The year 2020 was meant to be a year for celebrating and accelerating progress on gender equality as world leaders marked the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Instead, it has been a year of reckonings as the world grapples with multiple crises from COVID-19 to climate change, extreme inequality and global displacement.
This year has laid bare and aggravated the multiple layers of inequality that continue to determine who has access to dignified work and economic rights and who has agency over decisions that affect their lives. Now termed the she-cession, the pandemic-induced recession is quickly unraveling decades of progress on gender equality as women bear the brunt, especially those who belong to Black, Indigenous and racialized communities, (im)migrants and refugees, young women, women living with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ communities.
Now more than ever, the need for bold new policy direction is critical to ensure a more equal, inclusive and sustainable future for all. An intersectional feminist approach to foreign policy is needed that places gender, racial, economic and climate justice at its heart, prioritizes decolonization and puts the voices of those who have historically been least represented, and are often most impacted, at the centre of policymaking.