Geneva, 6 March 2022 (TDI): The Executive Director of UNWomen Sima Bahous released a statement to commemorate International Women’s Day on 8 March 2022. 

Bahous said that UNWOMEN celebrates the power, courage, and potential of women and girls on International Women’s Day. It recognizes women’s leadership and supports ways in which progress is made towards a more gender-equal world. 

Challenges 

Sima Bahous shared the challenges that despite all the efforts, the progress is being undermined by multiple, interlocking, and compounding generational crises. 

She shared the terrible situation in Ukraine and its impacts on women and girls. She said that all conflicts have always affected thousands of displaced people. From Ukraine, Myanmar, Afghanistan, the Sahel to Yemen, women, and girls pay the highest price. She agreed with the Secretary-General who is clear in his position to stop War. 

One of the other challenges is the impact of COVID-19. She said that it is increasing inequalities, poverty, and violence against women. The COVID-19 is rolling back their progress in employment, health, and education.

Another great challenge is the accelerating crisis of climate change. Environmental degradation is disproportionately affecting the rights and wellbeing of women and girls. These effects are multiplying insecurity at the individual, household, and national levels. She said that rising temperatures, droughts, storms, and floods result in loss of livelihoods. They are shrinking resources which has increased migration and displacement.  

Solutions

Sima Bahous said that Climate Change is a threat multiplier but so are the women’s solution multipliers. UNWOMEN has the opportunity to prioritize women as a focus in all planning and action. They will work to integrate gender perspectives into global and national laws and policies. UN has the opportunity to re-think, re-frame and re-allocate resources. It will benefit from the leadership of women environmental defenders and climate activists to guide our planet’s conservation. She said that her team needs Indigenous women’s inter-generational knowledge, local wisdom, practices, and skills. 

She said UNWOMEN needs extraordinary global cooperation and solidarity to succeed. It must protect its hard-won gains on human rights and women’s rights and lead decisively to protect all women.  

Bahous added that UNWOMEN has a plan to follow. It involves women’s full and equal participation and leadership in decision-making. This plan includes their access to green jobs and the blue economy and equal access to finance and resources. 

She said UNWOMEN needs to ensure universal social protection and a care economy that protects all women. There should be efforts to arrange finance for gender-responsive climate, environmental, and disaster risk initiatives. These efforts include COVID-19 recovery and increased resilience to future threats. 

Pledge

Sima Bahous pledged to make this International Women’s Day a moment to recall that the UN has the answers. These answers are for SDG 5 through the advancement of gender equality, for 17 Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030. She expressed her willingness to work with everyone to reach these goals. 

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