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Generation Equality: Alongside COVID Lies An ‘Equally Horrific Pandemic’ Threatening Women

As the world grapples unevenly with the effects
of COVID-19, “a parallel and equally horrific pandemic”
has threatened half the world’s population, the UN chief
said on Tuesday, in the lead up to the Generation Equality
Forum in France.

On Wednesday, leaders from
around the world will gather in Paris and online, in a
massive push for gender equality.

The Forum is a landmark
event convened by UN Women
, and co-hosted by the
governments of Mexico and France, in partnership with youth
and civil society, to accelerate
gender equality

In the early months of the
pandemic, the UN projected that quarantines and lockdowns
could lead to a shocking 15 million additional cases of
gender-based violence every three months.

those predictions appear to be coming true”, Secretary-General António
said in an opinion piece for the UK-based
Independent newspaper.

Violence amidst

One-in-three women experience violence in
her lifetime, said the World Health Organization (WHO), and according to the
Initiative Global Annual Report
, violence increased 83
per cent from 2019 to 2020, while cases reported to the
police grew by 64 per cent.

“From domestic violence
to sexual exploitation, trafficking, child marriage, female
genital mutilation and online harassment, violent misogyny
has thrived in the shadow of the pandemic”, said the UN

The COVID pandemic has added to an “existing
epidemic of violence against women and girls”, he

The pervasiveness of violence against women
and girls has led some to believe that it will continue

“This is as outrageous and self-defeating
as it is plain wrong”, said the UN chief, noting that the
Organization supported by its partnerships, have
demonstrated that “change is possible”.

At the
Generation Equality Forum, the top UN official said he would
call on States, companies and individuals to join in a
global initiative “to end the fear and insecurity that
threaten the health, rights, dignity and lives of so many
women and girls”.

Revealing data

The Forum
is a global movement convened by UN Women, and
co-hosted by the Governments of Mexico and France to
accelerate equality between women and men, girls and

To prepare for the discussions, the organizers
shared some statistics highlighting where action is most

Although women make up half of the population,
they hold only 20 per cent of its leadership, according to the
UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

underscores the importance of feminist movements to advance
women, including in leadership roles.

And compared to
men, women are 24
per cent
more likely to lose their jobs and can expect
their income to fall by 50 per cent more – making economic
justice and rights imperative.

At the same time, women
are 10 per cent less likely than men to have internet
access, leaving 433 million women globally on

Action now

Action must be taken to
ensure their equal access to technology and education so
their voices can be heard.

Turning to the climate
crisis, women’s environmental activism receives just three
per cent of philanthropic environmental funding – a
miniscule sum for an enormous challenge.

organizers uphold that gender-equitable climate action must
be built and the women who are disproportionally impacted by
climate change heard.

From Governments to corporations
and youth-led groups to Foundations, forum participants aim
secure concrete, ambitious, and transformative
commitments for gender equality, shaped theAction
, offer the world a roadmap for gender

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