DUBLIN, Mar 05 (IPS) – Worldwide Ladies’s Day is at all times an event to rejoice sturdy girls and an essential day within the world calendar to focus on the gender injustices nonetheless lingering in each a part of the world.
In 2021, our celebrations will likely be bittersweet as we mirror on the sacrifices and hardships girls have endured amid the pandemic, however I hope it’ll additionally spur us ahead to make sure girls and ladies form a extra equal future because the world recovers from COVID-19.
The previous 12 months have seen new boundaries emerge to gender equality linked to the pandemic, along with the pre-existing social and systemic discrimination. Internationally, girls are going through elevated home violence, unpaid care duties, unemployment and poverty.
Ladies stand on the frontlines of the COVID-19 disaster and the roles which have been revealed to be important throughout the pandemic — from well being and social care to low-paid companies — are predominantly held by girls.
Whereas a lot of the world has carried out appreciable restrictions of motion and emergency powers affecting each day life, authoritarian regimes particularly have exploited the general public well being disaster as an excuse to proceed and even step up patterns of political repression and oppression, with girls within the firing line.
One such nation is Zimbabwe, the place emergency powers prompted by the pandemic have been used to oppress official political gatherings and protests. In 2019, I visited Zimbabwe with my fellow Elder Graça Machel, the place we met with extraordinary girls from all elements of society who described their pains and struggles, but in addition their hope of a greater society. On this Worldwide Ladies’s Day, I reaffirm my solidarity with their battle for rights and justice and applaud their willpower to construct a greater future for his or her kids.
Internationally, I’ve been impressed by younger girls activists and leaders describing themselves as “intersectional environmentalists”, who work throughout conventional silos to advance girls’s rights and local weather justice. I share their view that these targets can’t be separated from wider struggles to finish different types of discrimination, exclusion and injustice together with racism, sectarianism and prejudice based mostly on sexuality and gender.
The pandemic has certainly shone an unflattering mild on world inequalities and uncovered the intersectionality between gender, poverty and age.
I typically suppose again to the impassioned speech in 2019 by the American local weather activist Jamie Margolin. Jamie was solely 17 years outdated when she testified at Capitol Hill concerning the local weather disaster and local weather injustices. She made headlines by interrupting when she felt her voice was not being listened to with the urgency and seriousness that the state of affairs demanded. Her anger was justified, and sits within the context of a long time if not centuries of ladies’s frustrations at being instructed to remain quiet when males are talking.
Ladies’s voices should be heard within the debates on the worldwide restoration from COVID-19. When girls and youth come collectively, they will renew a rustic. It’s completely essential that they’re current in a significant manner and given a seat on the desk on the COP26 local weather summit later this 12 months.
It’s our accountability as world leaders to incorporate the essential voices of ladies, youth and marginalised teams and nations. If the pandemic has taught us something, it’s that we’re inextricably interconnected.
We’ve seen how nations led by girls have typically fared higher within the pandemic and demonstrated their expertise and skill to successfully information their nations in instances of disaster. But, girls are (elected) heads of state and authorities in solely 20 nations worldwide.
We should observe the instance of Finland’s Sanna Marin, New Zealand’s Jacinda Arden and Germany’s Angela Markel and display impactful feminist management, beginning at COP26 and throughout the following decade with the intention to totally obtain the promise of the UN’s Sustainable Growth Objectives.
I’m additionally delighted that the World Commerce Group has simply elected Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as its new Director-Normal – the primary lady, and the primary African, to guide the WTO in its historical past. I do know she will likely be a robust voice for equality, justice and inclusion within the essential debates forward.
Regardless of the myriad of intertangled injustices which have been build up for hundreds of years, I see many causes to remain hopeful.
Gender inequality isn’t a difficulty that sits by itself and Worldwide Ladies’s Day conjures up me to combat for a post-pandemic world free from all injustices, as an alternative of going again to our outdated methods earlier than COVID-19 struck.
Whereas many people nonetheless can not see our youngsters and grandchildren amid the virus, I urge you to examine and act powerfully for a secure future for them in addition to for these but to come back.
I do know that I stand alongside legions of ladies combating for justice, be it bodily or just about, and that all of us stand alert and able to construct a secure, simply future for us all.
Mary Robinson, former President of Eire, Chair, The Elders
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