International Women’s Day 2024Progress depends on feminist leadership — a global issue
  • opinion Written by Raisa John (port louis, mauritius)
  • interpress service

In recent years, the role of women in politics and society has received a lot of attention. João Carling, Francia Marquez, María Ressa, Amira Osman Hamed and Narges Mohammadi have received worldwide acclaim for their foresight and fearlessness.

During the pandemic, female leaders such as Jacinda Ardern, Sanna Marin, Tsai Ing-wen and Angela Merkel have outperformed their peers by leading complex responses. During this period, for the first time in its history, the United Nations achieved gender equality in senior leadership, including national missions and peace operations.

Women’s leadership is visible not only in institutions but also on the streets. Around the world, women human rights defenders have taken bold action for change despite severe restrictions. Movements like #MeToo, #FreeSaudiWomen, #NiUnaMenos, and #AbortoLegalYa are examples of women driving systemic change towards equality and justice. As part of the 2018 Sudanese uprising, women led peaceful demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience.

In 2022, Mahsa Amini’s murder sparked a massive and cross-cutting uprising for democracy. Iranians marched across the border demanding “women, lives and freedom.” They were acutely aware that our society would be incomplete if women were denied the right to participate fully in political, economic, and social life.

While the United States made headlines in 2022 with a Supreme Court ruling restricting abortion rights, other countries have also reversed course, including Ireland, San Marino, Colombia, and Mexico.They legalized abortion after years of toiling for themselves. right to choose.

difficult battle

Despite these gains, attacks on women’s rights and leadership continue.Civic spaces like never before bad Since the launch of CIVICUS Monitor in 2018. 118 countries We are currently facing serious civic space restrictions. Only 2.1% of the world’s population lives in countries with open civic spaces. The top violations recorded in 2023 were intimidation, disrupting protests, and detaining protesters.

These repressive strategies are used extensively to counter the rights of women and LGBTQI+ people. Gender and sexuality remain at the center of a culture war waged by a well-organized and well-funded international network of anti-rights forces that exploit these issues for political gain.

South KoreaThe 2022 national elections stand out as an example of how disinformation has distorted public and policy debates against women’s rights. In his campaign, South Korea’s next president, Yoon Seok-yeol, actively legitimized the idea that slow progress in gender equality is the cause of young people’s current struggles in the labor market. He has vowed to abolish the Ministry of Gender Equality and Families and to stiffen penalties for the crime of falsely reporting sexual assault, presumably aimed at making it harder for women to come forward with actual crimes. It’s movement.

But women in South Korea and elsewhere are fighting back. Despite a relentless anti-rights disinformation campaign, and thanks to years of advocacy, Indonesians passed a sexual violence bill that criminalizes forced marriage and sexual abuse and strengthens protections for victims. Spain has passed a new law on the guarantee of sexual freedom, based on the principle of consent, to challenge widespread impunity for sexual and gender-based violence.

Women made up less than 34% of national negotiating teams at the COP27 climate change conference, and only seven of the 110 world leaders attended. In response to the, Gender equality It was taken up as a major theme at last year’s COP28 climate conference.

ahDecisions on gender and climate changeSixty-eight countries endorsed the Gender-Responsive Just Transition and Climate Action Partnership, which lays the foundation for future advancement of gender equality and women’s rights in future COP processes. The partnership includes a package of financial, data and equal opportunity commitments.

feminist leader

Several countries recently elected or installed their first-ever female political leaders. These include Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania, Xiomara Castro of Honduras, Natasa Pirk Musar of Slovenia and Dina Bolarte of Peru. In Australia, the newly elected progressive government includes a record number of women, bringing with it the promise of a welcome U-turn from its predecessor’s climate change denial policies.

But other situations are stark reminders that women’s leadership is not necessarily a victory for women, especially when feminist leadership principles are not brought to the fore. Examples include Katalin Novak, Hungary’s first female president, a close ally of authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbafin and an ardent supporter of his anti-gender policies. Unfortunately, Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s first female prime minister, has also been a vocal proponent of anti-feminist values.

For generations, women have been subjected to rules that they had no role in determining. Women’s movements around the world have suffered setbacks in their ability to push for legislation that benefits women. They have been overthrown by national legislative bodies made up mostly of men. Globally, women still have only three-quarters of the legal rights afforded to men. They continue to be grossly underrepresented in decision-making forums on issues that deeply affect them.

Invest in a feminist future

according to united nations data, feminist organizations receive only 0.13% of official development assistance. Only 5 percent of government aid is focused on tackling violence against women and girls, and no country is on track to end intimate partner violence by 2030. If current trends continue, more than 340 million women and girls will be living in extreme poverty by 2030.

Under the worst-case climate scenario, nearly one in four people would experience moderate or severe food insecurity, and an additional 236 million women and girls would become food insecure. Although progress has been made in girls’ education, it is estimated that the proportion of women in managerial positions in the workplace will remain the same or lower even by 2050.

When CIVICUS interviewed Terry Ince She from Trinidad and Tobago’s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women said: “Women are running, but they don’t necessarily win. They will need financial and coordination support to win. It’s not just about being in the room, it’s about being at the table, contributing, being listened to, having ideas considered, promoted, and implemented.”

There is still much work to be done to improve expressiveness at all levels. In the 76-year history of the United Nations General Assembly, only four women have been elected presidents. The United Nations has never had a female Secretary-General.

As we mark International Women’s Day 2024, we highlight women who are disproportionately affected by conflict, crisis, erosion of democracy, and anti-rights rollbacks. On March 8, women will take to the streets in solidarity with those who bear the brunt of regression. We stand together to resist, to take action, and to celebrate the victories achieved through years of struggle. The fight for justice and progress will continue until we realize our dream of a healthier, safer, and fairer world for all. To make this reality a reality, we must invest in the future of women and feminists.

raisa john CIVICUS is the Secretary-General of a global alliance of more than 15,000 members working to strengthen citizen participation and protect civil liberties. She has championed human rights and international mobilization for over 25 years, starting with grassroots organizations in India and then spearheading cross-border campaigns for accountability. Her previous roles include her work as global campaign director for Save the Children and head of outreach for the United Nations panel that drafted the blueprint for the Sustainable Development Goals.you can contact me through her LinkedIn page or X handle: @lysajohnSA.

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© Inter Press Service (2024) — All rights reservedSource: Interpress Service

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