By Marilyne Njuraita, Communications Intern, Together for Girls
From June 30-July 2, the Generation Equality Forum took place in Paris with more than 50,000 people coming together virtually to advocate for equality. The forum, convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of France and Mexico in close partnership with civil society and youth activists, launched a collective call to accelerate action for gender equality. Since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action by 189 countries, important strides have been made toward achieving gender equality, but much more work needs to be done. The setbacks that women and girls face around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic make this call to action even more urgent. The Generation Equality Forum responded to this need with bold, concrete commitments and actions for gender equality.
Here are 5 things you need to know from the Generation Equality Forum last week:
More than $40 billion in investments were made towards gender equality from the public and private sector, philanthropists and UN entities. This is the largest-ever collective contribution of resources for global gender equality. These funds will accelerate action toward gender equality over the next five years in an effort to achieve the 2030 goal set by SDG5.
The U.S. Government made commitments and promised to deliver in three main areas: preventing and responding to gender-based violence by establishing policies and investing money to help end its harmful practices; strengthening women’s economic security by reducing their burden of unpaid care; and protecting and advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights by increasing funds and removing harmful restrictions. Additionally, the government committed to launch the first U.S. National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence in 2022. This plan will create a whole-of-government approach to preventing and addressing GBV domestically and globally.
UNAIDS joined forces with UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, and UN Women to launch Education Plus, a new initiative with the goal of ensuring that all girls and boys in sub-Saharan Africa have equal access to free secondary education by 2025 and contributing to HIV prevention. The initiative was founded in response to alarmingly high rates of HIV among adolescent girls and young women in Africa, recognizing that keeping girls in secondary school can reduce their risk of HIV infection.
In addition to commitments made by philanthropists and public and private sector organizations, more than 500 civil society and youth-led organizations shared their commitments to achieving gender equality. Malala Fund, for example, committed to driving progress for girls’ education by pledging $20 million in new feminist funding to girls’ education activists by 2025. CARE committed $130 million to support women and girls as leaders through savings and solidarity groups, as well as local women-led humanitarian organizations focused on girls’ and women’s rights.
Gender equality starts with educating girls. That’s why we pledge to award $20m in funding to education activists and to co-create a quality education agenda with girls.— Malala Fund (@MalalaFund) June 30, 2021
We need leaders at #GenerationEquality to take action too. @UNWomen @GenEgaliteFR
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Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta was co-leader of Generation Equality’s Action Coalition to end GBV, and he announced a series of commitments to end GBV by 2026. A new policy brief highlights the national strategy to end GBV, which is backed by $23 million by 2022 and $50 million by 2026. Commitments include a drive to ensure that GBV recovery and shelters will be in Kenya’s 47 counties by 2026, and ratifying and implementing the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 190 on GBV and harassment in the workplace.