The European Union warmly welcomes the Annual debate on the integration of a gender perspective. Today, we stress the importance of the HRC resolution 6/30, in which the Human Rights Council committed to systematic gender integration across the human rights architecture. The EU commends the expert mechanisms, including Special Procedures, for continuing to improve our understanding of the gender dimensions of human rights violations.
Women and girls have been disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, which has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities, discrimination, stigmatization, violence and exclusion, disrupted social protection services and assistance, increased reliance on caregivers, limited access to adequate housing, education, justice, and essential health services, including sexual and reproductive health care services, and increased risk of unemployment, poverty and violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, domestic violence and intimate partner violence, as well as violence in digital contexts. Mitigating the social and economic consequences of the pandemic should be a key priority for the international community. In this regard, the COVID-19 recovery plans must be gender-responsive, developed and implemented with the full, equal, meaningful and effective participation of all women
When looking at new and emerging technologies, it is increasingly clear that algorithms when developed on non-representative data discriminate against women and girls with real life effects when accessing e.g. social services. Violations and abuses of the right to privacy online particularly affect women and girls.
The EU stresses the important role of the Council in continuing to promote understanding of how gender-based violence and discrimination affect women and girls of all backgrounds and abilities. Women and girls located in rural or remote areas often experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, for example, facing barriers in access and use of digital technologies, due to unaffordability, low digital literacy and discriminatory social norms.
It is a priority for the EU to protect the safety of all women and girls and empower them to participate in all spheres of life, both on and offline. This includes promoting gender-responsive laws, policies, and development programmes that support partner countries’ digital transformation.
How can we further strengthen gender integration and increase our concerted efforts to address the structural barriers that underpin the digital gender divide and support an inclusive, fair and gender-equal COVID 19 recovery?