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Covid-19 raises a series of new and complex questions for leaders and policy makers around the world. How can we ensure rapid production and equitable distribution of vaccines? How should we renew global labor markets and supply chains in the face of the economic impact of the pandemic? How do we ensure that children do not miss out on valuable opportunities throughout their lives after school disruptions caused by lockdowns and other restrictions?
However, underlying these new issues are some well-known challenges that reflect the deep and systematic inequalities in our world, with violence and discrimination against women and girls being one of the most serious problems.
The emergence of the coronavirus has accentuated existing inequalities for women and girls in many ways: from health and the economy, to security and social protection. Still, the pandemic also provides an opportunity to take positive and radical steps to redress persistent inequalities in various areas of women’s lives. As part of this remediation, it is essential that we prioritize the prevention of violence against women during the response and recovery from COVID-19.
The Generation Equality Forum (GEF), held this week in Paris, is a key opportunity to address these challenges. It should have taken place last year to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the historic UN World Conference on Women, held in Beijing. The Declaration that grew out of this conference remains the most comprehensive framework for achieving women’s empowerment and gender equality. However, the constant inequalities that the pandemic has shown show that there is still a long way to go.
This is why the GEF meeting in Paris is so important. Among all the other priorities that require the attention of leaders are the opportunity to renew and reinforce the international commitment to gender equality, as well as to guarantee a series of concrete, ambitious and transformative results so that the next 25 years are synonymous. of real progress and not of wasted opportunities.
My mother used to tell me about the danger of giving birth to women
As a man born into a patriarchal society, I have always been fully aware of the discrimination women face and the disproportionately heavy burden they bear due to male-led crises, from conflict and poverty to climate change. .
My mother used to tell me about the danger of giving birth to women. She said that women, before giving birth, would look at their shoes and wonder if they could ever put them back on. I have remembered these words all my life. My childhood was marked by the Korean War, when my family was expelled from our village and I saw how women had to rebuild their lives and rebuild while men were summoned to fight.
For this reason, as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I was determined to make women’s rights and gender equality my top priority. That’s why i created UN Women, a UN organization dedicated to tackling discrimination and promoting equality, and that is why I have championed the Sustainable Development Goals, which include equality and empowerment among their fundamental principles.
I am proud to say that I am a feminist, but I am so disappointed by other men, even those in positions of power and responsibility, that they continue to have a sexist and misogynistic mindset.
I am proud to say that I am a feminist, but I am so disappointed by other men, even those in positions of power and responsibility, who continue to have a sexist and misogynistic mindset and who, through their actions and inactions, continue to oppress and denigrate women in public and In private.
Women pay a heavy price for this men’s mistake. A study carried out last year by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) predicted at least 15 million new cases of domestic violence in the world for every three months that confinements were extended by covid-19.
Furthermore, women continue to face established and persistent economic discrimination in all sectors. Women do much more unpaid work than men and, even when they are part of the labor market, women-owned companiesface a global credit gap of $ 1.5 trillion, which prevents them from investing and expanding their businesses. For this to change, and it must, men in leadership positions must take responsibility, acknowledge their mistakes, and change their attitudes and public messages.
Groups like MenEngage They are doing valuable work to highlight the relationship between gender-based violence, misogynistic mentality and general systematic inequalities related to climate change, public health and access to justice. This is fundamental work, but if men want to truly demonstrate that we are feminists, we must give up space, renounce certain privileges that we and our ancestors have enjoyed for centuries, and make way for women in leadership positions.
All participants of the Generation Equality Forum in Paris should remember the words of the pioneer French feminist Simone de Beauvoir: “To emancipate women is to refuse to confine them to the relationships they have with men … When we abolish slavery for half of humanity, together with the whole system of hypocrisy that it implies, then the division of humanity will reveal its true meaning and the human couple will find its true form.
Ban Ki-moon He is a former UN Secretary-General and Deputy Editor of The Elders.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.