PRESS RELEASE: Commemoration of International Women’s day (IWD) 2021
DATE: 8th March, 2021

THEME: Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world

The theme celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

IWD celebrates all individuals who are working towards gender equality regardless of their gender identity. We are now living in a world were technology is shaping and changing the way people live in every part of the world so we have to be intentional about its use to positively impact the lives of young women and girls in our COVID-19 world. The goal is to ensure that every female is aware of their rights despite the limitations of social gathering. Women and girls must still be given the opportunity to contribute to both the design and execution of solutions affecting their lives.

While we have less than a decade to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including goal five (5) on Gender Equality, the current pace of change is still worrying as women continue to be left behind. However, our world is quickly changing and we have to rise above the challenges and face the changes with positivity. On one hand, we have globalization, technological advancement, digital revolution and new opportunities and on the other hand, the growing informality of labor, unstable livelihoods and income, inflation, COVID pandemic, youth unemployment, high cost of living, unsustainable jobs all of which must be addressed in the context of women’s economic development.
Young Women in Action (YWA) has demonstrated that young women have skills, knowledge and networks to effectively lead in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. Today there is more acceptance than ever before that women bring different experiences, perspectives and skills to the table and make irreplaceable contributions to decisions, policies and laws that work better for all.

Majority of the countries that have been more successful in stemming the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic and responding to its health and broader socio-economic impacts, are headed by women. For instance, Heads of Government in Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, New Zealand and Slovakia have been widely recognized for the rapidity, decisiveness and effectiveness of their national response to COVID-19. Yet, women are Heads of State and Government in only 20 countries worldwide.

To uphold women’s rights and fully leverage the potential of women’s leadership in pandemic preparedness and response, the perspectives of women and girls in all of their diversity must be integrated in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes in all spheres and at all stages of pandemic response and recovery.
In conclusion, women and men need to work together so that we can build back our world better by including and supporting women, and the organizations and networks that represent them, in the decision-making processes that will ultimately shape the post-pandemic future.

Executive Director
Harriet Chibuta