The growing global resistance against the rights and safety of women and girls was a cause for concern at a pre-event conference ahead of the G20’s third Development Working Group meeting in Goa. Nagaraj Naidu Kakanur, the Joint Secretary (G20) at the Union Ministry of External Affairs, highlighted the urgent need to address this issue.
Kakanur emphasized that achieving gender equality in another 286 years reflects a “collective failure” to tackle this critical matter, despite being in the year 2023. He stressed that gender equality and women’s empowerment are crucial for realizing the vision of “leave no one behind,”, particularly in the current challenging global context. He expressed deep concern over the increasing global resistance faced by women and girls in asserting their rights and the subsequent decline in their security and safety.
Kakanur underscored the significance of social and political empowerment as essential steps toward enhancing women’s “voice, choice, and agency.” He also stressed the importance of equipping young people with the knowledge and opportunities to engage with technology and science-based solutions that will play a critical role in their advancement.
Kakanur called for immediate action and investment in women and girls, emphasizing that the time to unlock their full potential is now. He advocated for a women-led development approach, which necessitates the full, equal, effective, and meaningful participation of women as decision-makers in effectively and inclusively addressing global challenges.
The senior official emphasized the vital role of all men and boys as key partners in advancing the agenda for gender equality and women’s empowerment. However, he cautioned that without a heightened commitment from the international community, gender equality would remain an elusive goal.
Kakanur highlighted the indispensable role of technology in promoting the health, education, voice, and empowerment of girls and women, thereby fulfilling the objectives of the girls’ education and women’s empowerment agenda in the 21st century.
The third Development Working Group meeting of the G20 is scheduled to take place in Goa on Tuesday, culminating on Thursday.