The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new visibility and profile to the essential roles that women play in our social, political, and economic systems, from frontline healthcare workers, trusted leaders, to household masterminds. It demonstrated also how many public and private systems depend on women performing multiple and often underpaid roles, and the fragility of that construction. It is time to act on that understanding and to commit to building back in ways that reflect its sharp lessons. This report demonstrates multiple ways, both before and during the pandemic, in which intentional investment in and by women brings stronger, more just, equal, and resilient societies. Women are often the first to respond in a crisis; UN Women immediately took a leading part in the COVID-19 response, flagging essential areas for action like domestic violence and pointing out the implications of the digital gender divide for response measures reliant on mobile technology. We joined UN entities and women’s organizations across the world to extend information and services that keep women safe, establishing critical, gender-disaggregated datasets, bringing global expertise, extensive networks, and a legacy of trust. I ask governments and all other service providers, including the private sector, to fully include a gender perspective in their response to the crisis and I appeal to funders to enhance support for women and women’s organizations. We must not rebuild the old world but make women and girls central to plans that bring a better future.