UN Women unveils new feminist roadmap for economic recovery and transformation

The United Nations is calling on governments around the world to ensure the COVID-19 recovery shapes a more gender-equal and sustainable world.

United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, or UN Women, has launched a new flagship report Beyond COVID-19: A Feminist Plan for Sustainability and Social Justice.

It says the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to three urgent crises – on jobs, care, and the environment – that undermine gender equality and threaten the survival of people and the planet. It says the need for a plan to recover and transform economies has “never been clearer”. 

The report details how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated preexisting gender inequalities and laid bare weaknesses in the already fragile global care economy. 

Globally, in 2019 and 2020, women lost 54 million jobs, and even before the pandemic, they took on three times as much unpaid care work as men. Women are disproportionately impacted by environmental degradation while also being left out of decision-making around policy and financing to address climate change. By the end of 2021, men’s jobs will have recovered, but there will still be 13 million fewer women in employment.

"The need for a new social contract that delivers sustainability and social justice for all has never been clearer," said UN Women acting head Pramila Patten.

"We have a generational opportunity to break the vicious cycle of economic insecurity, environmental destruction and exclusionary politics and shape a better, more gender-equal and sustainable world. Today’s report provides a roadmap for how to do this, while recovering the ground that’s been lost on gender equality and women’s rights."

Drawing on the latest available data and the contributions of more than 100 global experts, The Plan calls for action in three key areas:

  • An economy that supports women’s livelihoods. The vulnerability of women’s jobs has been brutally revealed during the pandemic. Urgent action is needed to strengthen social protection systems and move women out of the informal economy.

  • Putting care at the centre of a sustainable and just economy. The world has recognized care work as ‘essential’ in this crisis. Now is the moment to back that recognition with policies to properly support and reward that work.

  • Gender-just transitions for a green future. New green jobs for women, and investments in sustainable energy and agriculture will be critical to set economies on more equitable and sustainable paths.

History of gender equality and the General Assembly

The report was released during the 76th UN General Assembly (UNGA) - the largest yearly meeting of world leaders, on this year from 14-28 September.

It also comes days after the UN announced a new Executive Director of UN Women, Sima Sami Bahous of Jordan.

While UNGA has been the setting for several historic moments for gender equality, much is still to be achieved regarding women’s representation and participation.

Just four women have been elected President of UNGA in its 76 years, and only 22 of the 193 Member States represented currently have a woman Head of State or Government. The United Nations has never had a woman Secretary-General.

This article from UN Women takes a fascinating look at the history of gender equality and the General Assembly.

 You can download the UN Women report Beyond COVID: A Feminist Plan for Sustainability and Social Justice  HERE

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