 2030; and $48 billion to close the gender poverty gap.
However, if governments fail to act or act too late the real number could end up much higher. Similarly, increases in other pre-existing gender inequalities could also impact the final figures.
For instance, women working in some of the sectors most affected by the pandemic, such as hospitality, food services, and domestic services, are particularly vulnerable to layoffs and loss of livelihood.
#UN; #UNWomenRights; SDGs; #Covid19
UN, Aug 31 (Canadian-Media): Highlighting the disproportionate and devastating socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on women and girls globally, The UN chief António Guterres called on Monday for a major push to prevent “years, even generations” worth of progress on women’s empowerment, from being lost to the pandemic.
A market vendor uses the SafeBoda app which connects vendors to households using the SafeBoda transport service during the COVID-19 lockdown in Kampala, Uganda.
Image credit: UNCDF
In an address to a virtual town hall with young women from civil society organizations, the Secretary-General said that the global pandemic has already reversed decades of limited and fragile progress on gender equality and women’s rights.
“Without a concerned response, we risk losing a generation or more of gains”, he cautioned.
Mr. Guterres underscored the vital role played by women, as healthcare workers, essential staff, teachers and carers, helping millions globally – both within and outside their homes.
However, few are recognized due to persisting inequalities and biases. At the same time, many women working in the informal sector have been thrown into financial insecurity, without regular income or effective social safety nets.
“The pandemic has exposed the extent of its impact on physical and mental health, education and labour force participation”, said Mr. Guterres, amid disturbing reports from around the world of skyrocketing gender-based violence, “as many women are effectively confined with their abusers, while resources and support services are redirected”.
“In short, the pandemic is exposing and exacerbating the considerable hurdles women face in achieving their rights and fulfilling their potential”, he said.
Monday’s town hall meeting is a regular fixture on the UN calendar, but generally organized on the side-lines of the annual session of the Commission on the Status of Women. This year, however, it was postponed due to the pandemic and held virtually, with thousands of women activists and defenders of women’s rights participating remotely.
Here to listen The Secretary-General underlined that his main objective during the town hall was to listen, not talk, and he encouraged participants to ask questions and share their opinions.
Martha, an activist from Poland, spoke of the rise of populism and nationalism in Europe which is putting democracy and human rights at risk. She wondered how to address this challenge, especially amid a global crisis.
Like the UN chief, Nina from Georgia agreed that women’s work is undervalued, and that the pandemic has placed additional responsibilities on them.
“While we are trying to unpack what a pandemic has caused, I think it is important for us to once again understand the invisible barriers that women are facing for their economic empowerment,” she said.
Some participants submitted written questions which were read out by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, head of UN Women, the UN agency which promotes gender equality globally.
Issues raised covered the rise in teenage pregnancy during the pandemic, protection of human rights defenders, support for people with disabilities, and the need to fight racism.
“We are delighted that women across the world have this opportunity to speak to the UN Secretary-General at this time about their issues and concerns, and to hear from him”, said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, who served as the event’s moderator.
“Civil society and the women’s movements are unflinching partners in the drive to name and tackle the inequalities that have grown under COVID-19, and to put women at the centre of recovery.”
Equally important is putting money into the hands of women working in both formal and informal economies, the UN chief continued.
“Cash transfers, credits and loans should be targeted at women, to mitigate the immediate impact of job losses and increased caring responsibilities”, he said.
Governments should expand social safety nets and recognize the value of invisible and unpaid care work, as they inject stimulus funds to get their economies back to work.
Doing so will address vulnerabilities women experience, ensure women’s central role in economic life, and in the long term, contribute to sustainable development and more inclusive and resilient economies, explained Mr. Guterres.
Economic reset He highlighted that the pandemic has demonstrated “what we all know”, that millennia of patriarchy have resulted in a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture that damages everyone – women, men, girls and boys.
“It is clear that we cannot go back to the failed policies that have resulted in the fragility we see around us – in healthcare systems, in social protection, in access to justice. This is the time to rebuild more equal, inclusive, and resilient societies. Our roadmap is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, the UN chief declared.
“We need to take the opportunity of an economic reset to ensure the rights to life, dignity, and security for everyone.”
Recovery goes beyond governments Alongside governments, the private sector, academic institutions and civil society, should be fully engaged in recovering better, Mr. Guterres said.
He called for protecting and expanding the civic space so that civil society organizations can play their full part.
“We must also emerge from this crisis with women’s equal leadership and representation,” added the UN chief.
He went on to recognize women leaders, officials and health workers for their empathy, compassion, communication and evidence-based decision-making, fighting the ravages of the coronavirus.
“Their actions are showing the value of inclusivity. It stands to reason: doubling the resources, capacity and expertise we put into decision-making benefits everyone”, the UN chief said, calling for gender parity and bringing more women into leadership positions.
A landmark year The Secretary-General noted that 2020 contains several important landmarks. It is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Beijing Declaration; the twentieth anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security; and the first year of the Decade of Action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – key achievements in gender equality and women’s empowerment.
In that vein, he reinforced his determination to advance women’s priorities and to ensure their equal rights and participation in the peace and security agenda, on climate change, on building inclusive economies, and on reducing and eliminating the digital divide so that women have an equal role in designing technologies of the future.
#UN; #EmergecyCovid19Response; #WomenRights, #GenderEquality
Bangladesh/UN, Jul 21 (Canadian-Media): With essential resources for women’s health being diverted to emergency COVID-19 response around the world, Governments, civil society leaders, CEOs and academic experts gathered virtually on Tuesday, to explore ways to accelerate the achievement of landmark targets set 25 years ago for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Development workers hand over relief aid to a woman amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Image credit: UN Women/Fahad Kaizer
“It’s up to us to make sure that we use the power of multilateral investment and commitment to realize the potential gains from radical, positive action to redress long-standing inequalities in multiple areas of women’s lives,” said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, during the day-long interactive hearing organized by General Assembly President Tijani Muhammad-Bande.
The virtual event rallied participants around the need for stronger multilateral commitment to implement the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action. Adopted at the watershed Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, it outlines 12 critical areas where action is needed to create gender equality - and ways to bring about change. Together with the Beijing Declaration, it is widely considered the most progressive blueprint for advancing women's rights.
The interactive hearing more broadly sets the stage for a high-level meeting to be held by the Assembly on “Accelerating the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”, on 23 September, during its annual general debate.
COVID-19 lays bare gender inequalities
Ms. Mlambo Ngcuka urged Governments - and all other service providers - to plan their COVID-19 response “as they have never done before”, including women in its design and fully taking a gender perspective into account.
COVID-19 has laid bare existing inequalities, she stressed. Across every sphere - from health to the economy, security to social protection - women and girls are disproportionately affected.
Ms. Mlambo Ngcuka – who devoted particular attention to empowering women as Deputy President of South Africa from 2005 to 2008 - said women today, aged 25 to 34, are 25 per cent more likely than men to live in poverty. While women’s political representation has doubled since 1995, men still control more than three quarters of the seats in the single and lower houses of parliaments around the world.
And after years of progress, she said the proportion of peace agreements that included references to women, dropped from 32 per cent between 2011 and 2015 to 7.7 per cent in 2018.
Gender equality ‘everyone’s responsibility’“We simply cannot allow the coronavirus to threaten the lives and future of women,” said Mr. Muhammad-Bande. Twenty-five years after adopting the Platform for Action, efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 have shut schools, diverted resources to pandemic response, and disproportionately affected women with a significant uptick in unpaid care work.
The needs of women and girls must be central to both rapid-response and long-term recovery planning, he asserted, with women included in every decision-making forum.
“Gender equality is everybody’s responsibility,” he said. The conversation must move beyond a virtual platform, “to amplify the voice of every girl and facilitate women’s leadership in all arenas”.
#Cobourg, #Ontario; #WomenLedBusinesses;#RebuildReopenReviveInitiative
Cobourg (Ontario), Jul 17 (Canadian-Media): A $4-million FedDev Ontario investment was announced Jul 17 by Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, on behalf of Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario at Venture13 in Cobourg, home of the Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) to support over 700 women entrepreneurs across southern Ontario, media reports said.
Mary Ng. Image credit: Twitter handle
The unique challenges faced by women-led businesses being further intensified by COVID-19's impact on Canada's economy, these women-led businesses need support to adapt their operations for a successful recovery.
Delivery of Rebuild Reopen Revive Initiative suopprt for women-led small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in rural and urban communities across southern Ontario is being made possible by this investment through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), the Northumberland CFDC and WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation, in collaboration with regional partners.
A sum of $2 million would be given to each of the two organizations with non-repayable contributions of up to $5,000 to help eligible women-led businesses with key re-opening expenditures, including acquisition of reusable personal protective equipment (PPE); workspaces reconfiguration to accommodate social distancing impacts; and, enhancing online capacity to improve accessibility and client service.
Interested SMEs can visit Northumberland CFDC (eastern Ontario) or WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation(southwestern Ontario) for more details or to apply.
This support would enable the Northumberland CFDC to financially support underrepresented women-led businesses that removes gender bias.
Growth of 30 women-led businesses are being supported by CFDC the through this initiative.
Successful applicants are enrolled automatically into the program offering advisory and support services, networking, and access to office space through Venture13.
Later Ng was joined by Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, at the Imprinted Apparel Store in Peterborough, where the ministers highlighted an additional $380,000 in support through the Women Entrepreneurship Fund (WEF) to local women-led businesses. Funding recipients including Imprinted Apparel Store; Unlock Math Inc.; and Walton Wood Farm Corp.; Mallory Charmaine Graham (o/a Tribal Trade Co.).