Remarks by Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the Town Hall with Civil Society and the United Nations Secretary-General


[As delivered]

Thank you for being part of this highly anticipated Townhall. We hope that in 2022 we will be together and able to meet in-person.

We also want, from the onset, to express our solidarity with all of you who have been affected by the pandemic; whether you have lost a job, experienced violence or lost a loved one. We also extend our appreciation for all the work that you have done to fight the pandemic and to start building back better, in a gender-responsive manner, in a greener manner and in an inclusive manner.

Earlier on this year, we lost a founding mother of UNIFEM and an inspiration to UN Women Margaret “Peg” Snyder, who is known to many of you. She has also been referred to as the UN’s first feminist. Her passing has touched all of us at this time when we are forging alliances to extend the base of the stakeholders who are fighting for gender equality and working hard to attract investment towards the work that you all do.

The 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women’s theme this year is “Women's full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”.

We are inviting all of you to participate as actively as you can and engage your delegations in the usual way to make sure that we get bold outcomes and that they are challenging their own countries to be decisive about the inclusion of women in public life and everywhere. We are alarmed by the fact that 80 per cent of COVID-19 task teams around the world are predominantly made up of men who have to solve problems that disproportionally affect women, such as violence against women, the massive loss of jobs, the burden of unpaid care, and the many households that are now led by children. All of that cannot be solved by men alone without the insight of women.

So, we urge you to push for Agreed Conclusions that highlight the urgency of engaging and involving women. We also ask you to urge your delegations to support your efforts on Generation Equality and thank you for all the work you have done so far. Thank you to the young people, to Civil Society, to the private sector, and to the governments who have taken us this far.

At this point we are preparing for the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico which comes at the end of this month and, of course, preparing for the Forum in Paris in June. Both of these will be inflection points for gender equality.