Stories

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Throughout the pandemic, youth have persisted in their activism, calling for sustainable change, equality, justice, and dignity for all. They have been invaluable support for their communities as health systems and social infrastructure are still overwhelmed in many parts of the world. From insisting on more inclusive societies to pushing for sexual and reproductive health, rights, and education, here are four stories of young people persisting in the pandemic.
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UN Women’s newest report reveals that women and girls have disproportionately suffered the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 – be it through lost jobs and reduced work hours, increased intensity of care and domestic work, and strains on their physical and mental health. And yet, the report also shows that women and girls are far less likely than men and boys to receive COVID-19 relief or social protection, from governments or NGOs.
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At a high-level event on International Human Rights Day, 10 December, the Global Alliance for Care called for a human rights perspective to be incorporated across all efforts to transform the global care agenda.
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Through the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, UN Women and the Inter-American Shelter Network developed a guide for shelters and safe houses to address the specific needs of women survivors, like Diana Salas, in the region, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Roa’a Al-Fased, 14, works to empower adolescent girls in her community in Jordan through promoting access to sexual and reproductive health services and raising awareness on gender-based violence.
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UN Women Nepal, with support from Government of Finland, Fondation Chanel, and UK Aid, has been collaborating with the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens of Nepal, local governments, World Food Programme, United Nations Development Programme, and civil society organizations to provide women with multi-purpose cash assistance, access to food, energy, essential supplies, as well as access to information and essential services, such as psycho-social counselling, legal counselling, financial services, and digital services, providing holistic support to participants.
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Learning from past mistakes, “Beyond COVID-19: A Feminist Plan for Sustainability and Social Justice” presents a vision to tackle intersecting jobs, care and climate crises.
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UN Women is launching a new flagship report, “Beyond COVID-19: A Feminist Plan for Sustainability and Social Justice”, which calls for governments to ensure the COVID-19 recovery shapes a more gender equal and sustainable world.
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Maryam Aleisa is the founder and Executive Director of Refood, a non-profit company dedicated to reducing and repurposing food waste in Kuwait.
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More than 41 per cent of women lost their jobs during the COVID-19 lockdown in Nepal. Responding to their practical needs, UN Women with support from the Government of Finland has been ensuring their access to food and nutrition through women-managed community kitchens across Nepal. Pushpa Sunar is one of the 123 people employed in the community kitchens, which is providing an income to the women working there and helping to alleviate the care burden among other women, as well as build trust and cohesion in the communities.
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Today, on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we join the call for a new social contract that will let us rebuild our world in a way that is forward-looking, equitable and targeted to the most marginalized.
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Captain Zoya Sapra Aggarwal is a commercial pilot and the commander with Air India, TED speaker and an inspiration to young women and girls in India and everywhere. In 2013, she became the youngest female pilot to fly a Boeing-777. In January 2021, she made another milestone by commanding an all-women team of pilots to fly Air India’s longest non-stop commercial flight from San Francisco, USA to Bengaluru, India. She been pointed to the Aerotime Global Advisory Board in recognition of her significant role in the aviation industry. UN Women spoke to Captain Zoya for Youth Day 2021.
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Since February 1, women and girls have been at the frontlines as leaders of civil society organizations, civil servants, activists, journalists, artists and influencers exercising their fundamental rights to express their hopes for the future of their country. Even before the coup, women, who make up 75 per cent of Myanmar’s healthcare professionals, were at the forefront of the COVID-19 response. Now, during a tragic surge in COVID-19 cases, many women continue in their activism and serve their communities while also assuming significant responsibilities as caregivers for sick family members, and for their children’s home-based learning.
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UN Women and health sector experts answer some frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and how it impacts women and girls in India.
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The pandemic is negatively impacting women more than men, by exacerbating already entrenched inequalities. We need bold, transformative action to dismantle the barriers to women’s progress if we are to achieve SDG 5 by the end of the decade.
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In an op-ed for the World Economic Forum blog, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka writes: "We cannot build back better after COVID-19 without gender equality. Specifically, we must place women at the center of our economic recovery. Now is the moment for leaders to publicly commit to that work – by supporting the care economy, and equal wages and access to opportunities."
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Since January 2020, India has reported over 27 million cases of COVID-19 infection and more than 300,000 fatalities – figures that many believe are substantial underestimates. As infection rates peak, hospitals have run out of beds and oxygen, medication is running low, and there are vaccine shortages. Last week, the country also saw massive flooding and displacement in its coastal areas, as Cyclone Yaas made landfall. The scale of the emergency is unprecedented and as with every crisis, women and girls, especially those from poor and marginalized communities, are among the hardest hit.
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Susan Ferguson is the UN Women Representative for India. Ms. Ferguson joined UN Women in 2017, after a long career in international development. She has lived and worked in South Africa, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, and has experience working in grass-roots development agencies; establishing and managing social services; working within Local, State and Federal Government in Australia on social policy and social programmes.
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Thelma Kaliu is a young feminist and an active member of the Young Feminist Network of Malawi. She is currently the Project Coordinator of the Spotlight Initiative project under Plan International, Malawi. In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Thelma attended the launch of the Malawi Chapter of the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) and was excited about the growth of a movement that was enthusiastically embracing young African women. Supported by the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, the largest effort to eliminate violence against women and girls worldwide, the AWLN network comprises over 500 African women across generations and sectors.
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Net Supatravani is the Thai co-founder of ila, a social enterprise start-up that uses human-centred design to help businesses foster inclusion, and creator of anti-domestic abuse app, ALLY. She is also a participant of the Generation Equality Asia Pacific Design Challenge, convened by UN Women and World Design Organization.