Cairo, Egypt 21 September 2015 Following the Arab Women Economic Empowerment Platform, the League of Arab States, the European Union, and the United Nations Entity on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) launched a regional network to support women in the Arab States in realizing their full economic potential. The new network is supported by the Spring Forward for Women programme, which is funded by the European Union.
The Arab Women Economic Empowerment Network “Khadija” will act as a channel to exchange knowledge and advocate gender-balanced approaches in the regional economy. The network comes within a broader vision to accelerate the participation of women in the regional workforce and improve economic performance.
The newly launched network includes 20 experts from Arab countries representing public, private and social sectors. Founding members represent the Council for Arab Business women, the Arab-African Businesswomen Union, Islamic Development Bank, Egypt - African Development Bank, COMESA Business Council, Sharjah Business Women Council, AWTAD Foundation, Orange, LOGIC Management Consulting and other regional experts in economy and gender-responsive budgeting.
Prior to launching the network, the two-day Arab Women Economic Empowerment Platform meeting took place at the headquarters of the League of Arab States in Cairo, Egypt on 16 and 17 September 2015, and brought together participants to discuss possible actions to ensure women have safer work places, fair access to resources and a share in economic policymaking.
The founding members chose the name “Khadija” for the network. Khadija bint Khuwaylid was prophet Mohamed’s first wife, who was a successful businesswoman and one of the greatest influencers in Islamic history since its dawn.
His Excellency Dr. Nabil Al-Araby the Secretary General of the League of Arab States emphasized during the platform opening session that, ”Women economic empowerment is vital in reducing violence and improving our nations’ economies. This network will help achieving our commitments illustrated in the Cairo Declaration regarding women empowerment. We much appreciate the European Union support to realize our goals through the Spring Forward for Women programme.”
Mr. Diego Escalona Paturel, Counsellor and the Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Egypt, said during the launching press conference, “Women economic empowerment is one of the European Union founding principles. This new initiative is an important step in our continuous cooperation with the League of Arab States and UN Women. Gender equality is a strategic priority for the European Union and its cooperation policy.”
Mr. Mohammad Naciri, Regional Director of UN Women Regional Office for Arab States emphasized, “The region has made significant investments in women’s education in the last decade. However, the return on investment is still under-utilized due to their limited economic participation. The bottom line is that empowerment accelerates development. Through this network, we are more capable of maximizing our region’s human resources and capturing opportunities for growth.”
About the Spring Forward for Women Programme
The Regional Programme for the Economic and Political Empowerment of Women in the Southern Mediterranean Region (“Spring Forward for Women”) provides a mechanism to advance the economic and political empowerment of women in the Southern Mediterranean region. The programme (2012-2016) supports women across the region, focusing on priority countries undergoing unrest, transition and reform, such as such as Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Palestine and Tunisia, to have greater influence in shaping the future of their countries while protecting their previous gains. It connects stakeholders to ensure that marginalised women in these countries receive capacity building, advocacy, information and partnerships that address the barriers that have impeded their access and engagement in economic and public lives. The programme is financed through a contribution of €7 million from the European Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument (ENPI) and of €1.2 million from the UN Women core budget.
For more information: http://spring-forward.unwomen.org/
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