Remarks at the UNGA 77 Third Committee General Discussion on the Advancement of Women

Ambassador Lisa Carty
U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council
New York, New York
October 6, 2022


Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I feel privileged to speak today on such an important topic at such a critical time. We are in a very different situation than when we gathered for this committee just one year ago. As the world continues to rebound from the effects of COVID-19 and weather the challenges posed by climate change, Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated food, energy and humanitarian crises across the globe.

And, unfortunately, consistent with most global challenges we face, the social and economic fallout from these crises have impacted women and girls, particularly those facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, most acutely. The statistics gathered by UN agencies speak for themselves: Globally, women lost an estimated $800 billion in income in 2020 due to the pandemic; since the pandemic’s start, 7 in 10 women said they think verbal or physical abuse by a partner has become more common; and more than 11 million girls are at risk of not returning to school, threatening decades of progress toward girls’ education and gender equality

Around the world, people look to their governments and international institutions to find solutions to these unacceptable realities. There has never been a moment when the UN and the work that we do in this body has mattered more.

When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the Biden-Harris Administration recognized this decision on a long held constitutional right would prompt concerns about our global commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

Let me be clear: this decision does not change the United States commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in all their diversity, this includes ensuring all persons have control over their bodies and their futures. In fact, we will be prioritizing impactful language in resolutions across this committee to enhance all women and girls’ access to sexual and reproductive health services and reproductive rights (SRHR), including language on comprehensive sexuality education (CSE).

The United States is also committed to combatting sexual and gender-based violence online and offline. Together with several other founding countries, we launched The Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse at the Commission on the Status of Women this year. To this end, we look forward to pushing for strong language on eliminating sexual and gender-based violence online in texts in this committee.

We find ourselves in a difficult position this year as we have seen increased resistance on long-standing agreed language on gender equality, SRHR and Comprehensive Sexuality Education. My delegation is committed to pushing back against this trend. Last month, we celebrated an historic moment for the General Assembly, marking the first-time survivors of sexual violence were recognized in a stand-alone consensus resolution, a resolution which was a reflection of the global commitment to this issue. The United States was also proud to secure a strong resolution on gender equality in the context of elections, including the first ever consensual reference to sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in this committee last year.

As we approach significant milestones on gender equality, including the anniversaries of Beijing and the ICPD, we must ensure we are setting the stage to empower women and girls around the globe. Women and girls in all their diversity must be meaningfully included in all stages of decision-making — whether in rebuilding after conflicts, combatting the impacts of climate change, or creating a resilient and impactful pandemic preparedness architecture.

Achieving and protecting gains for women and girls requires vigilance and perseverance. We call on this committee to adopt resolutions by consensus with strong language on human rights and gender equality, including progressive language on the aforementioned issues.

Collectively, it is our responsibility to ensure women and girls everywhere can look to a tomorrow where their rights are protected and their potential is fully realized.