The Quantifiable Impact of Generation Equality and the Path Forward
On September 17, 2023, Sima Bahous, the Executive Director of UN Women, delivered a compelling speech at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The occasion was the Generation Equality Midpoint Moment, a critical juncture for assessing the progress made in gender equality. The speech was not just a call to action but a comprehensive overview of the strides made and the challenges that still lie ahead. This article aims to provide an in-depth paraphrasing of the speech, dissecting its key points and implications.
The speech was strategically timed to coincide with the eve of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit. Bahous emphasized the urgency of accelerating progress, citing alarming statistics. According to recent research, if the current rate of progress continues, over 340 million women and girls will still be living in extreme poverty by 2030. Furthermore, nearly one in four will experience moderate or severe food insecurity. The message was clear: the time for renewed energy and commitment is now.
The Essence of Generation Equality
Bahous introduced the audience to the concept of Generation Equality, a global initiative that serves as a catalyst for change. She stated that everyone present was a part of this movement because they all identified as feminists. Generation Equality is not just about gender equality but also about achieving SDG 5, which acts as a significant enabler for other goals. The initiative is unique in its approach, leveraging the power of multi-stakeholder partnerships and aiming to connect global efforts with grassroots movements.
The Midpoint Moment served as an opportunity to take stock of the progress made since the previous meetings in Mexico City and Paris. Bahous proudly reported that in just two years, various stakeholders, including youth, civil society, governments, the private sector, and philanthropists, had collectively spent almost $10 billion on gender equality initiatives. These efforts translated into the initiation or implementation of 849 policies, 2,306 programs, and 3,649 advocacy initiatives globally.
In 2022 alone, Compact signatories spent nearly $1 billion on initiatives focusing on women, peace, and security, reaching 22.1 million women and girls. The total financial commitments reported have reached a staggering $47 billion, with $20 billion already secured. Bahous thanked everyone for their contributions and hinted at more significant actions in the pipeline.
The speech concluded with a strong call to action, urging everyone to seize this moment as an opportunity to finally eradicate gender inequality. Bahous emphasized that the time for complacency, pushback, and failure to invest is over. She labeled the audience as “disruptors” whose commitment to the cause is unwavering and undeniable.
Sima Bahous’s speech at the Generation Equality Midpoint Moment was a comprehensive overview of the state of gender equality today. It served as both a report card and a rallying cry, urging all stakeholders to renew their commitment to this critical cause. With quantifiable achievements and financial commitments in place, the path forward seems promising, yet the urgency to act remains.
The speech serves as a reminder that while significant strides have been made, the journey is far from over. The time to act is now, and the Generation Equality initiative provides the perfect platform for collective action.