The World Health Organization announced multiple commitments to drive change for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in all their diversity at the Generation Equality Forum, held last week in Paris. The WHO commitments focused on ending gender-based violence; advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights; and supporting health workers as well as feminist movements and leadership. These commitments shape a progressive and transformative blueprint for advancing gender equality, health equity, human rights and the empowerment of women and girls globally.
The Forum, marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on Women, came at a critical moment, with COVID-19 having exacerbated existing gender inequalities. WHO led in two key areas of the Forum: the Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence (co-led with UN Women and other partners) and the Gender Equal Health and Care Workforce Initiative between France, Women in Global Health and WHO.
It will partner with Wellspring, Ford Foundation, UN Women and the Government of the United Kingdom, in the launch of the Shared Agenda Advocacy Accelerator (the Accelerator) to advocate for increasing resources for preventing violence against women and girls. WHO will support the implementation of the International Labour Organization Convention No. 190 on Eliminating Violence and Harassment in the World of Work including by providing training to staff on a new internal policy, Preventing and Addressing Abusive Conduct.
Committed by WHO
also committed to investing in the evidence base for sexual and reproductive health and rights, including delivering comprehensive sexuality education outside school settings; improving access to quality and rights-based family planning in 14 middle-income countries; supporting 25 countries in increasing adolescents’ access to and use of contraception; disseminating updated guidelines on safe abortion; and building knowledge among adolescents of their entitlements and ability to advocate for their needs.