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Gender equality and empowerment of women in the implementation of the MDGs Regional Perspectives Bader Omar AlDafa Under-Secretary-General, Executive Secretary.

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Presentation on theme: "Gender equality and empowerment of women in the implementation of the MDGs Regional Perspectives Bader Omar AlDafa Under-Secretary-General, Executive Secretary."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender equality and empowerment of women in the implementation of the MDGs Regional Perspectives Bader Omar AlDafa Under-Secretary-General, Executive Secretary UNESCWA

2 ESCWAs diverse membership: Development Trends varied level of economic and technological development unequal progress towards MDGs, including health unequal impact of financial crisis on sub-regions Natural Resources large oil and gas reserves water scarcity and arid environment Human Resources high population growth increased educational attainment Slide 2

3 Only 22 per cent of women are employed – an increase of 4 per cent since the early 1990s – compared with 69 per cent of men (figure unchanged in the same period). The ratio of women in employment has increased in all subregions since the early 1990s, ranging from 17 per cent in the Arab Mashreq to 29 per cent in the LDCs. Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger Employment-to-population ratio, women and men (latest data, percentage) Slide 3

4 Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education Enrolment ratio in primary education (latest data, percentage) Gender disparity in enrolment at the regional level: 6 per cent more boys than girls enrolled in primary school. The gap in enrolment is particularly significant in the LDCs: male enrolment was 60 per cent, while female enrolment was just 48 per cent (in 2007). Most Arab countries have made progress in primary education survival rates and gains made in both enrolment and survival rates since 1990 have been translated into improved youth literacy rates. Slide 4

5 Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women Gender Parity Index in primary, secondary and tertiary enrolment The Arab region, in general, has made significant progress in reducing gender disparity and attaining gender equality in all three levels of education (primary, secondary and tertiary). The Arab LDCs still fall short of achieving gender equality in education with the largest gender gaps being in Yemen (secondary and tertiary), Somalia (primary) and Mauritania (tertiary). Disparity between the sexes increases at higher levels of education (in the GCC, this difference is in favour of women). Slide 5

6 Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women Seats held by women in national parliaments (latest data, percentage) The target of 30 per cent female representation in national parliaments remains a distant objective. The highest proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments was seen in Iraq (26 per cent), followed by Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates (both at 23 per cent) and Mauritania (22 per cent). [NB: Due to recent elections the figure for Tunisia rose to 27.6 per cent in June 2010] The number of seats held by women in national parliaments declined by 55 per cent in Egypt and by 93 per cent in Yemen between the early 1990s and late 2000s. Slide 6

7 Goal 5: Improvement of Maternal Health Maternal mortality ratio per live births (2005) Maternal mortality at 285 deaths for every 100,000 live births remains unacceptably high in the Arab region. The risk of a woman dying from treatable or preventable complications of pregnancy and childbirth is a major concern in the Arab LDCs. Significant differences in maternal mortality rates between subregions: In 2005, the rate in the Arab LDCs was 594 deaths for every 100,000 live births, 27 times the rate in the GCC countries. Slide 7

8 Economic Participation Specific policy recommendations for the Arab region (examples) Governments to eliminate discriminative legislationgoverning social security, taxation, pension, in addition to laws that restrict women's freedom of movement. Governments to ensure the right of women to decent working conditions, including equal pay for equal work as well as encourage women to enter non-traditional careers and participate in labour institutions such as trade unions. Conclusions & Recommendations General need to mainstreaming gender into all MDGs by developing legislation and implementing laws on equal rights and equal opportunities in all areas (i.e. designing national action plans), integrating gender perspective in national policies and enabling national gender machinery to improve their capacity (i.e. trainings) to contribute to policy-making, and dedicating resources to support achievement of gender equality and empowerment of women (i.e. introduction of gender-based budgeting). Achieving gender equality is not only morally right, but also catalytic to development as a whole. It creates political, economic, and social opportunities for women which benefit individuals, communities, countries and the world.

9 Education Conclusions & Recommendations (contd) Governments to enact legislation that raises the minimum age for marriage to improve retention rates for girls - particularly at the secondary level. Focus of resources and efforts not only to ensure enrolment and survival, but also on revising curricula to improve the overall quality of education and to eliminate all discriminatory images and stereotypes about women and girls in textbooks. Governments to provide a supportive infrastructure (i.e. transportation, telecommunications, electricity and water supply) helps to reduce domestic work load. In turn, this will facilitate the participation of women in the public sphere and increase the rate of female enrolment in schools. Political Participation Governments to introduce temporary measures such as the quota system to accelerate womens political representation in national parliaments and at the local/municipal level. Policies to include capacity-building, for example concerning womens leadership skills and practical skills such as campaigning. Slide 9

10 References Data source: ESCWA (2010): Charting the progress of the MDGs in the Arab Region - A Statistical Portrait Photo credit: UN Photo/Stephenie Hollyman Thank you!


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