Press Release

UN in China and UK in China emphasize gender equality for a healthier future

22 March 2022

Beijing, 22 March 2022 – Yesterday, the United Nations in China and the British Embassy in Beijing jointly held a dialogue titled “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Health”, as part of a series of events in March to recognize women’s achievements and potential towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The COVID-19 pandemic is forecast to impact the development landscape for years to come, and there is a high risk that the gender inequalities and gender-based discrimination we have seen play out will increase further. However, women have also been crucial in leading the fight on the frontlines against COVID-19, accounting for 70% of the global health workforce.

“We celebrate their contributions to ending the COVID-19 pandemic. Their ideas, innovations and activism that are changing our world for the better. And their leadership across all walks of life. But we also recognize that in too many areas, the clock on women’s rights is moving backwards,” said Mr. António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, in his International Women’s Day message.

Participants, including representatives from the UN Country Team in China comprised of UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, and WHO, in addition to government officials and relevant stakeholders from academia, international organizations, the diplomatic community, and the private sector, joined the dialogue in person at the UN Compound in Beijing and remotely via video link.

Participants at the dialogue
Caption: Participants at the dialogue

“It is evident that COVID-19 has reinforced traditional social and cultural gender norms. Women have always borne a greater domestic burden as compared to men, and this has been exacerbated by the pandemic, forcing many to leave the workforce in order to support unpaid domestic care at home. Among the millions of populations pushed back into poverty, women and girls are the hardest-hit in the economic fallout of the pandemic,” said Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator in China.

Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator in China
Caption: Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator in China

“Indeed, female healthcare workers have played crucial roles in pandemic response and management, not only exposing themselves at the frontlines to higher risks of infection at the cost of their physical wellbeing, but also coping with the risks to mental health and stress. More significant action and investments are urgently needed to ensure that women and girls truly count and to realize Good Health and Well-Being (SDG 3) and Gender Equality (SDG 5) as we strive together to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” said Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee.

Following welcoming remarks, panel discussions on “The impact of COVID-19 and crises on Women in Health” and “South-South Cooperation: Gender Equality and Health” respectively saw participants highlight the need for inclusion in achieving Good Health and Well-Being (SDG 3) and Gender Equality (SDG 5).

Ms. Danae Dholakia, Minister Counsellor, Global Challenges, British Embassy Beijing
Caption: Ms. Danae Dholakia, Minister Counsellor, Global Challenges, British Embassy Beijing

“Health is a critical issue for humankind. Global health challenges have tremendous implications for social equality and place significant obstacles against achieving gender equality. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the weaknesses in health systems globally, widening existing inequalities and impacting developing countries. This has, in particular, disproportionately impacted women,” said Ms. Danae Dholakia, Minister Counsellor, Global Challenges, British Embassy Beijing.

“Female representation and diversity in leadership are crucial in this day and age. COVID-19 has impacted us all and has reversed much of the work done in promoting women’s rights globally, due to greater burdens placed on the female workforce and at home. This is why forums such as this one are so brilliant in promoting awareness and continuing such important conversations.” said Ms. Danae Dholakia.

“Ensuring significant or higher numbers of women representation in decision-making positions is what will see the world overcoming a wide range of health challenges facing communities.” said H.E Mr. James Kimonyo, Ambassador of Rwanda to China.

The UN in China and British Embassy Beijing thank participants for their presence at yesterday’s event and look forward to furthering engagement on gender equality, including at the UK-hosted event on Women in Climate on March 29.

 

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Louise Xi LI, Head of Communications, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in China

Tel: +8610-85320725, Email: xi.li@un.org    

Ms. Maya Yu, Communication Officer, British Embassy Beijing

Email: Maya.Yu@fcdo.gov.uk

UN in China and UK in China emphasize gender equality for a healthier future

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