New Delhi (NVI): Putting women and girls’ rights at the heart of the global recovery for a gender-equal world, the European Union today launched a new plan to promote gender equality and women empowerment.
In a statement, the EU said that while there has been some significant but uneven progress achieved in advancing women’s and girls’ rights, no country in the world is on track to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030.
Moreover, the health and socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis are disproportionately affecting women and girls, it said.
Citing an example, the Commission said that 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%, it said.
“To address this, the EU’s new Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in External Action 2021–2025 (GAP III) aims to accelerate progress on empowering women and girls, and safeguard gains made on gender equality during the 25 years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and its Platform for Action,” it said.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell said that unfortunately, not a single country in Europe or anywhere in the world will be on track to achieve gender equality by 2030 in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Ensuring the same rights to all empowers our societies. It makes them richer and more secure. It is a fact that goes beyond principles or moral duties. The participation and leadership of women and girls is essential for democracy, justice, peace, security, prosperity and a greener planet. With this new Gender Action Plan, we are pushing for more and faster progress towards gender equality,” he said.
Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “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. As a gender-sensitive and responsive geopolitical Commission, we want to work more closely with our Member States, as well as all partners, in building a truly gender-equal world.”
The ‘Gender Action Plan III’ provides the EU with a policy framework with five pillars of action for accelerating progress towards meeting international commitments and a world in which everyone has space to thrive.
It makes the promotion of gender equality a priority of all external policies and actions; offers a roadmap for working together with stakeholders at national, regional and multilateral levels; steps up action in strategic thematic areas; calls for the institutions to lead by example, and; ensures the transparency of the results.
The five pillars of the action plan are:
1) 85% of all new actions throughout external relations will contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment by 2025.
2) Shared strategic vision and close cooperation with Member States and partners at multilateral, regional and country level.
3) GAP III calls for accelerating progress, focusing on the key thematic areas of engagement.
4) Leading by example: The action plan calls for the European Union to lead by example, including by establishing gender-responsive and gender-balanced leadership at top political and management levels.
5) Measuring results: GAP III adopts a new approach to monitoring, evaluation and learning, with a stronger focus on measuring results.
According to EU, GAP III will promote a transformative and intersectional approach, and will mainstream gender in all policies and actions. It aims to address structural causes of gender inequality and gender-based discrimination, including by actively engaging men and boys in challenging gender norms and stereotypes.