Global Feminist Collective, Rallying Call to Presidents during the UN General Assembly Special Session on COVID-19 – A #JustRecoveryAfrica!
The COVID-19 pandemic, and the deeply inter-linked climate and economic crises we now face, are a sad fulfillment of the direct damage done by years of neoliberal policies, including austerity measures, that prevented and diverted critical funding towards the much-needed investments in public services and social protection systems. It’s a fact! No amount of free market economics can fill the gap left by inadequate or nonexistent healthcare or unemployment benefits.
Post COVID-19 rebuilding must be the moment for system change! Not to return to normal, or build back better, BUT to create new recovery approaches grounded in human rights and justice.
The Feminist COVID-19 Response Collective has articulated six key principles that all responses must have a transformative, feminist recovery from the pandemic.
- COVID-19 responses must centre the well-being of all people in an intersectional manner.
- COVID-19 responses must ensure the health and safety for all, including ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights.
- COVID-19 responses must promote a comprehensive paradigm shift, relying on adequate and equitable financing.
- COVID-19 responses must be based on strengthening democratic values.
- COVID-19 responses must be a downpayment on a just and equitable transition towards an equal and healthy planet.
- COVID-19 responses must be guided by cooperation, multilateralism and global justice.
FEMNET joins millions of feminists, social justice activists and gender advocates in calling for:
- The cancellation of sovereign debt for developing countries.
- A decrease in defense budgets and spending.
- No austerity measures now or after the pandemic.
- No nationalistic stockpiling of COVID-19 vaccines or treatment drugs: public health can only be established with everyone, not privileged pockets of people.
- Ensure all finance, funding and partnerships are based on the principles of human rights.
- Ensure continuity and sufficiency of resources, laws, policies and health systems to ensure women and girls in all their diversity can exercise their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
- Meaningfully engage women and girls in all their diversity in decision-making on COVID-19 pandemic response, recovery, and rebuilding issues, both in the decision-making structures and in broader discussions.
- Invest in ending domestic and intimate partner violence, femicide, child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
- Explicitly commit to take measures to recognize, reduce and redistribute women’s and girls’ disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work that is increasing as a result of COVID-19, including by promoting equal sharing of responsibilities within the household, as well as labor policies, public services and social protections, providing and expanding flexible working arrangements, care services, transportation/water/sanitation infrastructure, parental leave, paid sick leave, suspending conditionalities for social benefits, and providing additional support for child care services.
- Ensure the rights and specific needs of adolescent girls are adequately addressed in national responses as part of a just recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We remind all governments of their commitment to leave no one behind in the true spirit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
History will reflect who stood for justice and who allowed us to perpetuate the broken systems that brought us here today.