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In September 2017, Winnie Byanyima attended the UN General Assembly (UNGA72) in New York. Ms Byanyima joined colleagues from across the Oxfam confederation to represent Oxfam at high-level engagements and hold bilateral meetings.
Ms Byanyima was invited to speak at a special event of the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Panel of Women's Economic Empowerment, to which she was appointed in early 2016.
The UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, established in January 2016, was tasked with developing an action-oriented agenda in support of women’s economic empowerment in the context of achieving the SDGs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
With powerful and influential membership representing governments, the private sector, civil society and the global multi-lateral institutions, the HLP has combined energy, commitment and action to further the empowerment of women across the world. The HLP has produced two reports, identifying seven drivers of change and presenting recommendations for transformative actions necessary to advance women’s economic empowerment. More info here: http://hlp-wee.unwomen.org/en
The event was joined by President of Costa Rica Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and a number of other leaders.
REMARKS AS PREPARED
Your Excellences, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
The verdict is clear: we can no longer shoehorn women into this economic model rigged against them and the majority.
If you’re asking me about the most marginalized women – informal workers, and rural women in agriculture in the South?
To say they’re “left behind” is so polite it’s wrong. They are crushed at the bottom of a globalized economic heap. Their poverty powers the supposed success of globalisation. Because of them Oxfam is energized to take forward our Panel’s work.
Guided by Southern women’s rights organizations, Oxfam commits to influence macro-economic policy, tackle adverse social norms; address care and support rural women’s enterprises.
We’re scaling up our WE-Care program that gathers powerful data on women’s and girls’ unpaid care work and puts it to purpose with women to change policies.
We’re growing our Saving for Change program over 700,000 women gain access to credit, savings, business training and mobile banking.
We’re launching initiatives to convene women’s organizations with multinational, local businesses and government at the local level to redress norms in value chains.
Our innovative partnerships with companies like Unilever will shift norms across their workplaces and supply chains, their advertising and their advocacy, so women thrive.
The legacy of our Panel must lead us to break free from this neoliberal economy serving the super-rich – mainly rich men – at the expense of the rest of us. 8 men now own as much wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion people – most of whom are women.
In response, Oxfam is focusing on building a more human economy: Where women’s work is decent and fairly-paid by definition. Where our governments value and invest in the unpaid and paid work women do that our economies depend upon. Where we increase women’s decision making power.
Our new Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index ranks over 150 countries on how they’re reducing both gender and economic inequality – we want to create a positive race to the top!
Dear country champions taking this agenda forward: Be concrete. Be ambitious!
Oxfam will work with you, relentlessly: to leave behind the patriarchal economic model of yesterday.
Let’s welcome the feminist, human economy of tomorrow: for women and for everyone. Thank you.