EU commits billions to support women’s empowerment through education

The European Union (EU), as part of its third Action Plan for Gender Equality, has committed billions of dollars to support women’s empowerment and gender equality through the education, which has been negatively affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement coincides with the first anniversary of the EU Gender Action Plan III and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November.

In an editorial co-authored by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell Fontelles, and Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, they said the EU was working to “deliver human development on track ”through its Gender Action Plan.

It should be noted that the editorial is supported by the EU Ambassador to Jamaica, as well as the Ambassadors of the EU Member States.

According to Fontelles and Urpilainen, the Action Plan for Gender Equality III “encourages the leadership and meaningful participation of women, girls and young people in political, economic, social and cultural life, as well as in all peace and security issues ”.

“We are now making this plan a reality with the help of the new NDICI-Global Europe instrument of € 79.5 billion which will support the EU’s external action over the next seven years,” they wrote.

Under the plan, “support for education, and in particular for girls’ education, will have a central role.

“Just as we support education in emergencies, the EU has worked with partner countries throughout the pandemic to minimize its impact on children and facilitate a safe return to school”, said the editorial, titled “Plutting Gender Equality First”. .

To this end, the EU has already provided more than half of the world’s aid to education.

“We will further increase funding to promote gender equality through quality education at all levels. part of this fresh start, “wrote EU officials.

They added, “We are scaling up our efforts, from supporting education and economic opportunities for women and girls to improving their access to sexual and reproductive health services.

It is hoped that by 2025, 85% of all new EU external actions – across sectors – will contribute to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

“This is being finalized with our partner countries based on close consultation with civil society organizations, women’s rights activists and [the] youth, ”EU officials said.

“We need to get human development back on track and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, leaving no one behind. It is crucial that we do it right, ”said EU representatives.

Meanwhile, the EU and its Member States, as well as European financial institutions, have supported women and girls around the world throughout the ongoing pandemic.

“As Team Europe, we have already mobilized 46 billion euros to support more than 130 partner countries, with a particular focus on women and young people,” said EU representatives.

An example of such support is provided by the EU-United Nations Spotlight initiative, which has helped 650,000 women and girls prevent or combat “violence against them”.

In addition, 880,000 men and boys were educated on “positive masculinity, non-violent conflict resolution and parenting” through this initiative.

“In many countries, the pandemic has exacerbated existing gender inequalities in different areas: education, vocational training, health, safety and security, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and economic opportunities,” EU officials noted. .

“Additionally, lockdowns related to COVID-19 have often resulted in an increase in gender-based violence, particularly domestic violence. At the same time, a significant part of the burden of care has fallen on women and girls, ”they continued.

It is in this context that the EU has recognized gender equality as “the key to peace, security, economic prosperity and sustainable development”.

“That is why working at all levels to promote and safeguard progress on gender equality is a political priority and objective for the EU.

“The EU Gender Action Plan III and the new EU external action budget provide a roadmap for global action towards an equal world.”

The EU reaffirmed its commitment to work closely with multilateral, regional and bilateral partners, including civil society organizations, to achieve the goals.

Mara R. Wilmoth