Arabic: العربية

A high-level meeting kicks-off a new joint ILO/UN Women programme which will address structural causes of inequalities women face in accessing decent work in the three countries.

                                                                                 ©ILO

CAIRO (ILO News) – A new joint programme by the ILO and UN Women will help women in Egypt, Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian Territory improve their work and economic prospects.

The programme, which will run through to 2022, will support women to benefit from opportunities for better jobs, security at the workplace, equal access to professional development, social protection for families and better prospects for personal development and integration in society.

The joint programme, titled “Promoting Productive Employment and Decent Work for Women in Egypt, Jordan and Palestine,” is funded by and implemented in collaboration with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

Programme partners gathered for the initiative’s first steering committee meeting on 03 October 2019 in Cairo, Egypt to validate the programme’s proposed approach and mark the start of programme implementation.

Hosted by President of the National Council for Women in Egypt Maya Morsy in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Manpower, the meeting brought together high-level representatives of national institutions of the partner countries, employers’ and workers’ organizations, civil society organizations, UN Women and the ILO.

Keynote addresses highlighted the importance of inclusive, gender-responsive socio-economic development for women in the three countries. ILO and UN Women presented the key findings of the programme’s inception phase, and validated the programme’s approach which tailors its services to each of the three partner countries.

In her welcoming remarks, Maya Morsy stressed the importance of awareness-raising as a key tool to promote equal opportunities for women and addressing the behaviors and customs that negatively affect women’s ability to play an active role in society. She also stressed the importance of close cooperation and coordination with all stakeholders in each implementing country.

Moez Doraid, Regional Director a.i of UN Women Arab States, said: “Under the leadership of national institutions and together with the International Labour Organization and other partners, we commit through this programme and others, to deliver on the promise of the first gender equal generation in history – a generation with women and men equally contributing, and benefitting from, development and prosperity.”

The joint four-year programme of UN Women and ILO adopts an integrated approach to addressing structural causes of inequalities that women face in accessing decent work in the targeted countries. Together with national institutions, the programme will address discriminatory laws and foster the development of gender-responsive policies. It will engage with the private sector to promote equal and decent employment opportunities and will work closely with civil society organizations to challenge gender stereotypes at home and in the world of work.

“The programme sees the ILO and UN Women joining forces to ensure that decent work principles underpin a framework for women’s economic empowerment,” said ILO Deputy Regional Director for Arab States Frank Hagemann. “ILO Labour Conventions represent not only commitment to gender equality in the world of work, but also provide practical benchmarks and guidance on how to achieve them, be it in the areas of legal protection, fair pay, parental leave, safety and health, childcare, or protection against violence and harassment at work,” Hagemann said.

The programme is expected to contribute to enacting at least 12 reforms to the regulatory or legal frameworks in the three countries which respond to and promote gender equality. It will support governments, employers, workers, civil society organizations, the media and academia to increasingly promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. It will also aim to achieve a 2-5 percentage-point increase in the number of women engaged in management positions in the public and private sectors.

Moreover, the programme expects at least a 10 percentage-point positive change in gender parity in staffing in the private sector. At least 87 new companies are expected to commit to implement gender equality policies in the Middle East and North Africa region through the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) – a platform to mobilize business action to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment at the workplace, marketplace and communities. The Programme will also foster positive changes in men’s and women’s perceptions on the importance of women’s work and on equal sharing of unpaid care work.

“Sweden’s investment in this programme comes from our strong commitments to achieve gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights, and drives from our Swedish Foreign Policy to Strengthen the economic empowerment of women and girls and their influence through the promotion of non-discriminatory legislation,” said Peter Lundberg, Head of Regional Development Cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa at the Swedish Embassy in Amman.

The joint programme contributes to Sweden’s new Strategy for development cooperation for global gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights 2018-2022. It is fully aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 8 on gender equality and decent work and economic growth. It contributes to the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discriminations Against Women and international labour standards. It also contributes to national development strategies and plans, including the Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030, and Jordan 2025 – A National Vision and Strategy, as well as the Palestinian National Policy Agenda 2017-2022.