The struggles and achievements of women across time and across the world cannot be commemorated in one day. Nonetheless, I take this moment to celebrate and honor the achievements made by women and girls across the GNRC Network and around the world on this important occasion of International Women’s Day.
The theme of this year’s celebrations, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, aligns well with GNRC’s mission, vision and work we do across the world. It goes without saying that women are the backbone of the society. As we have witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic, women have been at the frontline, helping to curb the spread of the virus while caring for their families and the larger community, and bearing the brunt of the negative economic and social impacts of the crisis.
I take this opportunity to pay special tribute to the women who have supported GNRC work despite the enormous challenges they faced. Many are bridging the divide by assisting underprivileged communities and those most vulnerable, specifically children, young people, and mothers. They are working with faith communities, faith leaders and local governments to ensure services reach communities, and that issues affecting children and youth, including climate change, are addressed. The achievements of the GNRC have been due to their tremendous efforts.
However, much more needs to be done to realize gender parity. Gender based discrimination and harmful social and cultural norms continue to prevent women and girls from achieving their full potential. Women are hit hardest during crises, yet they remain absent in decision-making roles. They continue to be sexual-harassed, abused, and receive low pay.
In 2022, we say this must stop! As we recognize the women and girls who are leading the charge on progress, we must create awareness on gender equality and the importance of having women take their rightful place in decision-making processes. More work is needed in the areas of expanding girls’ education and ending gender-based violence and child marriage. Let us envision a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. Let us strive to promote a world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive for all humanity, for the benefit of future generations.
Gender equality is key to peace and sustainable development. Together, as faith communities, professionals, men, women, boys, and girls, let us create a sustainable future for everyone.