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Ezra Torres
Ezra Torres

The Empowerment Of Women Is Key To Shaping A Gender-equal Digital...

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. A functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), it was established by ECOSOC resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946.

The empowerment of women is key to shaping a gender-equal digital...

The Commission adopts multi-year programmes of work to appraise progress and make further recommendations to accelerate the implementation of the Platform for Action. These recommendations take the form of negotiated agreed conclusions on a priority theme. The Commission also contributes to the follow-up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development so as to accelerate the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Accelerating Gender Equality and investing in empowerment generates large economic gains. No society can develop sustainably without transforming and amplifying the distribution of opportunities, resources, and choices for men and women so that they have equal power to shape their own lives and contribute to their families, communities, and countries.

Gender Innovation Labs (GILs) in Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia, generate public goods to promote gender equality. GILs conduct impact evaluations of development interventions seeking to generate evidence on how to close gender gaps in human capital, earnings, productivity, assets, voice, and agency. The GIL research supports evidence-based policy making for governments, development organizations, and the private sector to address the underlying causes of gender inequality. For example, new GIL evidence from impact evaluations shows how adolescent empowerment programs reduced the prevalence of violence against girls during the COVID-19 lockdowns. IFC and GIL research conducted in partnership with Village Capital and We-Fi shows that start-ups that can access external financing can grow up to 30% faster. However, although they lead half the start-ups in accelerators, women continue to face challenges in accessing capital.

In 1979, the General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which is often described as an International Bill of Rights for Women. In its 30 articles, the Convention explicitly defines discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. The Convention targets culture and tradition as influential forces shaping gender roles and family relations, and it is the first human rights treaty to affirm the reproductive rights of women.

Digital is shaping the world around us. Technology is used to provide education, services and jobs. We buy and pay our bills online and we use the internet to stay in touch with our loved ones. Both men and women use digital technologies and need to be involved in building our digital future.

These factors have supported more gender-equal societies overall and enabled more women to access decent and fulfilling work, particularly when they have helped shift norms around the acceptability of gender-based harms like child marriage and violence, which amount to human rights violations. However, taken together, they have not been enough to ensure even and sustainable progress towards equality.

The sobering reality is that largely untouched pieces of the glass ceiling remain in every aspect of our daily lives, and within every country. The global problem of the under-representation of women in the economy remains substantial. That said, big strides have been taken towards a more gender-equal world, all of which offers the promise of more permanent and sustainable progress.

However, when asked about whether these factors were actually present in their current job environment, men and women showed a significant split. In all 12 of the empowerment metrics we looked at, men were more likely than women to say that those factors were present. As a result, the gap between importance and presence is bigger for women in every metric, meaning that women feel notably less empowered.

Digitalisation and access to ICT serve as powerful catalysts for the economic empowerment and inclusion of women and girls. Access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related trainings and occupations is therefore key to establish an enabling environment for women's empowerment. We welcome the launch of the #eSkills4Girls initiative to promote opportunities and equal participation for women and girls in the digital economy, in particular in low income and developing countries (see Annex).

As the world adopts new Sustainable Development Goals to drive the next 15 years of development outcomes, the United States recognizes that none of these goals can or will be accomplished without putting women and girls at the center of our efforts. The United States remains committed to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls as a central part of our domestic and foreign policy.

Gender plays a role in mass media and is represented within media platforms. These platforms are not limited to film, radio, television, advertisement, social media, and video games. Initiatives and resources exist to promote gender equality and reinforce women's empowerment in the media industry and representations. For example, UNESCO, in cooperation with the International Federation of Journalists, elaborated the Gender-sensitive Indicators for Media contributing to gender equality and women's empowerment in all forms of media.[1]

Bollywood has made many women empowerment movies that fail to portray strong female characters as the main leads and protagonists, and instead provide a male protagonist with a motivation to resolve and fix the issues, when he sees the female characters struggle with such issues.[69] Many of Bollywood's 'feminist' or 'women empowerment' movies assert the Male Savior trope, pushing females to serve as secondary characters, in movies addressing 'their' issues.

UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.[125] To increase women's leadership, to end violence against women and to engage women in all aspects of peace and security processes, it's important to give women the right place in media landscape, and their representations must be fair and equal. UN Women supports media monitoring studies on how women are depicted in the media. For instance, the organization engage media professionals by raising awareness of gender equality and violence against women, including through special workshops and tool-kits, to encourage gender-sensitive reporting."[126]

In line with UNESCO's Global Priority Gender, "UNESCO is contributing to achieving full gender equality in the media by 2030".[127] To reach this goal, the Organization developed the Gender-sensitive Indicators for Media (GSIM) to measure gender awareness and portrayal within media organizations (e.g. working conditions), but particularly in editorial content. The Organization has been promoting their application by governments, media organizations, journalists unions and associations, journalism schools and the like. They set the basis for gender equality in media operations and editorial content. In addition, each year, UNESCO organizes a campaign named "Women Make the News"; in 2018 the theme was Gender Equality and Sports Media as "Sports coverage is hugely powerful in shaping norms and stereotypes about gender. Media has the ability to challenge these norms, promoting a balanced coverage of men's and women's sports and a fair portrayal of sportspeople irrespective of gender."[128]

The foundation's $2.1 billion commitment over the next five years will advance activity in three areas: economic empowerment, health and family planning, and accelerating women in leadership. Funding includes:

The foundation has been committed to family planning and women's health since it began more than 20 years ago. For almost a decade, it has been supporting partners around the world to break down structural barriers that women and girls face and to advance women's economic empowerment. Gender equality is core to the foundation's work, and the Gender Equality division is focused on accelerating progress toward a more gender-equal world.


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