The United Nations agency, UN Women says it is celebrating the power and potential of women and girls while recognising their courage, resilience and leadership on International Women’s Day, marked on March 8 annually.
Sima Bahous, the Executive Director of UN Women, said that the organisation marks and celebrates the ways in which we are making progress towards a more gender-equal world.
“At the same time, we see how that progress is being undermined by multiple, interlocking and compounding generational crises.”
“Currently, we are witnessing the horrifying situation in Ukraine where the impacts on women and girls, including the hundreds of thousands displaced, remind us: all conflicts, from Ukraine to Myanmar to Afghanistan, from the Sahel to Yemen, exact their highest price from women and girls. The secretary-general has been clear: war must stop.”
Bahous said that they have seen the impact of Covid-19 in increasing inequalities, driving poverty and violence against women and girls, and rolling back their progress in employment, health and education.
GOOGLE GIVES $100M GRANT FUNDING FOR AFRICAN WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS
At the same time, Internet search company Google announced that its philanthropic arm is committing $100 million in charitable funding to support programmes helping African women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
This is part of a series of new initiatives aimed at supporting women-owned businesses, the company said.
“Research shows that 58% of small and medium-sized business (SMB) entrepreneurs in Africa are women,” says Mojolaoluwa Aderemi Makinde, head brand and reputation, Africa – Google.
“Despite this, women-run businesses show, on average, 34% lower profits than those run by their male counterparts. They are also less likely to receive funding and investment. This is why we are announcing a series of initiatives today, aimed at providing the support women need to grow their businesses.”
In addition to the funding announcement, Google has also announced #LookMeUp, a campaign to showcase women entrepreneurs and tell their stories.
According to a statement, these stories feature women such Vivian Nwakah in Nigeria, who launched Medsaf, a pharmaceutical supply chain solution to help Nigerians get access to quality pharmaceutical health-care services, Mary Mwangi, CEO and founder of Data Integrated who is driving innovation in the mobile payments sector in Nairobi, Kenya, and Mosa Mkhize in South Africa, who launched Origins Publishers to provide her children – and others like them – with books in their home languages.
Gender inequality is one of the most urgent challenges we face as a society. COVID-19 has put the economic future of women and girls at an even greater risk.