Nations must invest in closing gender gaps: WEF

The world is still a sobering 132 years away from achieving gender equality and countries must invest more in closing gender gaps, say World Economic Forum leaders. 


The growing range of interconnected “polycrises” that are shaking the world are fuelling a cost of living crisis – which women are bearing the brunt of globally, according to the WEF's Global Gender Gap report.


“Women have historically shouldered a disproportionate share of care responsibilities.  What happened during and since the pandemic is that care infrastructure broke down globally, leaving many women unable to return to the workforce,” said Silja Baller, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the World Economic Forum.


“International Women’s Day 2023 comes at a critical juncture for gender equality, where we risk falling even further behind unless concrete and concerted steps are taken across the world.”


This is particularly clear when it comes to the health and wellbeing of women. As per UN and World Bank estimates, a woman dies every two minutes from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth complications. Women’s health is still dramatically underfunded and under-researched, which fuels the already significant health, social and economic disparities across the world.


“For too long, women and their families have been left to deal with unmet health needs and the physical, economic and social consequences this has,” said Shyam Bishen, Head of Health and Healthcare at the World Economic Forum. “Women’s health has been seen as their individual issue – and this needs to change.”


“Countries must invest in closing gender gaps,” says Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum. “With an increasingly uncertain economic outlook, unleashing the creativity and dynamism of a country’s entire human capital is critical to overcoming the current era of ‘polycrises’ and accelerating a sustainable recovery.”


Closing the gender gap and empowering women are key priorities at the World Economic Forum.


The forum's  Centre for the New Economy and Society (CNES) complements its annual Global Gender Gap Report with a growing portfolio of action initiatives and leadership communities. For instance our Gender Parity Accelerators – already present in 13 countries – aim to hardwire gender parity in the world of work and showcase the tremendous economic boon that parity could bring.


In 2023-2024, CNES will also host the Global Future Council on the Future of the Care Economy to explore models for investment and innovation in care systems, develop dialogues on access to STEM skills and careers, and aggregate insights on applying a gender lens to economic policymaking.


In terms of health and healthcare, the Forum has launched flagship Initiative on Protecting Women's and Girl’s Health that aims to provide a platform to accelerate and foster meaningful coalitions between key actors, from both the public and private sector, to enhance women’s and girls’ health. 


“As the world grapples with converging crises, we must act swiftly and collectively to advance gender-inclusive partnerships, policy changes and innovations, " says Shyam Bishen. "Investment in women’s health should not be seen as a cost but as an investment opportunity and a critical global priority that can positively shape the future for generations to come.” - TradeArabia News Service







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