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Women at the heart of solutions for a sustainable and inclusive post-pandemic world


Jean Lebel

President, IDRC

Gender equality is fundamental to overcoming two of the greatest challenges of our time — climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.  

International Women’s Day on March 8 represents an opportunity to celebrate progress and to further the global effort for a more gender equal world, especially as we enter the third year of the pandemic. 

IDRC is investing in knowledge to better understand the complex dynamic between gender equality, COVID-19 and climate change, recognizing the need for women to be positioned at the centre of solutions that are innovative, sustainable and inclusive. We are inspired by the achievements of women worldwide, and we are resolute in our commitment to examine how research can help overcome the significant longstanding and emerging challenges women continue to face.  

We invite you to spend part of your International Women’s Day with IDRC by viewing a recorded discussion: “Women informal workers: What needs to change?”. It features three leading experts who joined me to share what they are learning about the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on women informal workers and care responsibilities for women, as well as recommendations for policy changes to support a strong, equitable and sustainable recovery.  

Research is generating sustainable solutions for a post-pandemic world that supports gender equality 

Two initiatives launching on International Women’s Day demonstrate how IDRC programming supports women at the heart of solutions for a sustainable and inclusive post-pandemic world.  

First is Women RISE, a new funding opportunity from IDRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, that will inform immediate and medium-term solutions for a post-COVID-19 recovery that promotes gender equality and health equity. 

Second is the release of a summary report entitled “Why COVID-19 recovery must be gender-responsive”. It highlights key learnings from the COVID-19 Responses for Equity initiative, focusing on the impact the pandemic is having across different vulnerable groups and how gender intersects, and often exacerbates, these effects. The report highlights research into why the COVID-19 crisis has affected women and gender minority communities hardest. The findings provide solid evidence about impacts and solutions for a way forward. 

IDRC’s programming is guided by Strategy 2030 and its commitment to strengthen how research responds to and meets the needs of women, girls and other marginalized groups. Amidst many challenges, research is generating the evidence needed to build a better future for women and girls. 

For example, young women are playing a leadership role in climate action. IDRC-supported consultations led by youth organizations based in Canada and Ghana identified concrete methods that could improve formal institutional mechanisms to boost youth presence in the policy process. Research on women’s access to economic opportunities through low-carbon innovations is generating the knowledge needed to make responses and recovery efforts more inclusive and sustainable. 

International Women’s Day is an important moment in a long-term and sustained push for gender equality. Later this month, IDRC will be actively participating in the upcoming United Nations Commission on the Status of Women session taking place March 14-25. Stay tuned to IDRC’s website, as well as our FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn accounts. 

Jean Lebel 
President, IDRC