U.S. Statement on the Impact of Women Leaders in the Fight Against COVID-19

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
Acting Deputy Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
June 5, 2020

AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Sarah. It is good to see you. I also want to thank Ambassador Al Thani and the Government of Qatar along with Nigeria, Lebanon, Sweden, Italy, Costa Rica, and so many others for convening such an inspiring conversation, but an equally compelling call to action to address the many challenges facing women and girls especially now with COVID-19, a pandemic about which the international community still has much to learn.

We have seen COVID-19 quickly unleashed interconnected health, social, and economic consequences that affect all member states. As the world prepares for the associated second- and third-order effects of the disease, women around the world are serving on the frontlines of this crisis. In the United States today, one in three American women hold a job deemed essential. These women are everyday heroes whose dedication and bravery inspires us all. Now, facing a future with more uncertainties, the United States believes more than ever that women must have equal opportunities to contribute to rebuilding our global economy.

Building on U.S. reforms geared towards economic growth and our history of transparent, values-based, and private sector-led development, the United States will continue our work under the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP) to support women as drivers of the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. The W-GDP initiative is helping women to collaborate and form public-private partnerships on a global level.

Women’s equality and economic empowerment rely on an enabling environment that reduces the barriers that impede women’s participation in the economy. Only through addressing restrictive legal and regulatory barriers will we be able to bring more women into the economy and allow them to chart their own course.

According to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the annual global Gross Domestic Product could increase by as much as $7.7 trillion if countries address five foundational areas of legal reform impacting women: women’s ability to access institutions; build credit; own and manage property; travel freely; and work in the same jobs and sectors as men.

Removing legal and regulatory barriers to women’s full, free, and meaningful participation in the economy is the best way forward and also smart economic and social policy. These are foundational freedoms that we can, and must, address together now to increase peace and prosperity in a post-COVID world.

Thank you for your attention.

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