ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF

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UNDP’s gender equality strategy harnesses the transformative power of inclusive governance and leadership

Gender equality is a powerful catalyst for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By including women in decision-making processes and advancing women’s leadership across public governance, progress can be achieved in every aspect of life and for the benefit of all people in society.

Continuing to build the momentum toward increased representation of women in leadership roles, the EJS Center is stepping up its efforts to mobilize support for a #GapZero agenda in public governance and for evidence-driven inclusive policies and strategies. The side events co-hosted by the EJS Center and its partners at the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA78) amplified the conversation around the importance of equity for Africa’s sustainable development and its ability to tackle today’s most pressing socio-economic and environmental challenges. 

In its 2022 Annual Report on the Gender Equality Strategy 2022-2025, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reaffirms not only the centrality of gender equality to the 2030 SDG Agenda, but also the importance of what participants explored during their recent UNGA 78 discussions – the need to ramp up efforts to bring more women into leadership roles through evidence-driven inclusive governance, and mobilize more men as partners for gender equality.

Noting the backlash against women’s rights in countries around the world, as well as the urgency to advance parity in all spheres of life, the report presents an overview of UNDP’s efforts to break down gender barriers and enhance women’s leadership ambitions.

Operating against a backdrop of global uncertainty and crises – from climate change to economic downturns and armed conflict – UNDP is targeting key accelerators for gender equality. This includes the elimination of market segregation, increasing women’s political representation, addressing gender-based violence, and creating data-driven policy shifts.

In Africa, UNDP has helped several countries make structural transformations and take strides toward achieving gender equality at scale. By building the capacity of women in public offices through new networks and quotas, and rallying support to combat discrimination against women leaders, the organization has contributed to leveling the playing field in countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, and Kenya.

Over the past year, UNDP also made use of data sources to create inclusive policies. Working with the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), UNDP developed the Africa Care Index – a regional index that monitors the evolution of care systems and evaluates African countries’ performances in managing care work. This tool brings to light how social recognition and state support for care work can help address inequalities in this field.

Globally, UNDP has increased its support for inclusive political processes, implementing over 200 measures in dozens of countries to advance women’s leadership and increase equal participation in public and private institutions.

Whether in Africa or around the globe, decades of progress toward gender equality risk being undermined by current environmental, economic, and geopolitical crises. Integrating women in decision-making processes and ensuring equity in public governance will be pivotal in consolidating the gains already achieved and confronting the challenges ahead.

Discover the UNDP 2022 Annual Report here.

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