Discussion
18 Dec 2020 - 17 Jan 2021

Gender Equality

SparkBlue • 12 December 2020

Welcome to the joint discussion on gender equality.

Please answer any of the below questions (including the question numbers in your response). Feel free to introduce yourself if you wish. We look forward to hearing from you.
 

 

  1. What key lessons have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic in reaching global development goals through interagency collaboration and joint work, specifically from the perspective of gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment?
     
  2. How do you see the role of UN agencies evolving in order to address emerging challenges in reaching gender equality?
     
  3. What would enable UN agencies to contribute more effectively to transformational change and better leverage key partners to catalyze change and achieve the global development goals?
     
    1. Please specify which stakeholders and partners in your opinion should be prioritized and the various ways they could be better engaged: multilateral organizations, governments, civil society, private sector, foundations, young people, etc.
       
    2. Please specify how UN agencies can address external constraints and challenges that could potentially hinder progress in the next 10 years.
       

 

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Comments (32)

Leyla Sharafi Moderator

Dear contributors - we look forward to an engaging and dynamic dialogue over the next few weeks!

UNFPA, UNDP, UN Women and UNICEF share a common mandate on gender equality and promoting women and girls’ empowerment in all areas of our current Strategic Plans. Our work on gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women is grounded in the the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and is anchored in the landmark Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the ICPD Programme of Action, and Sustainable Development Goals. 

Gender Equality refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys. Equality does not mean that women and men will become the same but that women’s and men’s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female. Gender equality implies that the interests, needs and priorities of both women and men are taken into consideration, recognizing the diversity of different groups of women and men. Gender equality is not a women’s issue but should concern and fully engage men as well as women. Equality between women and men is seen both as a human rights issue and as a precondition for, and indicator of, sustainable people-centered development.

Recent data reveal a number of positive gains for women and girls in the 25 years since the Beijing Platform for Action was launched in 1995. Laws are being reformed to advance gender equality, and concrete actions are being taken to make national systems such as health, education, social protection and political participation more responsive to the needs and vulnerabilities of millions of underserved women and girls. This all remains not nearly enough, however, to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The scale and scope of the gender inequities that continue to violate the rights and limit the opportunities of women and girls worldwide outpace progress in too many areas. These are rooted in webs of poverty and gendered social norms that perpetuate unequal power dynamics, to the disadvantage especially of the poorest and most marginalized communities. 

The year 2020, marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, was intended to be ground-breaking for gender equality. Instead, with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic even the limited gains made in the past decades are at risk of being rolled back. The pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems which are in turn amplifying the impacts of the pandemic.

Please feel free to share your resources, comments, and questions here about the above topic!

 

Sheila Peiffer

The members of Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC), a 45-year-old organization advocating full equality for women in the Roman Catholic Church, want to bring the issue of gender equality in the Church to the attention of the United Nations Community.  Because the Catholic Church is a worldwide organization enjoying respect and authority beyond religious parameters yet neither models nor encourages gender equity, it has undue influence on the achievement of gender justice in the world. In effect, the Catholic Church gives “cover” to governments and agencies that also impede full inclusion of women in decision-making.

As is stated in the moderator Leyla Sharafi’s opening note, although some progress has been made in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action and the Sustainable Development Goals, not nearly enough has been accomplished. Benchmarks will not be attained by 2030 as was hoped.  Women around the globe are suffering disproportionately from the effects of COVID-19 and from the lack of accountability to the important issues of CEDAW, the Beijing Platform and the SDGs.

Since the Holy See enjoys Nonmember State Permanent Observer Status at the United Nations, it is important to bring pressure on this worldwide organization that consistently denies women equality.  Despite the fact that the Beijing Platform for Action states, “Without the active participation of women and the incorporation of women’s perspective at all levels of decision-making, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot be achieved” (G, 181), the Church continues to operate without any women having meaningful participation in decision-making. 

Leyla Sharafi points out that “gendered social norms …perpetuate unequal power dynamics…” The Catholic Church imposes “gendered social norms” on communities that are influential, widespread and extremely detrimental to the well-being of women. 

We urge the UN community to hold the Holy See to account in implementing the UN’s agreed upon goals to create a gender equal world. This would mean being held accountable to the requirements of CEDAW and the Beijing Platform for Action and providing recognizable progress toward establishment of an inclusive, gender equal institution.

Aroa Santiago Moderator

Is the COVID-19 threatening the advancements towards gender equality so hardly gained during decades? It seems so, as this report of the Secretary General highlights. At the same time, COVID-19 is an opportunity to do things better, and transform socio-economic structures for more gender-equal and resilient societies. However, as the COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker shows, the global response may not have been yet enough. For instance, only 10% of social protection and employment measures taken by governments of 205 countries and territories target women's economic security, and only 8% of measures target the crisis of care.

What can or should the UN do towards systemic transformation? How can UN agencies catalyze efforts for COVID-19 recovery towards gender equality? With whom should the UN engage with? We are looking forward learning about your opinions on the three questions above! 

 

Waldistrudis Hurtado Minotta

Existe un alto riesgos frente a los derechos  y  conquistas alcanzadas por las Organizaciones de Mujeres  en avanzar hacia la igualdad  de sus derechos .Es urgente    identificar colectivamente de manera global y local,un nuevo marco de atención  centrado en  un nuevo Paradigma de de Sociedad   fundamentado en la  inclusión, la Pluralidad, el género, solidaridad y el antirracismo estructural como principio de la acción concertada  con los distintos multiactores y multiniveles  desde la  cotidianidad  de las mujeres y las niñas en sus territorios gobiernos, locales y globales .  Promover una nueva arquitectura institucional hacia el interior  de las agencias  con nuevos  retos  en la transformación y fortalecimiento de los proceso  sociales, políticos , ambientales y económicos  Abordar el tema del cuidado   en la vida de las Mujeres es un imperativo para acelerar la igualdad de Género 

Henia Dakkak

It is important for UN agencies to partner with private sector and to engage with global economic institutions to promote women economic participation and to work with governments to reform national employment and labor laws and improve social security sector.

Most women are involved or employed through informal economy and service sectors and many have lost their income, so unless incentives and packages are provided more women are going to end in poverty. At the same time women constitute 70% of health work force mostly nurses, community health workers, midwifes but again although they are at the front line in fighting COVID-19 but currently they are less paid than their male peers. 

 

Georges Gonzales

Dear Henia,

I fully agree with you that partnering with the private sector to promote girls empowerment and women economic participation, is the right joint way to follow, among our four UN agencies. We really need to have a joint analysis of the situation of young people with gender lenses, having a common theory of change regarding gender equality and girls/women empowerment, identify education / training / apprenticeship / employability programmes and promote economic activities and employment of both young people (girls and boys) and women. And identify the specific role of the private sector, with its full contribution/co-construction and make the link with any economic intervention.

Rosalee Keech

Totally agree with Henia and others that partnering with the private sector to increase women's economic empowerment and leadership is important.  Forward looking strategies concerning leveraging existing women leaders inclusion and sponsorship of other women to Boards of Directors and executive management is a key component of bringing in more women to decision-making roles.  Additionally, by working within an organization, it is easier to effect change.  The same strategy should be used regarding women's political empowerment and leadership.  Leveraging women leaders to bring in more women to the political parties and sponsoring appointments to decision-making roles are important.  Further, results matter.  Sharing the impact of women's leadership to profits and growth, in the case of the private sector, or successful social programs that also raise GDP, in the case of the public sector are important to convey.  The United Nations has an opportunity to help gather the research that is needed in understanding what practices are yielding successful results so that we're not reiterating the issues 10 years from now, but actually accomplishing the transformative change that is needed.

Hassan Ali Abbasi

COVID-19 has undoubtedly impacted every aspect in unprecedented ways. However, every challenge brings new opportunities to learn, adapt and grow.
In developing economies, COVID-19 has boosted the digitization and adaption of digital technology, moreover IT/telecom sector is introducing easy digital wallet solutions to masses faster than ever. Therefore in coming decade, it is vital for UN agencies to partner with digital solution providers for Women Economic Empowerment and programs focusing on E-Commerce & promoting Entrepreneurship amongst women leveraging the already in place digital solutions.

Aroa Santiago Moderator

Thank you Henia and Hassan for raising such critical challenges: women´s limited participation in decision making (let´s remember that women occupy only 25% of parliamentary seats worldwide); women's over-representation in informal work  (with 740 million women in the informal economy) and thus their limited access to social protection, especially contributory. All these hinder women's resilience in times of crisis. And, indeed, the digital transformation has become a critical added element to women's resilience during the pandemic. While women are 5 times less likely to access to the internet than men in LDC countries, those more digitally agile have been better able to ensure their livelihoods and MSME survival during the pandemic. Also, those with access to the digital world have had more possibilities to access to public services, social protections and even escape from abusive relationships if they are in one.

Does this mean that UN agencies should prioritize decent employment for women, gender-responsive social protection and digital inclusion? If so, how? and with whom? Are there any other critical entry points to consider? Looking forward to your thoughts!

Frances Guy

hi Aroa,  I would like to link your comment to that made earlier on the need to link up to the private sector.   the Covid -19 crisis has thrown up once again the dichotomies of the care sector and the dependency of global capitalism on women's unpaid work.  discussion on this topic has often given the impression that the state needs to deal with this through the provision of childcare facilities, nurseries, preschool and post school provision and care centres for the elderly but it occurs to me that as well as seeking to create more of an 'economy' out of the care sector, there should be some role for the rest of the private sector to help.  of course, better clearer taxation policies would be one way forward, but for bigger companies perhaps there could be more direct incentives somehow.  I think the 4 agencies working together on the care sector could make a big difference to the debate and ensure that the issue forms the heart of a global post-covid response because unpaid care is global - it may take slightly different shapes in different contexts but the global reality that it is mostly done by women and nearly always unpaid (or done by underpaid and unrecognised women).  thanks 

Henia Dakkak

Digital technologies provide new opportunities to make progress, but technological fixes cannot address the underlying structural problems that drive the digital gender divide. Concrete policy actions are needed to foster women’s and girls’ full participation and inclusion in the digital economy, while at the same time addressing stereotypes and social norms that lead to discrimination against women. For example today worldwide some 327 million fewer women than men have a smartphone and can access the mobile Internet. Women are under-represented in ICT jobs, top management and academic careers and, as documented in some reports that  men are four times more likely than women to be ICT specialists. At 15 years of age, on average, only 0.5% of girls wish to become ICT professionals, compared to 5% of boys. Women-owned start-ups receive 23% less funding and are 30% less likely to have a positive exit compared to male-owned businesses.

We need to tackle the hurdles to access, affordability, lack of education as well as inherent biases and socio-cultural norms that curtail women and girls’ ability to benefit from the opportunities offered by the digital transformation. In addition, girls’ relatively lower educational enrollment in disciplines that would allow them to perform well in a digital world – such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as information and communication technologies – coupled with women’s and girls’ more limited use of digital tools could lead to widening gaps and greater inequality.

Acting now to reverse these trends can pay off on long run,  greater inclusion of women in the digital economy and increased diversity bring value, both social and economic. For instance, inventions arising out of mixed teams are more economically valuable and have higher impact than those in which only men are involved. 

Coordinated policy action can help narrow the digital gender gap. This requires raising awareness and tackling gender stereotypes; enabling enhanced, safer and more affordable access to digital tools; and stronger cooperation across stakeholders to remove barriers to girls and women’s full participation in the digital world. It is important to foster women’s entrepreneurship and engagement in innovation. 

Hassan Ali Abbasi

Rightly put by Dr. Henia that concrete policy and partnering with digital providers in private sector goes hand-in-hand. Moreover, engagement with academia specially at College/University level is also vital for fostering a mindset of 'Women Empowerment and Gender Equality' via university chapters and awareness campaigns.

Also it is important to advocate and collaborate with private entities for 'Harassment Free Workplaces' to create a 'Pull Factor' for more women to participate.

Henia Dakkak

Agree fully on the points you raised Hassan the need to engaging academia and to work with private entities on harassment free workplaces. 

 

 

Lina Hosking

I believe the matter of gender inequality has two different mechanisms: the exclusion of women because they are women, and the exclusion of women because they are feminine.
Fortunately, the exclusion of women because they are women is not very common in the Western world. However, it is common in underdeveloped countries, where culture and religion dictate these restrictions and sometimes even the law. I think the only way to change this is to open people's minds to different ideas, without imposing these on them (as this will only lead to resistance). 
The exclusion of women because they are feminine is a more subtle way of exclusion, and occurs more often in the Western world. It is recognised that women have value to a company and it is even proven that a more diverse leadership team leads to better performance. But as long as we see assertiveness, dominance, charisma and arrogance as leadership qualities instead of compassion, communication and caring, we will not find more women in leadership positions. Only the women who 'think like a man'. 

Aroa Santiago Moderator

Thank you all for keeping the discussion so lively and touching such key issues. It is evident from these posts that an interconnected challenge needs an interconnected response.

As such, disrupting social norms needs to go hand in hand with structural transformation, including discriminatory laws, women's access to productive assets and equal employment generation, among others. In sum, a holistic approach is needed. For this, UN agencies have distinct but complementary comparative advantages that allow them to ensure this holistic approach. At the same time, UN agencies are only part of the puzzle, and need to work, as you have mentioned above, hand-in-hand with governments, the private sector, academia and CSOs.

In this sense, what challenges do you foresee that UN agencies will face in the next 10 years to advance towards gender equality? How can UN agencies and key partners overcome them? Any other gender inequalities or partners that UN agencies should work on? Looking forward to learning more from this fruitful discussion!

Henia Dakkak

@ Aroa Santiago there is a need to partner with men and boys, most programmes on behavior change and changing social norms are targeting women and girls and there is a need to partner with men and boys too in order to achieve change. At the same time it is important to work with faith based organizations and religious leaders. Without engaging and partnering with religious and faith based organizations to improve dialogue and create opportunities for changing social norms. It is important to change legislation and work with parliamentarians to improve laws that hinder gender equality and participation of women in decision making. 

Aroa Santiago Moderator

Thank you Georges and Henia! You have indeed brought new partners and approaches to consider: Work with parliamentarians, with faith organizations, with girls as well as with men and boys! The vital role of working with girls and boys from early stages to disrupt social norms is critical as you have stressed, as well as the importance of working with the private sector as full partners. How can we do so? What should we bring into our own strategic planning for this? Any challenge to overcome?

Waldistrudis Hurtado Minotta

Las mujeres enfrentan múltiples barreras agudizadas  por el impacto desacerbado del Covid 19  que atraviesan los distintos ámbitos y dimensiones en los cuales interactúan. Este entramado  de problema afecta de manera desproporcionada a las mujeres negras, afrodescendientes , indígenas, rurales, migrantes, discapacitadas, y con identidades sexuales   diferentes, invisibilizándolas en el ejercicio de sus derechos y en el acceso a recursos para su realización . Hoy los desafío de las Agencias están centradas en un nuevo diálogo Social y Político en donde el centro de la acción lo constituyan las  mujeres en su diversidad desde una perspéctiva étnica diferencial, antirracistas, de género, interseccional  territorial y  de derechos humanos, enfrentando la desigualdades producto del sistema  combinado de opresión, las brechas de pobreza , el sexismo, la raza, la clase social Considero un imperativo  avanzar en la 1.-Revision de los Marcos  normativos  y los compromisos adquiridos  por los países para la igualdad de género, 2. Fortalecer los diálogos  y puentes con las organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil, con los gobiernos  frentes a las demandas diferenciales y estratégicas de las  Mujeres y las niñas .3.- Empoderamiento político  de las mujeres en su diversidad  étnico/racial  en los espacios de decisión y representación . 4.-Sistemas de información diferencial como herramientas de planificación y gestión del conocimiento para la formulación de las política públicas  5. Avanzar en el fortalecimiento  de las Alianzas público, privadas para la inclusión  y reconocimiento de las Mujeres y las niñas  y garantizar el acceso a la Protección social en equidad. 6.-Es urgente  la transformación  de pautas y normas de comportamiento a partir de la cultura y el saber ancestral  fundante en la transformación  social y política  desde una perspectiva de derechos para hombres y mujeres  7.-Fortalecer estrategia de comunicacion  para eliminar los estigmas  e imaginario que  exacerban la violencia de género  apostándole a las nuevas masculinidades. 8. Contribuir a generar   herramientas masivas de formación digital y el acceso a redes para las mujere y las niñas reconociendo las brechas digitales  existente en las mujeres   en condición de pobreza  desigualdad. Finalmente considero   fortalecer  los diálogos territoriales como una estrategia y nuevo marco de acción que dará los insumos a los países y  a la Cooperación para  su intervención colectiva  

         

Jacky Bartenge

Of importance also is involving members of our communities by first building their capacity on disability rights and needs of women and girls with disabilities. By doing this, I believe, they will be on the frontline in advocating for the rights of women and girls with disabilities.

Shreyasi Jha Moderator

Hello everyone and a very happy and productive 2021! I work with the Gender team at UNICEF and will be moderating this thread over the next few days. Jacky Bartenge thanks for flagging this issue of intersectionality, especially looking at girls and women with disabilities. Any actions, programmes and policies that promotes gender equality must include all women and girls, especially those that face multiple forms of exclusion such as women and girls with disability, migrant and displaced women and individuals with non-gender binary identities. 

On the issue of intersectionality, what are some of the priorities and approaches that you would like UN agencies to promote over the next decade? Are there specific forms of discrimination and marginalization of women and girls that UN agencies should focus on?  

Alice Mpofu Coles

There is no African feminism without the African child. 

This also spreads to the context of refugees and Africa hosts the highest number of refugees.  Grassroots organisation are more effective in dealing with issues without the top bottom narrative. We have seen how communities together have looked after each other during Covid-19 forming grassroots organisation to assist each other. Race, racism, refugees has exposed the inequalities in the world.  Borders have become an issue of contention, let alone that climate problems are not addressed with poverty. Within grassroots organisation there are mothers who drive communities who are not visible to the big organisations, donors and main stream organisations.  There is also invisible disabilities and in Africa it goes beyond the physical but to HIV, diabetes, chronic illness etc.  The intersectionality of different social status which are gendered, cultural norms, disability, gendered identities, poverty are never discussed together but separate.  Let alone to add to the intersection refugees and internal displace people through political persecution, wars and even environmental displacement. Most of Africa depends on informal sector for their income and Covid-19 has worsened the poverty.  In 2005 the world including UN stood to say MAKE POVERTY HISTORY.  When we look at 2021, the SDGs are no way nearer to achieve many of the goals and the organisations including UN need to rethink the strategies that encompasses all humans.  Small grassroots organisation make better changes that are visible if they are empowered to participatory action research.  By finding out their own problems and ways to solve them, it gives them a seed to be able to empower themselves.The community can influence policy and strategies, instead of the top down narrative that has been taking place for too long. They have the knowledge and through participatory organising and observation, they knowledge can contribute to those strategies, or policies even programs that are helpful. Faith organisations can help if there is prevention of sexually abuse. Young girls and boys should be enabled to have a voice through proper channels when there is sexual abuse and they should be believed.  Women suffer due to poverty without reporting domestic abuse or through cultural values that disenfranchise the child and women.  Unless the young girls and boys are able to speak and be heard, then generational problems will continue to be manifested in places.   

Shreyasi Jha Moderator

Thank you so much for your comments. The points around intersectionality related to age, race, ethnicity, disability and economic status are all well noted. No doubt that the way forward for gender equality has to become more nuanced for different groups and its most true for young girls and boys because of the intergenerational transfer to norms, attitudes and practices. Giving a platform to the youth and empowering them to speak for themselves and their communities is a major priority for all agencies, and clearly a priority for the next strategic plan for our four agencies. Moving into next week, it would be great to hear from colleagues about examples of interventions in their countries/regions that have been effective in engaging the youth on issues relating to equity and gender equality. 

Member 001
  • La Pandemia  del Covid  19 ha dejado  lecciones en clave de generar las estrategias  que se deben diseñar e implementar para avanzar en la igualdad  de género en el marco de los objetivos de desarrollo sostenible. Promover nuevos marcos de intervención desde ONU MUJER  es un imperativo ético que implica el abordaje de enfoques diferenciales  e interccesionales desde una perspectiva de género étnico / racial que reconozca  la diversidad poblacional en sus grupos etarios  y territoriales. Es fundamental  no solo escuchar  las voces de las mujeres y sus organizaciones  en los territorios sino que hay que elevar esas voces y traducirlas en Políticas públicas   transformadoras reales y efectivas que repondan a ese pensar, sentir y actuar de las mujeres que viven cotidianamente las desigualdades y opresiones de una sociedad que las invisibiliza y desconoce sus derechos ciudadanos.La interseccionalidad tiene que ser un factor determinante en el diseño , implementacion ejecucion de las politicas publica como también de la asignación de los recursos  necesarios para  su ejecución efectiva. ONU Mujer en su rol estratégico de promover  y contribuir a la igualdad de género, debe fortalecer los puentes y alianzas con las organizaciones territoriales con los gobiernos en sus distintos niveles  desde una nueva concepción del feminismo comunitario  interccesional  étnico /racial   que se fundamenta en el saber ancestral y la trasmisión de valores como factores fundantes de la transformación social y política de las mujeres  en su diversidad e interculturalidad.

Considero que ONU mujer debe enfocarse en formas especificas de discriminación y marginación  directamente relacionadas con el racismo estructural  hacia mujeres  afrodescendientes e indígenas, rurales, migrantes, en situación de discapacidad y mujeres con identidades sexuales diferentes. ONU Mujer debe enfrentar la eliminación de todas las formas de discriminación productos de los imaginarios y estereotipos que persisten en la garantía de los derechos de los grupos de mayor riesgos y vulnerabilidad y de los grupos etarios (niñas y jóvenes )

 Es importante que ONU Mujeres  se centre a partir de  un enfoque multidimensional y ecológico para el empoderamiento de los derechos de las Mujeres y las niñas  abordando desde todos los ámbitos y dimensiones  un nuevo marco de actuación  que responda  a una transformación sociocultural en las relaciones de hombres y mujeres y por ende se fortalezcan los lazos  de respeto autonomía y libertad  en la políticas públicas

El diálogo  social y político  e intergeneracional con las organizaciones feministas en su diversidad étnico/racial e interseccional debe ser una apuesta permanente de ONU Mujer  para seguir posicionando en la Agenda Publica de los gobiernos locales, regionales y globales los derechos humanos  de las Mujeres y las niñas, acelerando la igualdad de género  

    

  

 

 

Waldistrudis Hurtado Minotta

La Pandemia  del Covid  19 ha dejado  lecciones en clave de generar las estrategias  que se deben diseñar e implementar para avanzar en la igualdad  de género en el marco de los objetivos de desarrollo  sostenible. Promover nuevos marcos de intervención desde ONU MUJER  es un imperativo ético que implica el abordaje de enfoques diferenciales  e interccesionales desde una perspectiva de género étnico/racial que reconozca  la diversidad poblacional en sus grupos etarios  y territoriales. Es fundamental  no solo escuchar  las voces de las mujeres y sus organizaciones  en los territorios sino que hay que elevar esas voces y traducirlas en Políticas públicas   transformadoras reales y efectivas que respondan a ese pensar, sentir y actuar de las mujeres que viven cotidianamente las desigualdades y opresiones de una sociedad que las invisibiliza y desconoce sus derechos ciudadanos.La interseccionalidad tiene que ser un factor determinante en el diseño , implementacion ejecucion de las politicas publica como también de la asignación de los recursos  necesarios para  su ejecución efectiva. ONU Mujer en su rol estratégico de promover  y contribuir a la igualdad de género, debe fortalecer los puentes y alianzas con las organizaciones territoriales con los gobiernos en sus distintos niveles  desde una nueva concepción del feminismo comunitario  interccesional  étnico /racial   que se fundamenta en el saber ancestral y la trasmisión de valores como factores fundantes de la transformación social y política de las mujeres  en su diversidad e interculturalidad.

Considero que ONU mujer debe enfocarse en formas especificas de discriminación y marginación  directamente relacionadas con el racismo estructural  hacia mujeres  afrodescendientes e indígenas, rurales, migrantes, en situacion de discapacidad  y mujeres con identidades sexuales diferentes. ONU Mujer debe enfrentar la eliminación de todas las formas de discriminación productos de los imaginarios y estereotipos que persisten en la garantía de los derechos de los grupos de mayor riesgos y vulnerabilidad y de los grupos etarios (niñas y jóvenes )

 Es importante que ONU Mujeres  debe centrarse  en  un enfoque multidimensional y ecológico  para el empoderamiento de los derechos de las Mujeres y las niñas  abordando desde todos los ámbitos y dimensiones  un nuevo marco de actuación  que responda  a una transformación sociocultural en las relaciones de hombres y mujeres y por ende se fortalezcan los lazos  de respeto autonomía y libertad  en la políticas públicas

El dialogo  social y politico  e intergeneracional con las organizaciones feministas en su diversidad étnico /racial e interseccional  debe ser una apuesta permanente de ONU Mujer  para seguir posicionando en la Agenda Pública de los gobiernos locales, regionales y globales los derechos humanos  de las Mujeres y las niñas, acelerando la igualdad de género  

 

Sabine Freizer Moderator

Thank you Waldistrudis Hurtado Minotta for your very useful comment emphasizing issues related to indigenous, rural, migrant, disabled and women with different sexual identities. 

Together with our sister agencies, UNFPA, UNDP and UNICEF we are all looking for ways to better include the needs and interests of women facing various forms of discrimination in our new Strategic Plans and work overall. In this regard, the aspects of collaboration with government entities, addressing various forms of intersectionality and intergenerational engagements are all a priority, which we plan to include in our next strategic plans. Addressing intersectionality and "leaving nobody behind" is crucial to our efforts to have a wholesome/multidimensional approach to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls around the globe.

Based on your suggestion to hold intergenerational dialogues with feminist organizations, could you please share an example of how this has been done or how you would specifically recommend this be set up? Are there specific challenges that you believe we may face and how we recommend that we address them?    

Sabine Freizer Moderator

Hello everyone and welcome to week 4 of the joint consultation. It’s the last week of our discussion so please jump right in and encourage others to join!

I work with UN Women on women’s participation and gender-responsive governance and will be your moderator this week. So far we have collected extremely valuable comments on this platform, in particular recommendations on the need to leave no one behind and to engage with a wide range of stakeholders to confront the intersecting forms of discrimination which too many women face: girls and women with disabilities, faith-based organizations, boys and men, youth, refugees and IDPs…

Your contributions present valuable ideas and points of reflection and consideration for the development of our next strategic plan. I would like to hear from you some specific recommendations drawn from examples of interventions in your various countries/regions that have been effective in overcoming social norms and values that negatively affect gender equality. It would be especially interesting to learn how you have successfully engaged youth on issues relating to gender equality. While providing these recommendations, please specify some of the challenges the interventions encountered and your ideas on how UN agencies can address external constraints/challenges that could potentially hinder their progress in the next 10 years.

Looking forward to our discussion!

Stephanie Perlson

Thank you for this discussion! I would like to first add that I strongly agree with the priorities and approaches discussed by participants in this forum so far to promote gender equality and social inclusion and dismantle/eliminate all forms of discrimination, violence, and poverty. To address/end the power dynamics that have upheld patriarchy, white supremacy, economic injustice, etc. around the world, and their negative impacts, requires all of us, and collaboration and coordination by all stakeholders: all levels of government, private sector, and civil society organizations (CSOs), including those working at the community/grassroots level.

To meet the requirements articulated in CEDAW and the Beijing Platform for Action, UN agencies’ efforts need to continue with policymakers and private sector decisionmakers across all sectors to develop, implement and fund programs and policies/laws that are equitable, inclusive, and ensure that women, girls, and all marginalized groups have equal access to education (especially STEM), SRHR and general health care, economic empowerment, and ICT. It’s wonderful to hear that UN agencies will include in their next strategic plan a focus on engaging the necessary stakeholders to dismantle intersecting forms of discrimination. Also, the push for gender equality must remain a priority while we grapple with COVID-19 and heal from its impact so that prior gains made toward gender equality are not completely lost; promoting gender equality, such as women’s economic empowerment, can also benefit COVID-19 recovery.

UN agencies can support and facilitate CSO, government and private sector collaboration to continue to advance gender equality across all sectors and ensure it is sustained. UN agencies can work with all levels of government and the private sector to learn from CSOs promoting gender equality, particularly those working at the community level, and the UN can help make sure this learning is included in its plans and actions to avoid the typical “top-down” thinking and approaches. For example, CSOs using gender transformative/synchronized approaches can advocate with and guide policymakers and the private sector to integrate structures/practices that promote gender equality. And regarding youth: as we’ve seen, youth gender equality champions can be persuasive advocates! Additionally, research suggests that interventions to promote gender equality should start during early adolescence to prevent discriminatory gender norms, so we must include young people in gender transformative efforts so that gender equality lasts long beyond an intervention or program. We know that engaging men and boys, along with women and girls, across the life course is imperative to achieve gender equality, as well as working with religious and community leaders. Including these stakeholders in gender transformative interventions encourages the necessary reflection, learning, and skills-building that will protect and ensure women’s and girls’ rights and agency, and discourages any beliefs and norms that negatively impact gender equality. Such efforts with stakeholders, especially if carried out together and with youth, help create an enabling environment for gender equality to be promoted and sustained over time. I think UN agencies have a role in supporting such interventions and disseminating their learning to policymakers and private sector decisionmakers so that they can join/continue in advancing enduring gender equality. I look forward to the discussion with those working on interventions with youth to promote gender equality.

Diana Lutta Moderator

Stephanie, thank you for sharing your views on the discussion. Indeed, it is imperative that UN entities continue to further leverage their unique position to convene member states and other stakeholders including Civil Society to advance gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls globally, while promoting the elimination of discriminatory gender norms across all spheres of life.

With regards to funding gender sensitive policies and programmes, in our next Strategic plans, we hope to scale up our efforts around ensuring that financing for gender equality includes women's and girls’ voices and eliminates discrimination by expanding their access to services, resources, opportunities, safety and security.

Your reiteration on the importance to involve boys and girls in gender equality initiatives is also well noted. From your experience, would you be having a specific example on how you have successfully engaged youth on issues relating to gender equality? In your opinion, what would enable UN agencies to contribute more effectively to transformational change and better leverage the youth as key partners to catalyze change and achieve the SDGs?

Marina.Berbiec

In past postings, I have managed GBV specialized programs that included GBV prevention efforts and working towards social change. 

One component that has kept coming again and again from women and girls is the need to engage men and boys, at the earliest age possible and including of both women and men influential figures and authority leaders, in "accountable practice". Make them allies of GBV prevention efforts, active champions of gender equality, and constant challengers of gendered power imbalances (without stealing women's and girls' own power and voices). This has been achieved / progressed towards over long periods of time and countless sessions and joint dialogues about Power notions and the "Gender Box" - the gendered stereotypes of what a woman and what a man is, or should be, in a given society, including negative concepts of masculinities and harmful norms and attitudes towards women and girls. The deconstruct of those stereotypes was vital in fostering change at the individual, interpersonal / relationship and community levels, and in empowering women and girls in taking the space that had too long been denied to them. A more structured, curriculum-based and targeted approach to such community mobilization against GBV had proven more effective in changing norms compared to what we sometimes refer to as "awareness / outreach sessions on GBV risks and consequences", which translates into (lifesaving) information dissemination but is often confused with social and behavioral change programming.  

Montse Pineda

Human Rights are exercised and guaranteed collectively and individually in everyday life in communities and regions, as well as globally and internationally. Defending, promoting and guaranteeing these rights depend on local, national, regional and international public policies and on the constant watchfulness and advocacy of civil society, movements and activists and a committed, empowered citizenry. Institutions are expected to create the conditions to construct and enhance the guarantee of Human Rights based on gender equality, non-discrimination and the right over one’s own body and to live a life free of violence against women to attain real social justice. Human rights are not guaranteed without guaranteeing the Human Rights of Women and LGBTI+ people Associating the principles of Human Rights in general and the Human Rights of Women in particular with the implementation of national and local public policies is essential since institutional structures have a patriarchal logic and tend to reproduce inequalities. Nonetheless, if these principles are not applied from an intersectional feminist perspective, they may run the risk of leaving many people behind.

The women’s and feminist movement has identified the implementation process of the 2030 Agenda as an opportunity to continue working to advance and exercise Human Rights of Women and LGBTI+ people as long as it is done:

- Beyond SDG5 since SDGs are interlinked and interdependent. The Human Rights of Women and LGTBI+ people are fundamental so we cannot clustered them when implemented, monitored and reviewed. 

- Ensuring that implementation and monitoring of its targets and commitments take into account gender mainstreaming from an intersectional perspective, in compliance with national plans and always in association with the other international instruments that defend Human Rights, in particular CEDAW, the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programe of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development of Cairo.

Even though we are aware that this process is perceived as abstract, it is essential to bring it to citizens so that they are aware of the importance of its repercussions. It is imperative that decision-makers, institutions and public entities become aware of the need to link up the global and local agendas and the importance of implementing the 2030 Agenda, as well as the way to adopt the international Human Rights and development instruments as the conceptual frameworks of work and as political tools.

Leticia Martínez MEXFAM

Como ejemplo de intervención exitosa para la equidad de género, durante 2017 y 2018 MEXFAM, a través de fondos de la Federación Internacional para la Planeación Familiar (IPPF), en colaboración con la Universidad de Londres (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)  implementaron una Intervención para prevenir y atender la VBG a través de la impartición de un Curso de Educación Integral en Sexualidad. Se demostró que se contribuye a la prevención de la violencia en las relaciones eróticoafectivas que establecen las y los adolescentes, y  que los y las participantes tomen acciones para responder a la misma. A partir de ello, se aumenta además la evidencia de la efectividad de la Educación Integral en Sexualidad y la necesidad de fortalecer las currículas escolares en este tema. 

No obstante, para la implementación de este tipo de intervenciones, es indispensable que los programas educativos cuenten con el personal capacitado para su replicación y de que se garantice el recurso para su ejecución.

 

¿Cómo pueden las agencias de la ONU abordar las limitaciones?

  • A través del acompañamiento de las agencias en los Estados por medio de sus marcos de cooperación que apenas están elaborando en las cuales se retoman las necesidades, contextos y experiencias de los países.
  • Reforzando el diálogo y trabajo colaborativo con organizaciones de la sociedad civil aliadas para dar seguimiento a agendas a favor de la igualdad de género.
  • Acompañamiento en procesos de incidencia regional y global como el Foro Generación Igualdad y los compromisos de Nairobi en cada país.

 

Desafíos externos que podrían potencialmente obstaculizar su progreso en los próximos 10 años: 

  • Iniciativas de ley regresivas en contra de la Educación Integral en Sexualidad, como es el caso del PIN parental.
  • Reducción de los presupuestos que los Estados dan a los mecanismos regionales para operar.
Vesna Ciprus

Thank you all for your valuable inputs! I agree with the priorities emphasised by contributors to this discussion. Thinking about what UN agencies can do to address external constraints/challenges that could potentially hinder their progress in the next 10 years it is important to note that even more often we have to act fast and make impact while finding ways in unchartered territories to uphold human security.

Notwithstanding the importance of human security, and gender perspective as a key aspect of human security paradigm, these topics often remain at the bottom of the political agenda. COVID-19 crisis exposed unprecedented levels of violence against women and issues related to unpaid work. At the same time, the pandemic unveiled the significance of women’s contribution to the health systems and society at large. However, these insights are yet to galvanise visible and sustainable social change towards full women’s participation in all walks of life.

It is key to focus on capacity building of stakeholders from the security sector in gender transformative interventions to uphold Women, Peace and Security Agenda, which is as important today as it was 20 years ago when UNSCR 1325 was adopted. Over the coming decade UN agencies should continue and further step up their role in supporting policies and programme interventions focused on advancing gender equality and women’s active role in conflict prevention, as well as in negotiating and sustaining peace.

Activities implemented by the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) can provide some valuable lessons. SEESAC operates in the region characterised with geopolitical tensions, including unresolved / frozen conflicts. Against the backdrop of the EU accession processes, which are prioritised by the countries of the South-Eastern Europe, the issues of state capture, nationalism and retraditionalisation of gender roles persist.  The protracted migrant crisis and increasing frequency of extreme events such as floods, earthquakes and other disasters exacerbated by climate change call for urgent action to reestablish citizens’ trust in government institutions and robust regional cooperation.

In that context, SEESAC has pioneered approach to mainstreaming gender within the framework of its overarching theme – small arms and light weapons (SALW) control. Gender perspective is mainstreamed through the entire SEESAC programme portfolio. Seminal research on gendered aspects of SALW has been recognised in other regions for its transformative change potential.

In order to address gender related issues in the military and promote WPS agenda, SEESAC with its partners from four jurisdictions in the Western Balkans region (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) started joint project in 2012. The backbone of the project is the regional platform for knowledge exchange aimed at integrating gender perspective into security sector reform. It should be noted that creating the SEESAC gender in the military platform was an ‘unobvious’ and bold solution, given that all participating countries had faced highly sensitive political issues in the past, some yet to be resolved. In a challenging context, the regional activities evolve with appetite for innovation and commitment for genuine progress towards gender equality in the military. The success stems from the regional approach, and strong sense of ownership by the Ministries of Defence and Armed Forces - partners in the regional project.


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