VIENNA, 10 July 2020 - The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has reaffirmed its commitment to gender parity by adopting a new policy to ensure the equal representation of women and men in events. The policy is modeled on the Parity Panel Pledge of the International Gender Champions initiative, of which the UNIDO Director General, LI Yong, is a member.
The policy applies to all events organized by or under the auspices of UNIDO, including side-events, forums, meetings, workshops and roundtable or panel discussions, be it in-person or online. The policy requests personnel to ensure events are as gender-diverse as possible, and that no gender is restricted to the moderator of facilitator role. Exceptions are permitted for events focusing on women’s empowerment, where all-female list of speakers are permitted. Personnel are reminded of the importance of engaging men in events on gender equality to ensure the discussions’ greatest impact and with a view to promoting the transformation of social norms.
The policy states that “equal participation of women and men, as both speakers and attendees, is of great importance, as it brings different perspectives and ideas to the field of inclusive and sustainable industrial development and therefore increases the value and impact of events. Enhanced participation by women also creates more opportunities for them to develop networks, helps promote female role models and leaders, and contributes to eliminating gender stereotypes.”
This initiative goes beyond merely filling gender quotas - it involves a fundamental shift in all elements of event planning and promotion. UNIDO will expand its contacts networks and, to assist event organizers, an internal database of women experts in a wide variety of aspects of industrial development is being compiled.
The policy stipulates that event coverage on the UNIDO website and on social media channels will always include gender-diverse visual media, and all-male events will not be promoted.
Kai Bethke, Director of External Relations, said, “UNIDO is committed to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the world, and this must begin within our own organization.”
Muge Dolun, UNIDO’s Gender Coordinator ad interim, added, “Helping member states achieve inclusive and sustainable industrial development is the UNIDO mandate so it is crucial that women’s views, women’s voices, and women’s demands are heard loud and clear at UNIDO’s meetings. We hope to be able to set a precedent and that other entities join us in in this effort towards achieving gender equality.”
The policy is in line with a number of international frameworks, including the UNIDO Abu Dhabi Declaration of 2019and UN Women’s Supplementary Guidance on the Enabling Environment Guidelines for the United Nations System (2019). It also aligned with the 2019 UNIDO General Conference Resolution “UNIDO, Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women” (GC.18/Res.2) as well as UNIDO’s 2019 Gender Policy and 2020-2023 Gender Strategy.
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