Happy International Women's Day 2021!

At an event held at the European Parliament on the theme of women empowerment during Covid-19, Director Sabra Bano gave a presentation on the work of women’s organisations during the pandemic.

Earlier, the event was opened by the opening speech of Greek President Sakellaropoulou and where Ms Bano reflected on the opening speech.

Women's organisations have largely been ignored in Covid-19 recovery and response. There has been a focus in the media and government on the suffering of women, and this is often framed as shocking and surprising. However, these issues were predicted by Gender Concerns International at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. It is not shocking to us because no space or funding has been given to those who are representing the vulnerable. Women organisations have been wiped out from raising their voice.

This is why Gender Concerns is working globally on the 1:1 campaign. The low percentage of women in politics leads to poor representation overall. It is necessary for all parties in all countries to list one woman candidate for every male candidate. For the elections in the Netherlands this year, there are a record number of women listed as candidates. However, we do not know what this means. We need to ask ourselves if they will bring awareness to women’s issues. Until those in power recognise the important issues, but also the importance of women’s organisations, and until there is increased access and opportunities for women who want to be in politics, the system will be able to continue ignoring the weakest.

Our campaign #SheCaresCovid19 was aimed at highlighting the position of women in the health sector, and we have created many recommendations for those in power. What the pandemic has proven is that women have the potential to unite communities, and can take the lead on highlighting their issues. It is obvious that this crisis has affected all sectors of society.

This International Women’s Day we recognise the hard work of women trying to improve not only their lives, but also others. We acknowledge and appreciate those who have worked hard to help others throughout the pandemic with cut funding. We know that for all of us to be successful and sustainable, there needs to be profound and fundamental changes, and a system overhaul.