The importance of gender equality in a time of crisis
In times of crisis, women are often on the front lines as they make up approximately 70% of the world’s health and social care workers. The current COVID-19 pandemic has magnified existing inequalities women face such as unequal economic opportunities, unpaid work and gender-based violence in addition to existing discrimination in employment, property ownership and in access to services. These inequalities impose extra burdens on women which in turn leads to a ripple effect of exclusion from the economy, education and health facilities.
Before the COVID-19 crisis hit, cities were already grappling with the prioritisation of gender equality. ‘Building back better’ from the pandemic offers us an opportunity to see gender equality as an integral part of the solution to the challenges of health, climate, economy and human rights, and to improve gender equality overall. As cities deal with the pandemic and develop plans on how to recover, leaders are being called upon to do so with an explicit gender lens.
Disadvantaged groups, particularly women, are already experiencing and will also continue to disproportionately be affected by the negative impacts of climate change. Their limited access to resources and power compromises their ability to cope. Advancing the gender agenda and moving from theory to action requires addressing the basics─having a clear and common understanding of gender as well as a commitment to the promotion of gender equality; that is equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities.
Join ICLEI Africa and CoMSSA for a webinar with experts and city leaders to discuss ways on how to move from theory to action, through mainstreaming gender into city planning, identifying needs on the continent and key mechanisms for success as well as recommendations to further strengthen the role of women, repositioning them beyond ‘vulnerable and beneficiaries’ of climate actions and instead rightfully recognise them as agents of change and drivers of solutions.