Monday, May 16

Feminist multilateralism

The Generation Equality Forum offers a unique opportunity to reinforce multilateral efforts to promote the United Nations’ Fifth Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality. The Forum is a symbolic show of force to fight for gender equality on a global scale. And let’s not forget that meeting SDG 5 will help promote all 17 SDGs. On GWL Voices for Change and Inclusion (onwards GWL Voices)We are passionate advocates of multilateralism, especially in promoting a gender perspective to address global inequality and promote inclusive representation.

In view of the Paris Forum, we believe that the highlighted objectives must be maintained, and that doing so will advance their implementation. The ambitions proposed by the Coalitions of Action Plans are commendable. It is important to highlight the need for change and accountability for institutional and sectoral commitments towards gender equality.

In the implementation of inclusive environments, all Preliminary plans Action Coalitions have to be respected. We particularly emphasize that the Action Coalition of “Feminist Movements and Leadership” must be prioritized. Taking into account the first action plan of “doubling the global annual growth rate of financing from all sectors committed to movements, organizations and funds led by women and feminists in their total diversity” in the year 2026, it is necessary to press to all member states to carry out their work.

The Plan it refers to data and accountability to promote investment, which should also bring international cooperation and the creation of equitable representation as an institutional norm. The ultimate goal within this action plan should be to get governments to accept equitable gender representation as a global norm.

The Second Action Plan to “promote, expand and protect civic space in all areas, including online spaces, and support the efforts of feminist human rights defenders and women peacebuilders – including individuals trans, intersex and non-binary – to defend civic space and eliminate barriers to feminist action, organization and mobilization in its total diversity ”requires the defense of international humanitarian law. This correlates with the actions defended in Resolution 1325 of the UN Security Council, to “guarantee the protection and respect of women and girls”. Twenty years have passed since that resolution was passed; however, it remains a major problem for women’s groups and civil society in general, and the lack of progress is deeply troubling.

The right to protest, to organize groups, and to mobilize members for social justice should be unequivocal human rights. However, to this day several women activists report abuse and intimidation – limiting their full development in political activism. The data and accountability measures of the Plan to track and document human rights violations show promise, but must be applied to have a significant impact. Global efforts, including social media campaigns, are needed to showcase any incidents of intimidation and human rights abuse to pressure governments to respect this policy.

The third action plan to “increase the substantive participation, leadership and decision-making power of girl leaders, and of women and feminist leaders” encompasses the core philosophy of GWL Voices. Having held various positions to conduct negotiations and influence government policy, this project of action is one that we seek to defend emphatically.

As women who have served as Foreign Ministers, Prime Ministers, and Directors General, we want ALL women to feel confident that they can be leaders and creators of change. To account for the actions of this objective of the Preliminary plan, it will be necessary to monitor not only the legislation regarding inclusive government reform, but also the disclosure of the progress of international organizations and national governments.

If we do not have sufficient information on how leadership has progressed, efforts to achieve the objectives of the Forum in Paris within the five-year period will be hampered.

Finally, it is important to support young women’s movements to get involved in political decision-making. We want to defend the Fourth Plan preliminary to “directing specific and flexible financial, technical and other resources to adolescent girls and young feminist leaders and their movements and organizations to strengthen them”, and we have seen impressive models globally. However, our attempt to attract young activists can only go so far; We must also clear the way for more pioneers to emerge.

The Plan suggests promoting accountability for decision makers. This should also come with better education programs, student governments, and leadership initiatives to engage young women who can represent their governments or influence global politics. This will need to start from scratch and will require enabling environments in schools and other academic institutions.

This objective can be discussed in more detail during the Forum, but should be a priority after this year’s events. The word can only go so far. Concrete actions will be decisive for progress after the Forum in Paris. As we say in GWL Voices “Deeds will speak louder as words” (acts sound louder than words).