“We have the opportunity to do things differently in 2022,” declared CEO Sima Bahous, who – speaking before the Council on International Women’s Day – recall increases in military spending, military coups, the seizure of power by force after the start COVID-19 pandemic, undoing gender equality achievements that took decades to achieve. “It is clearer to me than ever that we need a different model of leadership.”
She said that women are more likely to spend their income on family needs and contribute more to economic recovery. However, post-conflict reconstruction and investment is still dominated by men – and benefiting more.
The UN Women The head explains that forms of exclusion, discrimination and archaic gender norms keep women away from work, land, property, inheritance, credit and technology – a scenario that applies applicable to all situations on the agenda of the Council.
UN photo / Manuel Elias
She expressed particular concern about the impact of a new “racist regime” in Afghanistan, where women’s employment has plummeted since the Taliban takeover – while in Yemen, the humanitarian emergency The world’s largest leader, closing the gender gap in women’s participation in the labor force, would have increased the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 27%.
Emphasize that more than half of the World BankFragile and conflict-affected countries are located in sub-Saharan Africa, where the economic cost of gender inequality stands at $2.5 trillion, she went on to note that land tenure rights of Women in conflict-affected countries remain dangerously low. In Mali, the figure is just 3%.
Part of the problem…or the solution?
She explains that private actors are often part of the problem – not just in mining and agribusiness businesses, but increasingly, in telecom platforms that play a key role in enabling inclusion and prevention of targeted hate speech and retaliation.
“We need more participation, greater accountability and shared accountability,” she said.
She urged the Council to use the Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of the Congo resolutions, for example, to call for the meaningful inclusion of women not only in peacebuilding, prevention and restoration. conflict resolution but also in decision making, gender analysis and spending. tracking machine.
Better for business
In turn, she invited the private sector to play a larger role in the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, which has supported more than 500 women’s organizations in 26 countries since 2016. “More is possible. do to multiply by 2030 the financing of women’s organizations in crisis by 2030, at the request of the Secretary-General,” she affirmed.
The Agreement on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action – which aims to advance these issues over the next five years – could use greater involvement of multilateral development banks and private sector, to help strengthen social protection mechanisms, promote women-owned social enterprises and address discriminatory legislation.
“We have a blueprint and a business case to support the economic inclusion of women,” she said. “What we need is the political will to pursue it.”
Years of progress, erased
Kristalina Georgieva, Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said the war in Ukraine was a stark reminder that fragility and conflict pose a terrible cost to human life. Speaking directly to Ukrainian women, she said: “We admire your courage. We share your pain. We stand with you. We support you.” The Foundation is quickly doing what it can to support the people of Ukraine.
Emphasizing that crises – whether due to conflict, pandemics or economic and trade emergencies – threaten to hinder years of progress on gender equality, she said that many women urgently couple, have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 crisis due to low socialization. protection, among other factors.
Women are also 20% lower than men in participating in the labor market.
The world has also seen enormous losses in learning: Over the lifetime of the many generations affected by the pandemic, $17 trillion will be lost to lack of education.
Perhaps more seriously, 20 million girls in developing countries will probably never return to school, she said, adding that gender-based violence has reared an ugly head. its consequences, leading to serious economic consequences.
She said overcoming these impacts could provide a “huge boost” to prosperity, noting that if sub-Saharan countries reduce gender-based violence closer to the world average, then they could see a 30 percent increase in long-term GDP per cent.
UN photo / Manuel Elias
She said gender equality is important for growth, resilience and socioeconomic stability, noting that “the most important thing is when women and girls can reach their full potential.” me”. Improving gender equality can enhance economic growth, strengthen the resilience of families and communities, and enhance financial stability.
“We know societies with more gender equality tend to be more resistant to violence and conflict,” she said. Too often, however, women are still excluded from decision-making.
She called on international organisations, governments and the private sector to work together to close the gender gap and improve development prospects.
For its part, IMF “Relentless” focuses on helping members design and implement economic policies that ensure greater resilience and growth, she said. It specifically targets social spending in an effort to improve education, health care and social protection and, as a result, create stronger societies. A country-appropriate approach is crucial.
“Women and girls are powerful agents of change,” she said, citing examples in Northern Ireland, Colombia and Liberia, where the women’s movement helped end civil war. To all the women and girls, she offers support: “Believe in yourself. Dare to make the most of your abilities.”
Moussokoro Coulibaly, President of the Women’s Economic Executive Network in Mali’s Ségou region, said her organization supports women’s economic recovery and women’s participation in peace efforts and integration. social connection. It brings together 7,847 women and works with 120 local women’s organizations and women’s groups.
“Investing in women’s economic empowerment generates short- and long-term social dividends, and increases women’s participation in decision-making and conflict resolution,” she explains.
UN photo / Evan Schneider
The voice stopped
During and after the conflict, the number of female-headed households increased sharply. “It is through their efforts that our community and families remain resilient.”
Note that the social and cultural norms used to justify harmful practices against women’s rights and financial resources are often inconsistent with the activities that economic members do. led by women, she said, all of these factors hinder women’s participation in community decision-making.
In Mali, the need to integrate
She emphasized that women are the backbone of the family and community. “We play a role in building peace.” Wherever women are active, they commit to social cohesion in their communities, in local conflict resolution initiatives, welcome internally displaced persons and those living in poverty. survivors of gender-based violence, in educating children and raising awareness about non-violence and peace.
It is imperative that women’s empowerment is at the core of peace resolutions, treaties and programs for sustainable peace. She urged the United Nations to facilitate women’s access to sustainable and flexible funding, and to support Governments in establishing and implementing policies that promote women’s economic empowerment. female.
She emphasized: “Let’s help women participate in the economic recovery process.