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Girls & Women

30 Female World Leaders Just Teamed Up to Stop the 'Erosion' of Women's Rights

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More than 30 influential women are teaming up to achieve gender equality and empower women.

The Group of Women Leaders for Change and Inclusion launched a new campaign this month with an open letter calling on the world to reinvest in policies and frameworks that achieve gender equality and inclusion, the Guardian reports

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The group including current and former heads of state and three former-UN leaders represent countries all around the globe. They say they’ve witnessed firsthand how women’s rights are often perceived as a direct attack on power structures, and the only way to fight is through multilateralism, which requires different countries and governments to work hand in hand.

The coalition — including former Argentinian foreign minister Susana Malcorra, former prime minister of New Zealand Helen Clark, and Bulgarian politician and former UNESCO director Irina Bokova — emerged out of the 2018 UN general assembly in New York. During the assembly, they all expressed concern over the fact that countries weren’t coming together as much as they should, and women’s rights were crumbling as a result. The group hopes their collective experiences and diverse backgrounds can help find a solution.

“We had a sense that there was another wave of pushback on gender equality and gender empowerment and the policies that we worked so hard to achieve,” Malcorra told the Guardian. 

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Malcorra said the pushback against women’s rights is especially visible in countries led by “a macho-type strongman” like Brazil, the Philippines, Italy, and parts of eastern Europe. Wins like paternity leave, for example, that help women gain respect by balancing caregiving responsibilities, are seen as a threat in some places, Malcorra explained

But even countries with leaders who support women need to continue fighting for equality, Malcorra warned

“Above all, we seek to underscore that the risk posed by politics that seek to halt and erode gender equality is a risk not only to women,” the letter said, “but also to all of humanity because half the population is prevented from contributing to its full potential.”