UN Women calls for support for African Countries’ COVID-19 fight

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Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General, United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women, has expressed solidarity with the people in Africa in the renewed battle against the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic.

“We urge for vaccines to be accessible by all countries. We are also calling on all nations to direct their fiscal response packages and government stimulus packages to support women who continue to struggle.

“Whether through services that will support them as survivors of domestic violence, or support to entrepreneurs, formal and informal traders and cooperatives with cash transfers, grants and subsidized credits to arrest and reverse the descent into poverty,” Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka has stated.

Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka stated during an address at the Annual Session of the UN Women Executive Board 2021 made available to the Ghana News Agency at Tema on Thursday.

The UN Women Executive Director stated that the call for support was particularly important because in many countries women were not yet benefitting sufficiently from government support. “This is one of the jobs I leave with my colleagues and with my successor to continue”.

She noted that the decrease of women in the labour market will make the pandemic last in the lives of women for many generations to come.

“To avoid this, debt relief, greater financing, and increased levels of official development aid will be important in preventing a major regression in gender equality caused by COVID-19,” she said.

Ms Mlambo-Ngucka also expressed solidarity with other countries that were still struggling with the pandemic and, including India.

“Women universally need alternatives for caregiving. Younger women below 30 and women who are of child-raising age are the most at risk of loss of income and livelihood because they have to look after their children.
“We need laws and policy reforms in this regard, in the public and private sectors, that address this and ensure that children, old people, people with disability, and others are not left unattended,” she said.

She noted that harmful cultural practices that restrict girls from accessing education, must not be allowed to continue, because we cannot have another lost generation.

The UN Women Executive Director noted that “Girls must go back to school, across all ages, and we must work urgently to ensure universal digital literacy.

She noted that the Global COVID-19 Gender Response Tracker launched last year has been a critical asset for recognition of these acute vulnerabilities and for stimulating response.

She said the tracker now covers 219 countries and territories. That data shows us the reality in almost all countries, there has been a strong emphasis in national responses on preventing and/or responding to violence against women and girls.

Ms Mlambo-Ngucka said the COVID-19 crisis has not been the only one to address. Since 2018, through our joint work, 365 million people in 42 countries have benefitted from disaster risk reduction policies, plans, and strategies.

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