This week's post was compiled by Delphi Cleaveland, Research Associate with the Women and Foreign Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Hareem Abdullah, Intern with the Women and Foreign Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations.
The United States Elects Its First Female Vice President
History was made in the United States this week, when Kamala Harris broke through the parochial glass-ceiling to become the country’s first-ever female vice-president-elect, as the first black American, and first American of South Asian descent to do so. This is not the first legacy Harris has left, having already made historyby being the first woman of color to serve as attorney general of California and district attorney of San Fransico. She greeted her audience on victory night dressed in a suffragette white suite paying centennial homage to the women who marched before her. Also breaking records were the one-hundred-forty-one women elected to U.S. Congress this year, breaking the previous record set in 2019. Harris’s election has been hailed lauded by global leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, while Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, the director of UN Women described her election as “a hugely uplifting moment” for women and girls around the world, “especially for women of color.”
An Economic Imperative
Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway said last week that gender equality is "essential for a sustainable recovery" from the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite overwhelming evidence of the detrimental impacts of COVID-19 on women’s economic participation – one in four women has considered leaving the workforce entirely while rates of poverty, unintended pregnancy, and violence have risen significantly- research supports their active participation in recovery. A recent study by the World Economic Forum, determined income gains reaped by the middle-class over the past 45 years are attributed almost entirely to women. Gender-based budgeting such as investment in childcare or gender-targeted relief funding for female-run businesses remains one of the sharpest policy tools available to revive our global economy.
Advancing Women in Post-Conflict Reconstruction
Women face persistent injustices in conflict and post-conflict contexts. The UAE and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) announced this week, the launch of a new Research Report and a UN Action Plan to advance women’s participation in post-conflict reconstruction, following a year-long series of high-level panel discussions on the subject. The joint report, commissioned by the Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations, and a UN Action Plan identify strategic points of entry and effective strategies to ensure women’s meaningful participation as decision-makers, implementers, and beneficiaries of post-conflict reconstruction. Recommendations included: bolstering women in economic recovery and community-driven development; the appointment of gender advisors truth commissions; and an overall increase of women in security sectors.