The Generation Equality Forum in Paris took place from 30 June – 2 July, engaging nearly 50,000 people with the announcement of bold gender equality commitments including $40 billion of committed investments and the launch of a global 5-year action journey to accelerate gender equality by 2026.
Photo: UN Women/Fabrice Gentile.
The Generation Equality Forum in Paris closed on 2 July featured over 110 events over 3 days, hosted via an online platform. The event included a dynamic youth-led stage, civil-society sessions and sessions aligned with the Forum’s Action Coalitions. The Forum launched a global 5-year action journey to accelerate gender equality by 2026, ‘Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality’. The Forum also launched a Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action, and announced new gender equality initiatives focused on health, sports, culture, and education.
Heads of State, leaders and activists open the Generation Equality Forum in Paris
The Forum was opened by the co-hosts, President of France, Emmanuel Macron and Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, as well as by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and convener of the Forum, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. The ceremony was centred on the voice of civil society activists and women’s rights defenders and featured long-term advocate for gender equality and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an intergenerational dialogue with climate activist Julieta Martinez.
Spotlight on commitments
The USD 40 Billion of investments confirmed at the Forum’s close represent a major step-change in resourcing for women’s and girls’ rights. Lack of financing is widely understood to be a major reason for slow progress in advancing gender equality and in enacting the women’s rights agenda of the milestone 1995 Beijing Conference. By the close of the Forum, governments and public sector institutions had committed to USD 21 Billion in gender equality investments, the private sector USD 13 Billion, and Philanthropy USD 4.5 Billion. UN entities, international and regional organizations committed an aggregate of USD 1.3 Billion. In addition to these bold investments, many organizations made strong policy and program commitments, including 440 civil society organizations and 94 youth-led organizations. Forum organizers expect that the approximately 1,000 commitment-makers confirmed to date will be joined by many others over the next five years.
The Forum saw the unveiling of a wide range of commitments from every sector, with examples including:
- At the Opening Ceremony, a USD 2.1 billion commitment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to advance women’s leadership, reproductive health, and economic empowerment was announced, alongside a USD 420 million investment from the Ford Foundation to tackle threats to women’s rights caused by COVID-19. The World Bank committed to a major investment for programmes in 12 African States to tackle gender inequalities.
- The implementation of major policy reforms and programmes to advance gender equality. The President of Kenya announced a national strategy and resources to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. The Prime Minister of Canada presented the country’s commitment to invest in a care system to benefit women and girls and the President of Georgia presented her commitment to lead legislative change on the legal definition of rape. The Vice President of the United States made policy and resource commitments to a range of significant policies and investment requests including an investment of USD 1 Billion to support programmes to end violence against women, and USD 175 Million to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally on gender-based violence, women’s economic security, and sexual and reproductive health and rights
- The Government of Burkina Faso’s work with Benin, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Togo to develop shared commitments related to family life education; free care for pregnant women and children under five years; and pursuing legal and social change to end gender-based violence, including FGM and child marriage
- The expansion of the Global Alliance for Care, initiated by the Government of Mexico and UN Women. This now includes over 39 countries; for example, the Government of Canada’s commitment of USD 100 Million to address inequalities in the care economy globally, as a parallel to significant investment in its own care system
- The Malala Fund’s commitment to provide at least USD 20 Million in feminist funding to girls education activists
- P&G’s commitment to advance women’s economic justice and rights through its global value chain by spending USD 10 Billion with women-owned and women-led businesses through 2025
- The Government of Bangladesh’s pledge to increase women’s participation in the ICT sector, including the tech start-up and e-commerce sector, to 25 per cent by 2026 and 50 per cent by 2041.
- PayPal’s commitment of USD 100 Million to advance women’s economic empowerment
- Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia’s commitment to collaborate with Caribbean NGOs to advocate for the recognition of the LGBTQI+ community and to undertake region-wide legislative reform to minimize discrimination and victimization
- Open Society Foundation’s commitment of at least USD 100 million over five years to fund feminist political mobilization and leadership
The Road Ahead
UN Women will maintain a critical role driving the Forum’s 5-year action journey, ensuring robust monitoring and accountability for implementation of the commitments made, including through dedicated internal capacity.