The European Union (EU) unveiled a new action plan on Wednesday, to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment towards increased participation in politics, economic, social and cultural life.
The ‘Gender Action Plan III – putting women and girls’ rights at the heart of the global recovery for a gender-equal world’ (GAP III) will also aim to safeguard the gains made on gender equality during the 25 years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and its platform for action.
GAP III also aims to address “structural causes of gender inequality and gender-based discrimination”.
This also includes tackling all “intersecting dimensions of discrimination, paying specific attention for example to women with disabilities, migrant women, and discrimination based on age or sexual orientation” according to the union.
A statement by EU said no country in the world is currently on track to achieve gender equality and women empowerment by 2020, despite some significant progress in advancing the rights of women and girls.
The statement also addressed how the crisis brought about by the coronavirus are affecting women and girls, especially in areas of health and their socio-economic situation.
“Because a higher proportion of women work informally and in vulnerable sectors, their job loss rate is 1.8 times greater than that of men. The poverty rate among women could go up by 9.1%,” the statement read.
GAP III will provide a policy framework for the EU with five pillars focusing on accelerating creating a global space where all can thrive, as well as providing a roadmap for working with all stakeholders at national, regional and multilateral levels, as well as pushing for transparency in all areas.
The action plan will ensure the promotion of gender equality is a priority of all external policies and actions.
The EU’s five pillars of action are an 85 per cent of all new actions throughout external relations which will contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment by 2025, a shared strategic vision and close cooperation with member states and partners at multilateral, regional and country level, accelerating progress and focusing on the key thematic areas of engagement including fighting gender-based violence.
This will also put emphasis on universal access to healthcare and promoting equal participation of women in leadership.
The pillars will also include the EU establishing gender-responsive and gender-balanced leadership to lead by example in the advocacy for gender equality and monitoring and evaluation the results yearly to increase public accountability on the matter.
Josep Borrel, the representative for Foreign Affairs and Security of the EU said that the Union aims to push for faster progress towards gender equality.
“Ensuring the same rights to all empowers our societies. The participation and leadership of women and girls are essential for democracy, justice, peace, security, prosperity and a greener planet,” Borrel said.
Jutta Urpilaimen, the Commissioner for International partnership also reiterated the importance of working closely with other states and partners in achieving the goal of a gender-equal world.
“Stronger engagement on gender equality is key to a sustainable global recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and building fairer, more inclusive, more prosperous societies. Women and girls are in the frontline of the pandemic and must be put in the driving seat of the recovery,” Urpilaimen stated.
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