Speech: Raising the curtain on the Generation Equality Midpoint Event
Remarks by Ms Sima Bahous, UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director, to the CSW67 side event “Open, Safe and Equal – Shaping a Feminist Digital Future”, 7 March 2023
Assistant Secretary-General Oijambo, thank you for your welcome, for moderating this session today, and for the excellent collaboration and partnership of the UN Global Compact. And thank you to the UN Foundation for the long-standing partnership on Generation Equality, and for co-sponsoring today’s event.
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a critical annual moment for us to steer progress on the global rights of women and girls and in particular, the progress we are making towards SDG5, the goal that enshrines the drive for gender equality.
It is a moment where we collaborate to sharpen and accelerate our focus and see what more all stakeholders can do to create a world that is more equal, more peaceful and more sustainable.
The mandate of CSW is more acutely important than ever, as global risks and conflicts intensify threats to gender equality.
Women and girls are most acutely impacted by what many are now terming the intersecting “polycrises” across the world. The pandemic, food and energy crises, the “cost of living” crisis, escalating wars and conflicts, climate change. The rise of fundamentalist actors, who threaten basic freedoms and often target women and girls the most.
Against this backdrop, data from UN Women and UN DESA show that at current rates of progress it will take nearly 300 years for women and girls to achieve full gender equality. None of us here can afford to wait that long. Amid these crises and the escalating threats to women’s and girls’ rights, we have a powerful new lever, not just to combat rollbacks but to accelerate progressive change and concrete impact.
That powerful lever is Generation Equality – the world’s largest collaboration and investment platform for gender equality. Generation Equality is designed to change the story on sluggish gender equality progress and propel implementation, investment, and progress, driven by multi-stakeholder Action Coalitions and a collectively designed Global Acceleration Plan, as well as by a Compact on Women, Peace, Security and Humanitarian Action.
Many of you here today are Action Coalition Leaders and Commitment Makers. You are the energy behind the bold action and accountability that is Generation Equality.
Our collective vision for a whole-of-society approach to disrupt entrenched gender inequality was launched at the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico and Paris in 2021, driving 1,000 commitments with an aggregate value of over US$40 billion – with deep thanks to our co-hosts, the Governments of France and Mexico and civil society.
Since then, the number of Generation Equality commitments has grown to over 2,700. But we still have more to do more – much more. That’s why today I am honoured to announce our plans to fuel Generation Equality to achieve even more.
This September in New York, we will hold a global Midpoint Event for Generation Equality to renew our collective promise for multi-stakeholder action for gender equality. It is designed to ensure accountability, harness bold new commitments where they are needed and energize audiences around the continued urgency of the gender equality agenda.
It will be a rallying moment for gender equality advocates globally—for Member States, Civil Society, youth, the private sector, UN agencies and many more—to reaffirm our commitment to Generation Equality as a transformational accelerator of change.
And, in an initiative that is founded on partnership, it gives me particular pleasure to announce a central and pivotal partnership fueling the success of that Midpoint event, which is to recognize and affirm the robust, trailblazing, and dedicated partnership of the Government of Tanzania as the co-host of the Midpoint moment.
Last October, I travelled to Tanzania and met with Her Excellency, President Suluhu Hassan, whose vision to advance gender equality is an inspiration to the people across Tanzania, across Africa and across the world.
In a changing world beset by crises that impact women and girls the most we must stand firm behind Generation Equality as our most powerful promise for whole-of-society action to achieve change in our lifetimes.
Tanzania epitomizes that commitment, and I am delighted to welcome Her Excellency Angellah Kairuki, Minister of State, President Office Regional Administration and Local Government and Chair of the GEF National Advisory Committee to speak on Tanzania’s role as the Generation Equality Midpoint co-host.
I thank you.