(CU)_The Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Action Group (CWAMAG), which was launched in May last year, was established with the objective of strengthening gender equality and women’s empowerment across the Commonwealth. During the inaugural meeting, the delegates, including women’s affairs ministers from the member states, discussed the impact of the pandemic on women and girls, and provided an opportunity to advice on emerging gender issues.
As the Group reconvened virtually this week, the effects of the Covid-19 on gender inequality in the Commonwealth was once again at the heart of the discussions. “Two years into the pandemic, and in an environment of ongoing vaccine inequity, there is widespread consensus that it has had an outsized impact on women and girls, and that responses to the pandemic must be better at ensuring that they are not further marginalized,” the Commonwealth Secretariat said in a statement issued on Friday.
According to the statement, the two themes of particular concern that were highlighted during the meeting were the increased levels of violence against women and girls and the disproportionate burden of the economic downturn borne by them. These two themes were echoed in the interventions of the delegated who were participating at the CWAMAG, and they highlighted a range of initiatives that are being rolled out across the Commonwealth in support of gender equality during the past couple of years. These included childcare subsidies, cash transfers, job support schemes, resource provision and training for strengthened economic empowerment.
The upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which is scheduled to be held in Kigali, in June, was also a subject of discussion, particularly the Women’s Forum which will be held on the side lines of the summit. The meeting was concluded with plans to hold the 13th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting (13 WAMM) in early-2023.