ABU DHABI, 4 November 2019 - At a side-event sponsored by Finland at the eighteenth session of its General Conference, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) launched its new Strategy for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, 2020-2023 to ensure that present and future industrial development pathways meet the needs of women and girls as well as of men and boys, thereby enabling them to fully participate as innovators, leaders and economic actors.
“Digitalization may create conditions that facilitate telecommuting and flexible working arrangements, which could lead to better work-life balances for all”, said UNIDO Director General LI Yong. “It could also reduce the burden of unpaid domestic care work, largely carried by women. Whether women in general gain from the Fourth Industrial Revolution will largely depend on whether countries implement effective policies to upgrade their skills, participate and lead”.
Director General LI Yong also presented UNIDO’s new Gender Strategy for 2020-2023, which includes two objectives to enhance the delivery of results on gender equality and the empowerment of women: to strengthen UNIDO’s strategic planning and programmatic activities and to strengthen UNIDO’s institutional capacity and effectiveness. On the programmatic side, the Strategy commits UNIDO to mainstreaming gender in all of its projects and programmes and developing interventions that challenge the discrimination faced by women and girls. Organizationally, the Strategy focuses on promoting gender-responsive leadership, coherence, financing and oversight as well as increasing the representation of women among UNIDO’s personnel.
The Permanent Representative of Finland to UNIDO, H.E. Ms. Pirkko Mirjami Hämäläinen, underscored that “[t}he rights and status of women and girls, and gender equality, is our top priority in development policy”. Finland has been and continues to be a strong supporter of UNIDO’s work on gender equality and the empowerment of women, funding the Organization’s Gender Office and its activities, as well as providing substantive contributions to the negotiations and formulation of gender resolutions at the present and at previous sessions of the General Conference. “We will be following the implementation of the Strategy with keen interest”, Ambassador Hämälainen added.
“Even in the first Strategy, which was experimental at that stage, UNIDO had the boldness to lay out targets and not only state them, but then meet them. I’m sure that the same will occur in the future, for the second generation of the Strategy. It is really an exemplary strategy given the time and age at which we are” said Aparna Mehrotra, Director, Division for UN System Coordination for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women at UN Women. “51% of the people of most countries are women. As long as that potential is suppressed, you will not reach the economic goals that, generally, men have laid out.”
The launch of the Strategy was followed by an interactive panel discussion, deliberating on the future of inclusive industry and industrial policy measures to actively impact the course to attain gender equality. H.E. Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, Minister of Industries of Bangladesh, Ismail Abdulla, CEO of Strata Manufacturing, Ivana Fernández Stohanzlova, General Director of International Outreach and Gender at the Productive Development Unit of the Ministry of Economy of Mexico, Fuad Siddiqui, Executive Partner and VP Bell Labs Consulting at Nokia and Evgenia Tyurikova, Head of Sberbank Private Banking considered how the future of inclusive industry will largely depend on how the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) addresses current gender inequalities.
The discussion concluded that, to harness and benefit from the full potential of future industrial practices to promote gender equality, targeted gender-responsive actions, active policy-making and investments are essential. Furthermore, multilateral institutions such as UNIDO and development programmes should shape, operationalize and define an inclusive industrial future by, inter alia, focusing on STEM education for women and girls, redressing the gender digital divide, and promoting technology-driven, innovative solutions to systemic barriers.
Please find UNIDO's Strategy for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, 2020-2023 here.
For more information on UNIDO’s work on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, please contact:
UNIDO Gender Equality & Empowerment of Women Office
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Senior Research & Industrial Policy Officer
UNIDO Research & Industrial Policy Advice Division