Four questions to Venge Nyirongo, Thematic Lead, Economic Justice and Rights at UN Women HQ
1. How come you are in Stockholm?
I have spent the past few days in beautiful Stockholm to join Sweden in its presidency of the European Union and drive to shape the discourse and action on economic perspectives of gender-based violence (link and videos to the Conference can be found here). Representing the Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights, I have shared perspectives emerging out of the hundreds of commitment makers to the Action Coalition and UN Women on: (a) violence against women migrant workers, including care and domestic workers; (b) violence and harassment in the world of work; (c) intersections between violence against women and social protection; and (d) linkages between economic violence and other forms of violence against women and girls.
2. What is your role at UNW?
I lead UN Women’s work convening the Generation Equality’s Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights, a multi-stakeholder partnership that seeks to accelerate progress on women’s and girls’ rights by 2026 in the areas of the care economy, decent work and employment, women’s access to and control over productive resources, and gender-responsive and inclusive economies. Importantly, this work is aimed at tracking commitments that have been made by diverse stakeholder constituencies to the realization of women’s and girls’ economic justice and rights while holding them accountable.
3. How come you decided to work with girls’ and women’s rights and gender equality?
Working for UN Women was the first time I was going to work directly on economic issues in development. Ensuring that this work was going to affect the half of the worlds population that has been left behind became a calling for me to contribute to making a difference. Through my work on women’s and girls’ economic rights, I have come to appreciate the enormous contributions that women and girls make to our economic wellbeing, which remains invisible due to prejudices that are grounded in power between men and women. I am humbled and honored to be part of the story of how we will equalize these power structures.
4. What do you think is the most urgent issue in the fight for girls’ and women’s rights?
I think the most urgent issue to address for women’s and girls’ rights is the redress of current forms of social norms that dictate how women and girls are viewed in every aspect of life, including at home, in society and in the economy. I believe this will break down the hierarchies of power and enable the recognition and valorization of women’s and girls’ contributions/roles shaping a more prosperous and equal world and the health of our planet.