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Programme Director’s April 2020 Message

Kay Richmond, SIGBI Programme DirectorCommission on the Status of Women 2020 (CSW64)

I am sure you are all aware that CSW64 was cancelled due to the threat of Corona Virus and the dangers of having 11,000 community delegates in New York together with government delegations and UN staff. We were all very disappointed and somewhat disbelieving but subsequent developments have proved that the UN was right to do so, sadly. However, there was a short session on day 1 where a political declaration was agreed. Essentially it recognised the progress which has been made since 1995 when the Beijing Platform for Action was agreed but also recognises the challenges remaining and the new ones which have arisen over the last 25 years.

Beijing Platform for Action statistics
Figure 1 Gains since 1995

Despite these encouraging data there is still much to be done:

  • Realizing the right to education for all women and girls, with attention to areas where they are underrepresented such as STEM;
  • Ensuring full, equal and meaningful participation, representation and leadership of women at all levels and in all spheres of society;
  • Ensuring women´s economic empowerment, for instance, access to decent work, equal pay, provision of social security and access to finance;
  • Tackling the disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work of women and girls;
  • Addressing the disproportionate effect of climate change and natural disasters on women and girls;
  • Ending all forms of violence and harmful practices against all women and girls;
  • Protecting women and girls in armed conflict and ensuring women’s participation in peace processes and mediation;
  • Realizing the right to health for women and girls, with emphasis on universal health coverage; and
  • Addressing hunger and malnutrition among women and girls.

A picture of the countries still needing to improve is shown in the map below:

Sustainable Developments Goals map

Men are 75 per cent of parliamentarians, hold 73 per cent of managerial positions, are 70 per cent of climate negotiators and almost all peace negotiators (See Report). Only Norway has achieved ‘green’. No member country of SIGBI has done so – we have much to do.

Following CSW64, Generation Equality was to hold fora in Mexico (May 2020) and July 2020 in Paris. These are probably not going to happen. Women advocating for change have collaborated with the governments of Mexico and France plus UN Women to form ‘action coalitions’. These are worldwide multi-stakeholder partnerships which intend to mobilise governments, civil society, international organisations and the private sector to bring about positive change.

Another disappointment as a consequence of Covid19 is COP26 (Climate Change) in Glasgow in November 2020 which has been postponed as a consequence of the pandemic. Why is this so important for gender equality? Because it disproportionally affects women and children! We are registered with the department responsible for its organisation and future blogs will pick up the thread when opportunities present.

For now, take a look at Equiterra– a review of where we would like to be compared with where we are.