International Women’s Day 2021: Mediterranean experts to discuss how to promote gender equality in leadership across the region
- The UfM hosted a virtual conference on the 5th of March to analyse gendered barriers to leadership, present the EU’s Gender Action Plan in External Action 2021-2025 and showcase UfM-supported projects and initiatives in the region.
- Data gathering on gender equality in leadership in the Euro-Mediterranean region remains a challenge. This year, the first exercise of the UfM’s Intergovernmental Monitoring Mechanism on Gender Equality will be launched to bridge this gap.
- Achieving gender equality for the current generation of working-age women in MENA could add as much as USD 3.1 trillion to regional wealth, according to the World Bank.
Barcelona, 2 March 2021. The pandemic is taking a great toll on our society, our lives and our economy. Evidence shows that the impacts of crises are never gender neutral, and COVID-19 is no exception. The UN estimates that women in the Arab World will lose approximately 700,000 jobs as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Young women face a double challenge, as the economic slowdown resulting from the crisis will further exacerbate youth’s vulnerability in the labour market.
Women’s involvement in the business sector is significantly lower than that of their male counterparts in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Some of the main challenges identified are insufficient business management knowledge, the need for additional training and re-training, especially for business and management practices, and the lack of equity as well as unfavourable conditions for applying for and obtaining bank loans and credit.
The UfM promotes gender equality in leadership following the Member States unanimous endorsement of 20 gender indicators, including 3 on women’s access to leadership and decision making. The monitoring exercise began this year and will allow to measure and report the progress made on women’s rights as well as to provide policy recommendations to close the gender gap in the region.
WEBINAR: Women in Leadership, towards an equal region in a COVID-19 world
5 March 2021 at 11 CET
This webinar brought together a variety of experts and female leaders from across sectors, who analysed the gendered barriers to leadership. Speakers also shared best practices on how to foster women and girls’ leadership across the region.
The event saw the presentation by the European Commission of the recently published Gender Action Plan III 2021-2025 and shared insights on how it will empower women and girls to participate and lead equally in social, economic and political life and have a say in decisions involving them, including on the environment or digital transformation.
The UfM-supported project CEED GROW: Growing and Scaling Small and Medium-Sized Businesses, implemented in Morocco and Tunisia, shared field experiences to help women overcome the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and enable them to relaunch the growth of their businesses.
International reports show that when women are represented and engaged in leadership bodies, their outcomes are more likely to be inclusive. Deaths of COVID-19 were 6 times lower in countries where female leaders took early action, countries with a greater proportion of women as top decision-makers in legislatures have lower levels of income inequality and when women hold more executive leadership positions, companies are more profitable.
Since 1995, four Ministerial meetings on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society have taken place in the Euro-Mediterranean region (see latest ministerial declaration), where strong commitments towards achieving gender equality were endorsed by UfM countries. Important legal reforms and supportive policy actions for gender equality and women’s participation have been undertaken in the region since then.