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Justice for Women and Girls: Moving from Commitment to Action Amidst COVID-19


23 October, 2020 @ 14:00

Justice for Women and Girls: Moving from Commitment to Action Amidst COVID-19

Justice for women and girls is at the core of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. It provides a foundation for more inclusive development and is essential to ensuring gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls everywhere.

Justice for women is not just a powerful enabler of SDG 5 (gender equality and women’s empowerment) and SDG 16 (peaceful, just and strong institutions), it is also critical for the achievement of other development goals.  When laws and justice systems are effective in upholding women’s rights, they create pathways and act as catalyst for the full realization of human rights and sustainable development.

Since the COVID–19 pandemic has swept across the world, it has created a global emergency of multiple dimensions. The need to mitigate the impacts of the virus has brought unprecedented challenges to women’s lives and livelihoods. COVID-19 has put the spotlight on the justice gaps experienced by women and the need to urgently address them.  More particularly, the pandemic has created new obstacles to gender justice or exacerbated existing ones.  It has curtailed women’s access to justice institutions, magnified gender gaps in digital access, worsened risks of gender-based violence; threatened further injustice against women workers, especially in the informal sector, and many more.

Prior to the pandemic, 2020 was expected to be a year to accelerate progress in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPFA), 25 years since its adoption. It is also the year projected to jumpstart the Decade of Accelerated Action to deliver on the Global Goals.  There is now major and well-founded concern that COVID-19 will push back the fragile progress on gender equality and women’s access to justice.

As part of the Global Week for Justice, this event seeks to discuss how we can address justice gaps and accelerate joint action and investment on justice for women and girls.  The event will focus on the following key questions: 

  • What lessons or good practices are in place to resolve women’s justice problems, especially those exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic ?
  • How can we urge increased national commitment and action on justice for women and girls?
  • How can we strengthen international and regional alliances to champion the justice for women agenda?

The event will build on the 2020 report on Justice for Women Amidst COVID-19, jointly produced  by the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), UN Women, UNDP, UNODC, World Bank, Pathfinders for Peaceful, Justice and Inclusive Societies and supported by The Elders.  The report identifies women’s justice needs  during the pandemic, highlights emerging COVID-19 gender justice interventions, and offers ten recommendations, building on the Call to Action of the 2019 Justice for Women report, to ensure healthy and inclusive justice systems for women and girls.