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Women Leaders Virtual Roundtable on COVID-19

Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland, participated last week in a Women Leaders Virtual Roundtable on COVID-19 and the Future which was convened by UN Women and OECD to address the disproportionately negative impact the pandemic has had on women and girls and how to prevent the crisis from becoming a major backlash for the fight for gender equality.

The women leaders agreed that ensuring gender equality and women’s rights is essential to getting through this pandemic together, to recovering faster and building a better future. To ensure their rights all stakeholders should put women and girls at the center of their efforts and place women’s leadership and contributions at the heart of the COVID-19 response, resilience, and recovery efforts. Bearing in mind that women voices remain a rarity in all sectors of decision making, including this crisis, we the participants at the roundtable agreed to put forward measures required to prevent the crisis from becoming a major setback for the safety and well-being of girls and women around the world. 

Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister said:

“The gendered impact of the current crisis is clear, and I fear it will exacerbate further the existing economic, social, and environmental challenges and inequalities. I am concerned about increased violence against women and girls which remains a major threat to women’s health. We are fighting this crisis at the same time as we are facing a visible backlash on many fronts and I am troubled to see that some movements have been using the opportunity of these extraordinary times to restrict women’s access to safe health services, close women’s shelters and cut children’s right to sex education. We are facing numerous challenges and it was crucial to come together to share information on experiences and best practices against gender-based violence. We need to ensure that gender responsive measures are included in all responses and recovery decisions, right from the beginning.”

The roundtable was chaired by Phumzile Mlambo-Nqcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, and Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa to the G20. Other participant represented women from different sectors of society including other heads of Government and State and leaders from civil society and youth organizations.  

UN Women press release on the organization’s webpage.

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