Dear Friend,

Don't worry, this is not an email with an ask for year-end money! Nor is it a long laundry list of all the amazing things Women Deliver has been up to in 2019. Instead, it is our take on the world right now, reflecting backward, and celebrating forward.

2019 has been quite the year for gender equality, and one word in particular stands out: POWER. As I reflect back, these four themes have emerged around how the world has used power for good this year:

In 2019, we saw people—and in particular young people—taking to the streets against inequality, corruption, environmental degradation, gender injustice, and limitations to political freedom. We saw Greta Thunberg and her peers mobilize the entire world around climate change. We saw Marième Soda Ndiaye, a Women Deliver Young Leader, become deputy of the National Assembly in her native Senegal—the youngest person to fill the position. We saw young people fight for comprehensive sexuality education in Uganda—and win. And in Finland, Sanna Marin, 34, became the youngest ever Prime Minister, ready to lead a government made up of a record number of young female party leaders. Well done!
We also saw prime ministers and presidents using their power to establish more gender-equal cabinets than ever, we saw a United Nations with gender parity in top posts, and more women in CEO positions of Fortune 500 companies (although the numbers are still in the single digits). There is still room for leadership improvement—in both the public and private sector—but more companies are committing to diversity and inclusion. In addition, more women are running for office, and we are seeing a strong public outcry and legal action against the on and offline harassment many women in leadership positions experience.
2019 brought an increased focus on political and financial commitments to the rights of girls and women—from strong gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights language in the Universal Health Coverage Declaration at the United Nations; to increased investment in grassroots women’s organizations in Lebanon; to the establishment of the Global Survivor Fund by Nobel Prize winner Denis Mukwege; and not least to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada’s ten-year, CAD $1.4 billion annual commitment to girls’ and women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights at the Women Deliver 2019 Conference.
Throughout the year and around the world, we saw more organizations come together in new partnerships underscoring that we accomplish more by working together than we do alone. In 2019, groups working to end female genital cutting joined forces and developed a roadmap and unified Call to Action to end FGM/C by 2030; global companies and organizations joined the new Paternity Leave Corporate Task Force initiated by Unilever and Promundo; and the French 2019 G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council developed a package of 79 practices to inspire leaders take legal action toward gender equality. And countries are signing on.

As we enter 2020 and another year with a big focus on gender equality, we also enter what I will call the decade of activism, advocacy, and action. We need it to counter the spike we see in populism, conservatism, and pushback on women’s rights.

We want to see the above four themes manifest and grow, instead of being passing trends. We want more mass mobilization for gender equality and against sexism and misogyny. We want more organizations and sectors working together, and we want to see bigger, bolder commitments and investments in girls, women, and gender equality—everywhere.

So, my ask to you is to use a bit of the upcoming holidays to consider how you will use and share your individual and institutional power to advance gender equality in 2020—at home, at work, and in the society at large.

Until then, onward and upward. Together.

And cheers to a great New Year!


Copyright © Women Deliver 2019, All rights reserved.

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