We write as members of the Civil Society Advisory Group to the Core Group, but more importantly as fellow feminist and gender equality advocates and global citizens impacted by COVID-19.
We know from our own lives and works that this crisis impacts women and girls in all their diversity the hardest. We know that this crisis reveals in stark details the deep inequalities that we have been working to address from the very beginning of our movements. Moreover, we know that the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination in our world push the most marginalized even further to the edges.
We recognize that our organizations and movements are at the frontline in responding to this crisis straining our bodies, finances, and spirits, and that this will have a long-term impact on our personal and organizational well-being.
This crisis demonstrates how much the world needs feminism and feminist and women’s rights advocates right now.
The denial of essential health services and access to essential medicines, such as abortion and contraception; the exponential increase in unpaid care work; the rise in gender-based and state violence and the shortage of services for victims of violence; the unimaginable strain on care workers, the vast majority of whom are women; and the devastating loss of jobs and incomes, with particularly grave consequences for those in the informal sector, are all taking place in a context where public care, health, and social protection systems have been underfunded and decimated by years of underinvestment, structural adjustment policies, and austerity. It exacerbates further the devastating impact of climate change and other humanitarian crises situations. COVID-19 did not create these abuses – it has merely amplified them.
Now, more than ever, the world needs transformative feminist action and a new vision of the economy based on solidarity and care.
We need information and communication systems not for surveillance but in the construction of safe and inclusive societies. We need solutions that are framed in the context of global justice, human rights and equity.
Within this context, we believe that the Generation Equality Forum presents us with an opportunity to advance feminist policymaking.
With feminist movement mobilization and engagement, adequate resourcing for action, we hope that the process and outcomes from the Generation Equality Forum will push action towards a more just and equitable world and to harness the vision of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action to meet the challenges of a post-COVID-19 era.
We know that we will be living in a new world as a result of this pandemic. As the CSAG, we commit to taking this analysis with us into all of our work with regard to the Generation Equality Forum.
We will work in the coming year to ensure that we use this extra time to undertake extensive and inclusive consultations, engagement, and mobilization, on all aspects of the Generation Equality Forum while recognizing that it will be extremely challenging for many CSOs to contribute to the process in the long-run, only on a voluntary basis.
Along with you all, we will continue to advocate for and hold governments and other funders accountable to ensure that civil society has the resources it needs to participate fully in this process at all stages.
We will redouble our efforts in all that we do to ensure that the Generation Equality Forum is accessible to all, understanding the financial strain our organizations, movements, and networks will experience, as well as the possibility that barriers in obtaining visas and travelling will increase.
We will push even harder to guarantee that the Generation Equality Forum is a transformative, feminist space in which we can bring together a wide range of stakeholders to take concrete action and increase interconnectedness of feminist movements from across the world.
We will increase our engagement and collaboration with the other civil society representatives within the Generation Equality Forum governance structure, including youth and civil society organizations in France and Mexico.
We ask that you continue to collaborate with us, share your insights, and push us as we work together to create the Generation Equality Forum.
Civil Society Advisory Group to the Core Group