A world first: Women at the helm of every UN Regional Commission

Although United Nations Regional Commissions have been in existence for more than 70 years, for the first time ever, each one is currently headed by a woman designated by Secretary-General António Guterres. This accomplishment underscores that, since the day he took office, the UN chief has been determined to achieve gender parity by 2030 as part of the Agenda for Sustainable Development.

UN News spoke to some of these women leaders, about the steps being taken to make Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5), on women’s empowerment, a reality.

Latin America and the Caribbean: Alicia Bárcena

Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary for the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, known as ECLAC, detailed some of the battles her region faces, such as slow economic growth, high debt, a deterioration in quality employment and increased poverty.

She sees these “long-term challenges” as threats to gender equality, such as “gender gaps in labor markets, the overload of women’s unpaid work, their limited access to credit and productive assets, and women lacking their own income”.

At the same time, incorporating technological change “raises new questions about its disruptive effects on societies and especially on gender equality”.

Ms. Bárcena pointed out that although their political participation across the region has risen steadily over the past few decades, women only hold 30 per cent of seats in the region’s parliaments, which is far below the parity-based target.

“There is an urgent need to remove the key barriers hindering women’s participation in order to generate the conditions for the full exercise of women’s citizenship and autonomy in decision-making”, she stated. “To do so, it is important to achieve parity in the distribution of power, resources and time”.

Proudly, she said that under her leadership, ECLAC has achieved gender balance among in senior management, adding “and I am now progressively pushing forward for achieving a similar balance at other levels”.

Europe: Oľga Algayerová

Oľga Algayerová, Executive Secretary for the Economic Commission for Europe, called UNECE, told UN News that by appointing women as UN Regional Commission heads, the Secretary-General is making “a clear call” to ensure that gender parity is “a reality in our regional organizations”.

“In the UNECE region, the political and economic landscape now looks far more balanced than it did some decades ago”, she asserted.

Ms. Algayerová explained that as a women leader, she is especially sensitive to women’s situations and needs. And as such, she can be more persistent in searching for gender-responsive solutions and broad-based decisions “in consultations with women’s groups” and others.

“I am often approached by women of different ages from civil societies, academia and governments, and I listen to their concerns”, she said.

“Gender equality and the empowerment of women has always been very dear to my heart”, she continued. “In all my previous positions which I have held both in my country, Slovakia, and abroad, I have been a strong advocate for gender equality”.

According to the ECE chief, meeting SDG5 means: ending all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls; valuing unpaid care and domestic work; and ensuring decent work for all.

“It is a gigantic task, requiring urgent action and pooling all resources to eliminate the root causes of gender inequalities”, she argued. To address this, Ms. Algayerová flagged the need to measure inequalities and provide data to identify what drives gender gaps and why imbalances persist in all spheres of life at country, regional and community levels.

“Only policies based on empirical evidences can be effective instruments to tackle the multifaceted forms of gender inequalities” she concluded.

Armida Alisjahbana: Asia and the Pacific

For her part, Armida Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, or ESCAP, told UN News that while “significant progress” has been made in her region, economic and social inequalities persist.

“Growing disparities in income and wealth disproportionately affect women, especially those in vulnerable situations”, she said, pointing out that “for every 10 men who are in employment, there are only six women working”.

What’s more, she lamented, “women are overrepresented in low-paying jobs, with little social protection provisions” and “have less access than men to financial services and productive assets, including land, capital, and information technologies”.

On the political front, Ms. Alisjahbana said that women’s representation in Asia and the Pacific continues to be low in comparison with other regions of the world.

“As of 2018, the proportion of seats held by women in the national parliaments is 18 per cent, while the global average is 24 per cent”, she stated.

“Addressing such gaps is not only a matter of attaining fundamental rights for women, but also critical to the inclusive economic growth and sustainable development of the region as a whole” Ms. Alisjahbana stressed.

Western Asia: Rola Dashti

Rola Dashti, Executive Secretary of Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia(ESCWA), shared with UN Newsher view that leadership is “not a privilege” but a “responsibility with accountability”.

Woman or man, an “all-weather leader” must work “in a responsible, efficient and effective manner to achieve the desirable goals”, she believes.

Ms. Dashti expressed pride in that she could be “a good example” of women’s ability to “carry out substantive tasks and achieve the mission assigned”.

Against the backdrop of an Arab region embroiled in conflicts, war, displacement and grave economic and environment crises, the ESCWA chief said this situation aggravates the already “complicated task” of meeting SDG5.

She painted a picture of the existing problems facing women, “such as domestic and sexual violence; unemployment; and discrimination in public office” and recommended, “within the few years remaining until 2030”, as “the best course of action”, to “identify common priority areas” across Arab countries to help implement responses at the regional level that would “benefit all”.

She assured that ESCWA places women’s issues “at the forefront of its work” and underlined that “despite gender stereotypes and cultural barriers”, the aspirations of women and girls “are attainable” with “self-recognition, confidence and perseverance”.

“To every woman and girl, she concluded by saying: “Your horizon is your dream!”

Although UN News was unable to arrange an interview with Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), prior to publication, it is clear that she too is committed to the Secretary-General’s 2030 Agenda and working tirelessly in support of gender equality on the continent.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

EU Youth Conference in Amsterdam: enabling young people to engage in a diverse, connected and inclusive Europe

China is a renewable energy champion. But it’s time for a new approach

The four top Americans who flew to Europe perplexed things about Trump’s intentions

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Guterres in Kenya, Prisoners sick in Iran, #GlobalGoals, Myanmar, Ukraine updates, and new space partnership

Iraqis paying an ‘unthinkable price’ to be heard, UN envoy tells politicians in Baghdad

From Russia with love: Brussels and Moscow close to an agreement on Ukraine’s gas supplies

Migration: Better travel safe than sorry

Myanmar military target civilians in deadly helicopter attack, UN rights office issues war crimes warning

European Youth Forum welcomes the European Commission’s proposed revision of the Union Code on Visas, however it does not go far enough

Innovation can transform the way we solve the world’s water challenges

Effective multilateralism the antidote to today’s ‘divisions’, Holy See tells UN Assembly

How building renovations can speed up the electric vehicle revolution

Online shopping across the EU to be easier from 3 December

Key economic forum in Russia: New technology a ‘vector of hope’ but also ‘a source of fear’ says Guterres

Canada has the most comprehensive and elaborate migration system, but some challenges remain

Nuclear non-proliferation treaty an ‘essential pillar’ of international peace, says UN chief

Food safety: more transparency, better risk prevention

Number of members in Parliament’s committees to change after Brexit

Worldwide UN family celebrates enduring universal values of human rights

UN chief hopeful for Libya, after Quartet meeting in Tunis

‘Dangerous nationalism’ seriously threatens efforts to tackle statelessness: UNHCR chief

Why do medical students need to go abroad to become a doctor in 2017?

State aid: France to recover €8.5 million of illegal aid to Ryanair at Montpellier airport

A Sting Exclusive: “Europe needs decisive progress for stronger cybersecurity”, EU Commissioner Gabriel highlights from Brussels

Facility for Refugees in Turkey: €127 million to boost EU’s largest ever humanitarian programme

Employment: Commission proposes €1.6 million from Globalisation Adjustment Fund to help 400 workers made redundant in Carrefour Belgique

Tiny Iceland teaches the West how to treat bankers

Yanis Varoufakis: “Unsustainable debt turns the creditor into Leviathan; Life under it is becoming nasty, brutish and short”

Following the World Cup? Then you’re watching high-performing migrants at work

EU cross-border payments outside Eurozone: MEPs scrap excessive fees

UN urges protection of indigenous peoples’ rights during migration

This incredibly detailed map of Africa could help aid and development

The movement of anti-vaccers: taking humanity back 200 years

The city of Quito just made commuting quicker and safer

Mind control using sound waves? We ask a scientist how it works

Tech companies are changing, for the better

MARKUP initiative to boost market access to Europe for East African SMEs

Tourism offers much to the EU gets a little

Why India can show us how to achieve growth with purpose

Gender equality in STEM is possible. These countries prove it

3 ways to use digital identity systems in global supply chains

Chinese economy to raise speed and help the world grow

How India is harnessing technology to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution

After swallowing effortlessly the right to be forgotten time for Google Ads now to behave

EU Youth Conference in Riga concludes with recommendations for ministers

Ozone on track to heal completely in our lifetime, UN environment agency declares on World Day.

With half of Somaliland children not in school, UNICEF and partners launch education access programme

Security Council calls for dialogue in Haiti

Spain will soon overtake Japan in life expectancy rankings. Here’s why

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Press Freedom Day, Tuna Day, cultural dialogue, #GlobalGoals awards, updates on Syria, Somalia, Mali

The Irish Presidency bullies the Parliament over EU budget

Multilateralism must weather ‘challenges of today and tomorrow’ Guterres tells Paris Peace Forum

Friday’s Daily Brief: human rights in Sudan, sombre anniversaries for Rwanda and Nigeria, and fears of ‘chaos’ in Libya

European Youth Forum demands immediate action & binding agreement on climate change

Economic sentiment and business climate stagnate in miserable euro area

Climate change recognized as ‘threat multiplier’, UN Security Council debates its impact on peace

Easier Schengen Visas for non-EU holiday makers: A crucial issue for south Eurozone countries

Here’s how to rebut the climate doom-mongers

Backed by UN, Asia-Pacific countries to advance space technology for ‘development transformation’

Rural women a ‘powerful force’ for global climate action: UN Secretary-General

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s