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"Women fell between the cracks" during COVID — former UN Women chief

During the pandemic, former UN Women chief Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka says many women were "caught up in the crossfire that is not of their own making," accounting for two-thirds of jobs lost due to COVID. What's more, she adds, women forced into the informal job market to make ends meet had a hard time returning to formal jobs once lockdowns ended. And since government incentives didn't target them enough, "women fell between the cracks."

She spoke during "Measuring what matters: How women are critical to pandemic recovery," a livestream conversation on October 28, 2021, hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The pandemic’s impact on women and the global economy

What pandemic result will have the largest and longest-lasting impact on women? Is the world really building back better for half the global population? How can we ensure that the post-pandemic recovery is fair to women? And how does this all play into a wider GZERO world? A group of global experts debated these and other questions during a livestream conversation hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, moderated by eNCA senior news anchor Tumelo Mothotoane.

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The war on (period) poverty

Brazil's bold President Jair Bolsonaro did a bad thing this week. He blocked legislation that would have provided free sanitary pads and tampons to disadvantaged Brazilian women and girls. In a country where 25 percent of girls miss school because they don't have access to sanitary products or bathrooms when they're menstruating, this is a pretty big deal.

Laws aimed at addressing period poverty — lack of financial access to basic hygiene products like pads, tampons, and soap – are often framed by male-dominated governments as excessive and inessential. They are so wrong.

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Afghan girls should stay in school despite Taliban rule, activist says

If you're an Afghan girl, teacher and activist Pashtana Durrani says it's time to tell the Taliban you'll keep going to school because it's your right — and good for Afghanistan after 20 years of relying on the US. "We have to do something on our own, and for that it's very important to start by educating ourselves [...] by becoming a scientist, a doctor, a teacher, to have that human capacity to serve the country for the greater good." Just because a few men in Kabul have changed, she adds, that doesn't justify "that we have to change our way of life for them." Watch her interview with GZERO World's Ian Bremmer.

Watch the full interview: Afghan activist: Taliban won't make us change our way of life

Afghan activist: Taliban won’t make us change our way of life

While many Afghans are trying to flee the country, others have gone into hiding, moving around to escape the Taliban but doing their part to stand up to Afghanistan's new rulers. One of them is teacher and women's rights activist Pashtana Durrani. In a wide-ranging interview with GZERO World's Ian Bremmer, Durrani tackles several hot topics, like what's next for Afghan girls, whether the Taliban can actually govern, and how they'll behave after all Americans are out. "Just because a few men in Kabul, in the Presidential Palace, have changed, that doesn't justify the fact that we have to change our way of life for them." She also pushes back against the Biden administration's claim that the Afghan army didn't want to fight the Taliban, and shares her feelings about the US after 20 years of occupation and war.

AstraZeneca vaccine politics may further damage Europe's economy

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on the latest news in global politics on World In :60 - that is, :180.


First. What is going on with the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Well, around Europe, we have all of these countries that have suspended giving out AstraZeneca vaccines, because there have been some side effects of people that are taking it. Blood clots, a tiny number of folks, actually fewer side effects for AstraZeneca than we've seen for Pfizer, but it's become this big political show. After a few countries start shutting it down, others do because they can't be left by themselves. I just talked to a major senior official from one country saying, "Yeah, we were under pressure. We want to keep it going." World Health Organization said it's fine. AstraZeneca itself who has done the trials, say it's fine. And this is slowing down an already very slow vaccine rollout in Europe. They were doing a lot of things reasonably well in terms of dealing with the pandemic, but absolutely not this. They're a couple of months behind the United States right now in terms of getting to herd immunity. This is going to slow them down. It's going to hurt their economic growth this year. Okay.

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What We’re Watching: Italy invests in women, Libya’s unity government, Quad vs China

Closing Italy's gender gap: Mario Draghi, Italy's new prime minister, says that increasing female employment will be a priority as Rome spends the nearly $250 billion in COVID relief funds from Brussels. Barely over 50 percent of Italian women are employed, a rate that lags the EU average by nearly 20 points, and female representation at the highest levels of government has traditionally been weak. Early in the pandemic the government came under fire for forming an all-male coronavirus task force, despite the fact that women make up a majority of healthcare professionals, and women currently hold only 8 out of 23 positions in Draghi's own cabinet. Over the past decade, new laws have pushed large Italian corporations to make major strides in female representation on their boards, but small businesses have lagged — as has the government, where even in professions where women prevail, they rarely reach the top ranks, according to the FT (paywall). As 2021 brings us closer to the end of a pandemic in which women have disproportionately suffered the economic and social fallout, will gender inequality figures be the focus of other countries' rebuilding plans too?

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Indonesia extends interest-free loans to women, including housewives, to sustain low-income families

October 03, 2020 3:38 PM

JAKARTA - The Indonesian government has introduced a special micro-loan for entrepreneurial women from low-income families to help them grow their small businesses, as the country works towards economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

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