30 July 2021

Global COVID-19 Responses Must Tackle Gender Inequities, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Rome Summit, Warning Decades of Progress to Empower Women at Risk

(Delayed for technical reasons.)

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s video message to the 2021 Women 20 Summit, in Rome on 13-15 July:

Excellencies, Ms. Sabbadini (Chair of W20), W20 Delegates, colleagues and friends,

I am pleased to participate in this Summit and add the voice of the United Nations to your deliberations.  We appreciate the continued collaboration with the Group of 20 (G20) and the Women 20 and congratulate the Italian Presidency for prioritizing three key issues:  people, planet and prosperity.

And let me thank you for everything that you do to put women at the centre of the G20.  The focus on women in the labour force, gender-responsive and targeted investment for the COVID-19 recovery and a transition to a sustainable and green economy are all critical, and your efforts are ensuring that these are being discussed.

Over the past year, we have seen the profound impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and well-being of people worldwide.  And we have been reminded that crises are never gender neutral.  Women and girls have been disproportionately hurt by the pandemic’s economic and social fallout, by spiralling rates of gender-based violence, and by an enormous increase in unpaid care and domestic work.  We risk backsliding on decades of progress on gender equality and women’s rights.  This year alone, some 47 million women and girls could be pushed into poverty as a result of COVID-19.

Let’s learn from the past year.  As countries invest in recovery, they must invest in women and girls — both to sustain the progress that has been made, and to transition to more inclusive economies and societies.

We live in a world where local crises quickly become global challenges.  We need to join the dots, connecting global and local into “glocal” solutions.  Coordinated COVID-19 response and recovery measures must tackle gender inequalities together with all other forms of discrimination, the accelerating impacts of the climate crisis, and the fragmentation and loss of trust that are poisoning many of our societies.

The priorities of the Women 20 on health, labour and entrepreneurship, finance and digital, violence against women and girls, environmental sustainability, cultural change, gender stereotypes and health are at the core of the solutions we need to tackle these global challenges.

I know that these efforts will be amplified as the world gathers in Paris shortly for Generation Equality to mobilize for the actions needed in these areas, leveraging innovation and women’s leadership to deliver transformative change.  I look forward to your recommendations for investing in gender equality and the rights of all women and girls.  And I commit to galvanizing the United Nations system and our partners in support of your objectives.

Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.