A renewed global agenda for women and girls

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It is time we led the implementation of interventions that prioritize meeting the needs of women and girls at home and abroad.

The Rwanda Women’s Network set up remote check-in points where women could stock up on groceries while connecting around their health and safety. (Strong Women International)

Last year, on International Women’s Day, our world came to a halt. This Women’s Day, we have the rare opportunity to make this world a much better place for women and girls.

We must seize this opportunity.

As COVID-19 has ravaged almost every corner of the planet, we have been forced to take a critical look at our politics, governance structures and cultural practices. We have learned a lot about what happened and why, and what needs to happen now, if we are to build a fairer and more resilient world.

The impacts of the pandemic on women and girls have been severe, and the challenges ahead are legion: millions more girls and women are out of school and out of work, incidences of sexual violence have exploded and the Access to sexual and reproductive health care has been severely limited, with those in remote areas, conflict zones and refugee camps the last to be served.

Of course, the deep structural inequalities that hurt girls and women around the world predate the pandemic. And as essential frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19, women’s health, safety and income remain at high risk.

A renewed global agenda for women and girls
Rwanda Women’s Network distributes essential supplies in the aftermath of COVID. (Strong Women International)

Still, there is good news. Emergency relief packages have eased the pressure on vulnerable communities, in large part thanks to the ingenuity and fearlessness of local women’s organizations familiar with the needs on the ground.

Fortunately, COVID cases and deaths are less than feared in many low-income countries, where vaccinations are finally underway, giving hope to those whose livelihoods have been crushed that a recovery is indeed underway. view. Importantly, more sex-disaggregated data is now being collected, making it easier to see who has been left behind, at what cost, what interventions will address these inequalities, and what resources are needed to design and implement them. .


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Now that the United States is once again ruled by champions of women who care about gender rights and dignity, science, truth, and our destiny as individuals, nation and planet, it It is time for us to lead the implementation of those interventions that prioritize meeting the needs of women and girls at home and abroad.

Fortunately, the Biden-Harris administration began to function, with the establishment of a Gender Policy Council in the White House, tasked with coordinating all policies affecting women and girls “on a wide range of issues such as economic security, health care, racial justice, gender-based violence and foreign policy.

And President Biden quickly repealed the so-called Mexico City policy or global gag rule, freeing up hundreds of millions of dollars for foreign NGOs and the United Nations Population Fund to implement programs. maternal and child health and family planning. This action alone will save countless lives and strengthen the ability of hundreds of nonprofit healthcare organizations to see and treat their patients.

Nationally, the adoption of the President’s care program is now urgent, with its vital support for wage increases, childcare, worker protection, paid family and sick leave, credit tax and unemployment insurance. We also need to strengthen laws governing sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Nationally and internationally, COVID relief is expected to include internet access for women and girls, digital payment platforms to transfer money directly to women, and access to loans, lines of credit and e-commerce platforms for women-owned businesses – which tend to be smaller and more vulnerable to economic shocks.

(Marc Nozell / Flickr)

Beyond the immediate emergency, the United States, working closely with our allies and other international partners, should create global plans for progress in three areas critical to the advancement of women: our health, our education and our outlook for life, and our built and natural environment. On all of these issues, women leaders around the world must be at the decision-making table, bringing their expertise from a wide range of local communities, religions, professions, universities and national governments.

To strengthen our health systems around the world, we need to reduce maternal and newborn mortality, expand access to adolescent sexual and reproductive health care, and strengthen the supply of vaccines and other pharmaceuticals, medical personnel, and clinical facilities and medical equipment.

The international community is responsible for mobilizing sufficient resources to expand access to kindergarten through university education, building on the work of the United Nations Education First in the World Initiative. world. Once children have returned to school safely after the pandemic, strategic international investment in education can ensure that every human being has legitimate access to quality education, preparedness for life. workforce and professionalization, thereby improving the status, self-esteem and influence of women.

With more women than men living in slums and much of their work anchored in now ravaged informal economies around the world, the United States and its allies should finally focus on creating the right conditions as well. prosperity of human settlements: safe housing, water and sanitation, transport, schools, parks and workplaces. This long-delayed investment is an opportunity for multilateral cooperation as well as for public-private-community partnerships to draw inspiration from women and local communities and build sustainable and vital infrastructure, generating countless green jobs in construction and en route services.

Of course, more needs to be done. But if a renewed America can help bring the international community together to implement an agenda based on these top priorities, the world will look much brighter for women and girls, and there will be no turning back.

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The coronavirus pandemic and the response of federal, state and local authorities are evolving rapidly. Meanwhile, Mrs. continues to focus on aspects of the crisis, especially as it has an impact on women and their families, often overlooked by mainstream media. If you have found this article useful, please consider supporting our independent reporting and truth disclosures for as little as $ 5 per month.

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