Following the establishment of the Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Action Group (CWAMAG) in May 2021, Ministers reconvened virtually on 26 April 2022 to continue their efforts to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on gender inequality in the Commonwealth.
The meeting was chaired by The Hon (Prof) Margaret Kobia, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender and the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, The Rt. Hon Patricia Scotland QC.
Both the Secretary-General and the Chair spoke about the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of women and girls. 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.
They highlighted two themes of particular concern – the increased levels of violence and the disproportionate burden of the economic downturn borne by women and girls.
Ministers and Heads of Delegation participating at the CWAMAG echoed these themes in their interventions, highlighting a wide range of initiatives that are being rolled out across the Commonwealth to support gender equality and women and girls during the last two years.
These included cash transfers, childcare subsidies, resource provision, job support schemes and training for strengthened economic empowerment. To address gender-based violence countries are refocusing their national strategies and committing resources.
Also discussed was the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), including the format of the Women’s Forum which will be held on the margins of CHOGM.
The 13th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting (13 WAMM) will take place in early 2023.
The Chair and the Secretary-General expressed their gratitude to honourable Ministers and Delegations for setting aside time to meet and for their commitment to continue working collaboratively in the coming months and years to address the deep-rooted social and economic gender inequalities that have been laid bare by the COVID-19 crisis.
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- Jennifer Woodside Head of Media Relations Media and Public Affairs, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
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