The 2021 International Women’s Day themed ‘choose to challenge’ calls for the celebration of long years of combating gender inequalities that seem to have persisted through generations, and eras of human existence. Today, everyone is called to never back off or look away from speaking up against inequality but to awoken the world as we call out gender bias and inequality and collectively help create an inclusive world. This global campaign seeks to accelerate action to combat the world’s most persistent human rights violations against women and girls. We are invited to unite and intensify efforts towards reducing all forms of gender inequality in laws, regulations and development practices for the good of everyone.

The increasing degradation of the environment and changes in climate and variability is aggravating pre-existing inequalities resulting to struggles and conflicts over control of the marginal resources in the drylands. Some of the social ills women and girls are experiencing increasingly include rise in violence against women and girls, forced marriage, human trafficking, and land poverty and reduced access. The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated issues ranging from unemployment, unequal market access, digital divide, increase workload for women due to care services, and the interconnectedness to women’s health, and education for girls.

While the impacts of gender inequalities continue to be devastating on women, and negatively affecting all development  outcomes; the resilience and leadership by women has continued to be noticeable in different facets. Women, institutions, organizations and governments that care about equality continue to stem the tide of climate change impacts and environmental degradation, support and enact policies and programs that reduce gender gaps, empower women and girls, develop inclusive communities and institutions. Despite the much progress made since Beijing 1995, there remains lots more work towards gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Against this backdrop, on the 2021 International Women’s Day (IWD), the CRP-GLDC showcases the work of the Gender Research team in ensuring gender integration and social inclusion in the drylands. Undoubtedly, the CRP GLDC solidly chooses to challenge gender inequalities in all forms and shapes, works to combat inequality in collaboration with it partners.

Happy International Women’s Day #choosetochallenge #leaveonebehind

Dr. Jummai O. Yila
CRP-GLDC Gender & Youth Focal Person

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