CARE Statement: Mexico Generation Equality Forum “To build sustainable, feminist and fair economies, we need to act now on Women’s Economic Justice and Rights”

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 Economic DevelopmentGender, Global,
 1st Apr 2021

As one of the co-leaders of the Economic Justice and Rights Action Coalition, CARE International has been working alongside fellow leads for several months to identify critical actions needed to advance women’s economic justice and rights. The action plans or “blueprints” were published this week during the Mexico Generation Equality Forum, with the Economic Justice and Rights action plan reflecting many of the key areas necessary to drive truly sustainable, feminist and fair solutions. CARE calls on fellow stakeholders and partners to make bold commitments in the coming months to make this vision a reality. 

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mexico Generation Equality Forum that just ended, comes at a crucial time to accelerate global ambition for gender equality.  COVID-19 is having catastrophic and disproportionate impacts on women and girls’ lives, widening and deepening systemic inequalities, and threatening to reverse decades of progress. Yet, the current lack of political ambition and action threatens to reverse women and girls’ opportunities and rights.  

The Generation Equality Forum, with its focused 5-year goals and diverse Action Coalitions, provides the right space and mandate to turn the stakes once and for all. 

As one of the co-leaders of the Economic Justice and Rights Action Coalition (EJR Action Coalition), CARE is proud to have contributed to the EJR Action Coalition’s action plan to drive breakthrough achievements on women’s economic justice and build forward for a more just post-pandemic world for women and for all. 

It is encouraging to see the emerging direction of the action plan and its focus on four ambitious actions: the care economy, decent work, financial inclusion, and entrepreneurship and gender transformative economies. These were key focus areas for CARE as a co-lead, so we are thrilled to see a prominent focus on evidence-based, and community driven strategies to advance women’s economic justice.  

In our role as co-lead on the Action Coalition, CARE uses evidence and feedback from our program participants and partners to seek sustainable solutions. This includes from tools such as CARE’s Rapid Gender Analyses, and specifically those conducted across nearly 40 countries since March 2020, in which we spoke with more than 6,000 women on the impact of COVID-19 in their communities.   

We also ensure that the voices of our partners are included in the process, such as Eva Tecún León in Guatemala who contributed a statement at the EJR Action Coalition discussions, explaining how:  “the majority of indigenous women work in the informal sector [without] access to labour rights, benefits and social security.  Economic justice for us involves having ownership of land for planting and daily sustenance, this is an important part of economic justice”. 

Moving forward, and based on CARE’s evidence base from thousands of women like Eva around the world, we believe it is crucial for the action plan to:  

  • Rigorously prioritise gender equality throughout COVID response and recovery strategies by including women in decision-making and leadership positions and investing in local women-led and women’s rights organisations  for a better impact on the ground 
  • Promote proactive labour market policies that create jobs, protect labour rights and ensure safety in the workplace  
  • Ensure social protection provides safety nets during times of crisis, including for informal workers and the groups facing intersecting discrimination 
  • Accelerate women’s financial inclusion and business opportunities, including through collectives and savings groups 
  • Call on decision-makers to urgently correct the inequitable unpaid care burden. 

CARE’s Secretary General Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro said at the Mexico Generation Equality Forum “Given the unequal power dynamics and historical injustices many civil society actors have experienced, sitting at the negotiating table with other stakeholders is not always easy. Action Coalition leaders have made the conscious decision that we can’t do this alone. We must listen to each other, forge new relationships - based on feminist principles and gender equality - and most important of all - we must aim for the stars”. 

As we move to the second step of this process, the Paris Forumour level of ambition must match the scale of the challenges we have to overcome. CARE will continue to engage with all partners in the Action Coalition and beyond to ensure ambitious and concrete commitments to women’s economic justice and turn the Beijing vision into a reality for all women and girls, once and for all. 

The clock for the 5-year timeline has already started.  We need to act now. There has never been a more opportune moment to build sustainable, feminist, and fair economies.  

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