UN Women is a UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. The main roles of UN Women are:
- To support inter-governmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms.
- To help Member States to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, and to forge effective partnerships with civil society.
- To lead and coordinate the UN system’s work on gender equality as well as promote accountability, including through regular monitoring of system-wide progress.
For many years, the UN has faced serious challenges in its efforts to promote gender equality globally, including inadequate funding and no single recognized driver to direct UN activities on gender equality issues. UN Women was created to address such challenges. Grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the UN Charter, UN Women, among other issues, works for the:
- elimination of discrimination against women and girls;
- empowerment of women; and
- achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.
Topic 1: “RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EDUCATION AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT – ERADICATING THE GENDER GAP”
Gender inequality and women empowerment are pertinent issues throughout the world, and have become increasingly relevant in the last few years. With rising globalization, comes greater need for women participation in all areas of development, however, this participation is restricted in most regions due to lack of equitable education and equal opportunities among other hurdles. Education is recognized as one of the basic human rights. It empowers individuals to increase their well-being and contributes to broader social and economic gains. It is the core ingredient for the eradication of the gender gap, and can help elevate women to the status that they deserve.
One of UN Women’s main goal is to promote education — a core prerequisite for gender equality and women’s rights – through the revision of school curriculum and training for teachers, students and parents. It is important to recognize that greater female education has a very important role to play in not just ending the gender gap, but also in achieving over all development and progress. Despite several campaigns and projects, levels of education, health care access, political leadership, freedom of movement and sexual or social security are particularly low in the developing world for women. Women in low income economies have restrictive access to higher education and highly paid jobs.
Setting broad goals and promoting education for all is just not enough anymore. It has become essential to target women, their social class, and the region they live in to make gender equality truly possible. A few issues to counter are – unequal access to education for women, especially in developing countries, quality of education or gendered education, gender biases in education policies and uneven benefits of education. Therefore, it is imperative that educational institutions adopt responsive policies and plans, transform institutional environments, provide gender-sensitive services, and ensure gender-responsive budgeting in their curriculum and pedagogical approaches.
Topic 2: “LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND – RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WOMEN AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS”
“Women have a critical role to play in all of the SDGs, with many targets specifically recognizing women’s equality and empowerment as both the objective, and as part of the solution.”
On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) came into force. Built on the success of the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations set the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, for which the guiding points were the SDGs. Improvement in areas, such as climate change, poverty, health, and education, are targeted in all countries, while not leaving anyone behind. Despite efforts by international community, women have often been marginalized, if not excluded, from such plans, although being heavily impacted by poverty, insufficient healthcare, and economic crises.
The four main fields of concern are health, education, employment, and violence. Women require a slightly altered agenda, tailored specifically to their own needs and problems. Regarding health, maternal health and sexual and reproductive rights are increasingly gender specific issues, although crucial to advancement of women’s status both locally and globally. Education around the world tends to favor men, especially in developing countries, making women’s route to school, and later to a diploma, far more convoluted. However, both an educated and a safely employed female work force is necessary for a maximally productive economy. Lastly, eliminating all forms of violence against women (including trafficking, sexual exploitation, and domestic abuse) is a cornerstone of the fight for gender equality. So why is it that while we strive for improvement, accomplish goals, and improve statistics, the female portion of the population seems to continually lag behind the frontline of advancement?
Islamic Republic of Iran
Republic of Korea
United Arab Emirates
Antigua and Barbuda
Trinidad and Tobago
**Contributing Countries not Members of the OECD/DAC