There is no corner of the world in which girls’ and women’s rights and opportunities are equal to those of boys and men. This trend is reflected across all decision-making bodies around the world: Women make up more than half the global adult population but occupy barely a quarter of seats in national parliaments.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on women’s lives: Many have had to leave the workforce to take care of their families, others have been forced to quarantine with abusive partners, and some have had to serve in disproportionate numbers on the front lines as health care workers. At the same time, the pandemic has offered a glimpse into the great progress that the world is making and can make under women’s leadership, and when girls and women are equal everywhere.

“Countries led by women had systematically and significantly better COVID-19 outcomes, with half as many deaths on average as those led by men,” said UN Foundation President and CEO Elizabeth Cousens.

From New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern to Bangladesh’s Sheikh Hasina, women have tackled the crisis head-on and showed the rest of the world what brave, decisive, humane leadership looks like. They’re proving that if the world wants a resilient, inclusive recovery from COVID-19, we need more women to be front and center in decision-making and policy processes.

Inspired by this post? Hear from more gender equality champions and changemakers by watching #EqualEverywhere:Champions for Change.

Photo: UN Photo