On March 13, on the sidelines of the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, the United States Government, together with the governments of Canada, Colombia and the United Kingdom, hosted a high-level meeting at the US Mission to the United Nations to discuss shared priorities to promote women’s political participation and leadership, including by combating emerging threats such as technology-enabled gender-based violence. Participants included senior leaders from government, civil society, philanthropy, multilateral organizations and the private sector.

This high-level meeting focused on ways to work together to address the persistent underrepresentation of women at all levels of public life, politics and government, including peace and security decision-making processes. Civil society leaders, researchers and experts emphasized that long-standing barriers to women’s political participation and leadership – including lack of access to political networks and resources and gender-based violence both online and offline – continue to hinder their inclusion and advancement in democratic processes. Several participants noted that threats to women leaders have increased with the increasing adoption of digital technologies and are likely to continue to increase with new and emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence. Participants emphasized the urgency of removing these systemic barriers to ensure a level playing field for elections scheduled to take place around the world this year.

To address these issues, senior leaders in the Biden-Harris administration invited partners to join a new multistakeholder initiative to advance women’s political participation and leadership in the digital age. This initiative, which the United States plans to launch on the sidelines of the 75th NATO Summit, will bring together governments, philanthropy, civil society, the private sector and multilateral organizations to develop commitments focused on closing the gender gap in leadership, including through Programs that address threats to women leaders online and offline. It will build on shared commitments and priorities, including the U.S. Strategy and National Action Plan for Women, Peace and SecurityThe US President’s initiative for democratic renewalthe Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abusethe summit for democracy Gender cohortand that Network for gender-equal democracy.

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