Generation Equality Forum increases momentum: Action Coalitions preview recommendations and launch bold call for commitments

Date: Monday, March 8, 2021

Originally published on forum.generationequality.com on 8 March. Here, the dates of the Generation Equality Forum in Paris have been added.

(New York, 8 March 2021) – Leaders involved in the 2021 Generation Equality Forum have called for bold new global commitments to catapult progress on gender equality. The Action Coalitions of the Forum are new and innovative partnerships –including governments, feminist and youth movements and organizations, the private sector and international organizations– who will today preview the actions they view as critical to creating gender-equal societies as the world rebuilds post COVID-19. They will also call for others to join them as commitment makers in their milestone effort to accelerate investment and implementation for women and girl’s rights. Their urgent call reflects concern that gender equality – set back by the COVID-19 pandemic – needs redoubled investment and focus if the world’s women and girls are not to fall behind.

The 2021 Generation Equality Forum, an initiative of UN Women, with the governments of France, Mexico and in partnership with civil society and youth will kick off in Mexico City in March 2021 and culminate in Paris in June 2021 - aims to spur major financial and political commitments for gender equality.

The Action Coalitions are highlighting the concrete action steps that they see as central to a new and bold feminist agenda within the next 5 years. Examples of these include: 

  • Radical Steps to End Violence Against Women and Girls, including accelerated introduction and implementation of laws and policies prohibiting all forms of gender-based violence, protecting 550 million more women and girls worldwide 
  • A Global Re-set on Care-work and Equal Pay, including policy efforts to recognize, reduce and redistribute unpaid care work, alongside the creation of an additional 80 million decent care jobs
  • Putting Women and Girls are at the Heart of the new Digital and Green Economies by fueling the creation of jobs and leadership opportunities, doubling the proportion of women working in technology and innovation, and accelerating investment in gender-responsive climate solutions
  • Halving the current global gender digital divide faced by girls and women, ensuring that 600 million more women can access the internet, and over 350 million more women and girls have access to a mobile phone
  • Empowering women and girls to make and act on their own decisions about their sexual and reproductive lives by extending comprehensive sexuality education to 50 million more young people and changing norms, laws and policies to enable at least 260 million more girls, adolescents and women to exercise their bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive rights
  • Increasing resources for feminist, youth-led and grass-roots women’s groups, including women’s funds, by doubling the annual growth rate of funding to such organizations

The Generation Equality Forum responds to the fact that 26 years after the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing public rhetoric on gender equality has not been matched by action and implementation. As a result, 20% of women and girls annually report experiencing sexual and physical violence, 20% are married before the age of 18 and 55% are unable to make their own decisions about contraception, consensual sex and healthcare. Women do 3 times more unpaid care work than men. Even pre-COVID-19, the World Economic Forum predicted it would take 257 years to close the global economic gender gap. COVID has exacerbated existing inequities, with reports of rising violence against women, as well as greater adverse economic impacts caused both by increased unpaid care-giving and the fact that women work in more insecure, low-paid and informal jobs. Women of color and indigenous women face compounded risks and barriers.

The initial draft actions of the Action Coalitions may be viewed here. Full ‘blueprints’ detailing the draft agendas of each action coalition will be unveiled at the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico City, March 29-31 and commitments toward the action coalitions will be announced in Paris, 30 June - 2 July 2021. Registration for the Mexico event is now open at this link. Further information on the Mexico City Forum can be found here

Welcoming the initial work of the Action Coalitions and emphasizing the importance of their agenda Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, said: “The pandemic has had a disastrous impact on women’s and girls’ lives and been a major set-back in the drive to achieve equality in our generation. The Generation Equality Forum – fueled by the work of the Action Coalitions – is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to permanently change course. We call on governments, corporations and change-making organizations around the world to join our urgent drive for action and commitments.” 

For further information about how to become a Generation Equality Forum commitment maker, interested organizations may view the FAQ or complete an expression of interest at the Generation Equality Forum website, forum.generationequality.org

Media contact:

Clare Winterton, UN Women, clare.winterton[at]unwomen.org, +1 415 867 6525 
Nancy McCarthy, Ogilvy Public Relations, +1 212.880.5366/mobile (917) 549-0233.