Stories

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Madhura Dasgupta Sinha has more than 25 years of banking and leadership experience, and is now the CEO and Founder of Aspire For Her, which motivates young women to enter and stay in the workforce. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021, with only 22.3 per cent of Indian women in the labour force and less women in leadership roles, India’s gender pay gap has increased this year. Aspire For Her is a Generation Equality Ally, a new communications and advocacy initiative under UN Women’s flagship campaign in India. UN Women spoke with Dasgupta Sinha on the occasion of Equal Pay Day, 18 September 2021.
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UN Women’s Second Chance Education and Vocational Learning Programme in Mexico, in partnership with the south-central state of Puebla’s ministries of Substantive Equality and Welfare and SEPICJ AC, has trained 80 women to manage and maintain a greenhouse, to economically empower them and foster leadership skills.
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A new report by UN Women and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) highlights how companies are responding to the pandemic with practices that support gender equality. The emerging practices that are shared in the report aim to curb inequalities women are facing as the pandemic radically transforms the world of work.
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To mark the first International Equal Pay Day, the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) called all leaders to take necessary steps to ensure pay equity is at the heart of COVID-19 recovery efforts worldwide. 
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While everyone is facing unprecedented challenges, women are bearing the brunt of the economic and social fallout of COVID-19. Here’s how COVID-19 is rolling back on women’s economic gains of past decades, unless we act now, and act deliberately.
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Workers around the world look forward to payday. A paycheck may bring a sense of relief, satisfaction, or joy, but it can also represent an injustice—an expression of persistent inequalities between men and women in the workplace. Take a closer look at the gender pay gap and what can be done to close it.
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As Latin America enters a critical phase of the COVID-19 emergency, recently surpassing 5 million cases and 200,000 deaths , women domestic workers are raising alarm about the lack of economic relief, healthcare and other social protection, and organizing in solidarity to help other workers.
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The pandemic will push 47 million more women and girls below the poverty line, reversing decades of progress to eradicate extreme poverty.
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In the midst of another pandemic, we are still fighting hard for gender equality, with the coronavirus crisis amplifying existing inequalities and power imbalances and disproportionately affecting women – including in the devastatingly sharp increases in domestic violence. Yet the pandemic is also an opportunity to ‘build back better’ and transform structural gender inequalities.
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As of early July, South Sudan confirmed more than 2,000 coronavirus cases. The implementation of social distancing rules, curfews and the closure of non-essential business has had a drastic impact on small businesses, especially in the informal sector where women constitute the majority of the work force. Now that businesses have been allowed to re-open with social distancing measures in place, women are working to adapt their businesses and get back on their feet.
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Since March 2020, Guatemala has recorded more than 600 COVID-19 deaths and over 11,000 infections. Amidst this crisis, indigenous women have continued to use their voices, knowledge and capacities to assist their communities and adapt their livelihoods. To build back better, their needs and concerns, but also their leadership must be placed at the centre of COVID-19 recovery plans.
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Esther Macharia, 37, is a single mother and the only breadwinner for herself and her daughter. When the COVID-19 crisis came to Kenya, she lost nearly her entire income as a rideshare driver in Nairobi, as people are no longer requesting rides. Her story reflects the hardship that millions of women now face, as workers with low wages and without safety nets.
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Ana Paula Soares, 27, has been her family’s breadwinner since 2017. When the COVID-19 crisis came to Timor-Leste, she lost her income as a domestic worker with no way to support her family. Her story reflects the hardship that millions of women now face, as workers in the informal economy.
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Ryancia Henry is originally from Antigua and Barbuda, she moved four months ago to Montecito, California, to take up the position of Director of Housekeeping, managing a team of 60 people, at a hotel that has now closed because of the COVID-19 outbreak. With international travel disrupted, and movement restrictions within the United States of America, Ryancia is among millions of workers in the hospitality industry considering what the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will be on her, her staff, her family and her friends.
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After returning to Nepal from working abroad in Dubai, Hira Kumari Sewa took part in UN Women’s Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme and learned to drive an e-rickshaw in order to support herself and her family.
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Christine Wambulwa, 40, is the only woman mechanic in Kakuma Town, Turkana County, Kenya. As the sole breadwinner of her family, she works to send her children to school, so they can have the education she couldn’t afford for herself.
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The “Inclusive and Equitable Local Development Programme (IELD)”, a joint initiative of UNCDF, UNDP and UN Women, facilitates women’s access to the labour market and entrepreneurial ventures by fostering local public and private investments in women-led enterprises and small businesses that benefit women as well as their communities.
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Sufia Khatun from Pirganj, Rongpur, found herself without any source of income after her husband passed away. Through a joint UN programme, she was able to learn tailoring and get access to finance to invest in her own business. Today she employs 20 women in her community.
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Refika Cornoleus, escaped the war in Sudan with her her six children, but had to leave behind her home, her husband and her grandparents. She lives in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, where she makes eco-friendly stoves, which are high in demand.
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In some of the world’s largest camps, refugees and the native communities power their own economies. Students compete for admission into a better school, journalists report on daily news, entrepreneurs learn new skills and health workers deliver babies. And women are often a forgotten part of this workforce. Meet five women and girls who are doing the usual and unusual jobs that keep life going, and aspiring for more.