#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.
#Alberta; #InspirationAwards; #SaferCommunity; #FamilyViolencePrevention
Alberta, Jul 25 (Canadian-Media): During a ceremony held July 24 at Government House, Rajan Sawhney, Alberta's Minister of Community and Social Services presented a total of 17 awards to individuals, organizations and businesses showing leadership in violence prevention, promoting healthy relationships, and building safer communities for those experiencing abuse, media reports said.
Rajan Sawhney. Image credit: Twitter handle
The Inspiration Awards celebrate those raising awareness of family violence, sexual violence and abuse, and advancing healthy relationships.
“These awards recognize outstanding community leaders who have gone above and beyond in helping prevent family violence, sexual violence and bullying in their communities. Congratulations to all award recipients and nominees, and thank you for your hard work and dedication to helping vulnerable Albertans,” said Sawhney in a news release.
2020 Award recipients have been categorized under five divisions.
Family Violence Prevention awards were presented to Paul Kent, Christine Berry, Carlene Donnelly; The Today Family Violence Help Centre; Stop Abuse in Families (SAIF) Society; Islamic Family & Social Services Association; High Level Community Policing Society; and Higgerty Law.
Recipients of Sexual Violence Prevention awards were Dr. Kiara Mikita; Tammy Shopland; MacEwan Anti-Violence Education Network; and Bow Valley Harmony Project
Bullying Prevention awards recipients were Caroline Gosling (Missal), and Brett Todd
Innovation awards were presented to Dr. Deinera Exner-Cortens, and Ever Active Schools.
Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Penny Mickanuck
#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 Windsor-Essex 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 Windsor-Essex 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.).
#UN; #InternationalWidowsDay; #Covid19Pandemic; #Discrimination
Geneva, Jun 23 (Canadian-Media): When countries begin building back from the COVID-19 pandemic they must also work towards dismantling laws that discriminate against women, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message for International Widow’s Day on Tuesday.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jeanette Buse Lasi, a widowed mother of four, sits with her children inside a communal shelter in an IDP camp in Bunia.
Image credit: © UNICEF/Guy Hubbard
“The death of a partner at any time can leave many women without rights to inheritance or property. In times of a pandemic, these losses are often multiplied for widows and accompanied by stigma and discrimination”, he explained.
As deaths due to COVID-19 continue to rise in many places, especially for men, International Widow’s Day provides an opportunity to focus on what the UN chief has described as “an all-too-often forgotten dimension of the crisis”.
He said the isolation and economic hardships brought on by the pandemic can further compromise widows’ ability to support themselves and their families, cutting them off from social connections at a time of profound grief.
Unseen, unsupported, unmeasured
Widows have already largely been invisible in society, according to the head of UN Women, the UN agency striving for full gender equality.
They are also often unsupported, while data about them is scant, meaning their numbers go unmeasured. Latest figures, which are from 2015, estimate there are nearly 260 million worldwide
“The actual number is likely to be much higher and to grow further as the coronavirus and its related effects on health continue to rage around the world”, said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director at UN Women.
As the Secretary-General pointed out, more men than women are dying from COVID-19.
The agency said men account for nearly 60 per cent of coronavirus deaths in Mexico, nearly 70 per cent in Italy, and 77 per cent in Thailand, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).
As a result of these losses, tens of thousands more women could now be newly widowed.
Lessons from pandemics past
Experience from past pandemics, such as HIV/AIDS and Ebola, reveal how widows suffer much more than just the loss of a partner.
They have been denied inheritance rights, had property taken from them, and been shunned for being perceived as “carriers” of disease, amid other discrimination and stigma.
“Worldwide, women are much less likely to have access to old age pensions than men, so the death of a spouse can lead to destitution for older women”, said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka.
“In the context of lockdowns and economic closures, widows may not have access to bank accounts and pensions to pay for healthcare if they too become ill or to support themselves and their children. With lone-mother families and single older women already particularly vulnerable to poverty, this is an area that needs urgent attention.”
Structural changes overdue
UN Women stated that overall, the impacts of the pandemic have been worse for women and girls, across all spheres, from health, to the economy, to security and social protection.
The Secretary-General has called on governments to include support for widows’ immediate needs in any fiscal stimulus programs, to address the crisis.
He is also pushing for reforms that benefit all women going forward.
“And as we work to build back better from this crisis, recovery efforts must be accompanied by long-term structural changes, including ending discriminatory laws that deny women equal rights to men and ensuring the availability of social protection, so that women do not start out at a disadvantage”, he said.
“We also need quality data, broken down by age and sex, to ensure that widows are counted and supported, now and in the future.”
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka has echoed the appeal.
“Widows must not be left out of our work to ‘build back better’ from COVID-19,” she said. “Let us ensure that our recovery prioritizes their unique needs and supports societies to be more inclusive, resilient and equal for all.”
#ILO; #sexualHarassment, #workplaceViolence, #internationalLabourStandards, #Uruguay
New York/Geneva, Jun 13 (Canadian-Media): ILO’s landmark Convention No. 190, on violence and harassment in the work environment, has received its first ratification, taking it a step closer to entering into force, ILO reported on June 12.
Ricardo González Arenas, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the United Nations in Geneva, deposited the instrument of ratification with ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, in a virtual ceremony. Image credit: ILO
Uruguay has become the first country to ratify the ILO’s Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190) , a year after it was adopted by the International Labour Conference.
Ricardo González Arenas, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the United Nations in Geneva, deposited the instrument of ratification with ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, in a virtual ceremony.
With only two ratifications needed for Convention No. 190 to enter into force, this first ratification represents an important step in the process.
“Uruguay considers that the cross-cutting nature of Convention No.190 makes it a very useful tool to improve the legal and labor relations framework already existing in the country,” said González Arenas. “These instruments correlate with the challenges of the future of work, which are linked to workers’ increased mobility, the diversification of employment contracts and the impact of new information and communication technologies in labour relations. Adapting to the most modern dynamics of our societies, where factors such as competitiveness, innovation, lifelong learning and efficacy have an unquestionable relevance, requires additional instruments to ensure that workers are protected and their rights respected.”
Convention No. 190 is the first international treaty to address violence and harassment in the world of work.
Together with Recommendation No. 206 , it provides a common framework for action and a unique opportunity to shape a future of work based on dignity and respect, and underlines the right of everyone to a world free from violence and harassment. It includes the first international definition of violence and harassment in the world of work, including gender-based violence.
“Uruguay considers that the cross-cutting nature of Convention No.190 makes it a very useful tool to improve the legal and labour relations framework already existing in the country. These instruments correlate with the challenges of the future of work."
Ricardo González Arenas, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the United Nations in Geneva
The Convention applies to the public and private sectors, formal and informal economies, and urban and rural areas. It protects everyone in the world of work, irrespective of their contractual status.
The Convention also requires ratifying member States to adopt, in consultation with representative employers’ and workers’ organizations, an inclusive, integrated and gender-responsive approach to preventing and eliminating violence and harassment, through prevention, protection and enforcement measures and remedies, as well as guidance, training and awareness-raising.
It also recognizes the different and complementary roles and functions of governments, employers and workers and their respective organizations, taking into account the varying nature and extent of their responsibilities. The Convention and Recommendation also reaffirm ILO’s crucial standard-setting role. They are tangible evidence of the enduring value and strength of social dialogue and tripartism, which will be essential in implementing them at national level.
González Arenas referred to “Uruguay’s long-lasting tradition and strong commitment to the multilateral system and, particularly, to the ILO”. He described the ILO as a normative tripartite organization that helps countries improve their citizens’ living conditions and achieve balanced industrial relations where the interests of all social partners are duly protected.
“The framework provided by Convention No. 190 is, more than ever, of utmost importance during the current COVID-19 pandemic... Convention No. 190 has a crucial role in shaping a human-centered response and recovery that tackles injustice and supports the building of a better normal, free from violence and harassment, " Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General said.
“For all these reasons, the national parliament approved the instrument on 17 December 2019 and, by passing Law 19.849, and depositing the instrument of ratification, Uruguay has become the first country to ratify this Convention,” he said.
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, thanked the Uruguyan President, Luis Lacalle Pou, for his country’s ratification. “The framework provided by Convention No. 190 is, more than ever, of utmost importance during the current COVID-19 pandemic, since many forms of work-related violence and harassment have been reported across countries since the outbreak began,” Ryder said. “Convention No. 190 has a crucial role in shaping a human-centered response and recovery that tackles injustice and supports the building of a better normal, free from violence and harassment. The ratification also reflects Uruguay’s longstanding commitment to the ILO’s mission, as well as its intention to make clear that violence and harassment in the world of work will not be tolerated. It is hoped that other countries will follow suit.”
Uruguay was also the first ILO member State to ratify the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) , which was the last ILO Convention to be adopted, prior to Convention No. 190.