The UfM Platforms gather governmental institutions, international orgs, civil society and private sector experts to exchange on the ministerial mandates, better understand the needs, share experiences, identify best practices and promote concrete projects of cooperation.
UfM Regional Dialogue on Women Empowerment
Context and Objectives
In line with the UfM Ministerial meetings on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society (Cairo 2017 and Madrid 2022) as well as the Ministerial meetings on Employment and Labour (Marrakech 2022) and Environment and Climate Change (Cairo 2021) the UfM strives to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality, in terms of rights and opportunities, as an essential asset to foster regional stability and socio-economic development.
The UfM focuses on promoting regional dialogue in the field of women empowerment and gender equality.
In the framework of the 5th Ministerial Declaration on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society (Madrid 2022), the four priority areas set-up in the Cairo Declaration (2017) have been confirmed with a strong focus on strengthening the Women’s Economic and Political Empowerment and combatting violence against women and girls in the Euro-Mediterranean region. Moreover, in light of the various crises, including those relating to health, climate change, and more recently emerging needs (food, water and energy security), mainstreaming of gender equality in various actions and policies becomes even more of necessity. Within these priorities areas, and as contribution to the implementation of the Women Peace and Security agenda, countries and stakeholders agreed to in particular consider the specific needs of, for example, women and girls migrants, refugees, women in conflict and post-conflict context, as well as women in rural areas and women with disabilities.
The activities of the UfM and the outcomes of the UfM strategy on women’s empowerment aim to contribute to the implementation of SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, as well as of SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages; SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; SDG 10: Reduce inequalities and ensure that no one is left behind; and SDG 16 and 16.1: Peace justice and strong institutions and reduce all forms of violence. The UfM focuses on promoting regional dialogue as well as on concrete projects and initiatives in the field of women empowerment and gender equality through UfM Women Conferences, UfM Women Business Forum, Med Women in Tech Festivals and Network, and intergovernmental Monitoring Mechanism on Gender Equality.
In order to help overcome gender inequality within different sectors in the Euro-Mediterranean region, UfM has been pushing for a better policy framework. Since 1995, five UfM Ministerial meetings on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society took place in the Euro-Mediterranean region – in 2006 in Istanbul, 2009 in Marrakech, 2013 in Paris, 2017 in Cairo, 2022 in Madrid – where strong commitments towards achieving gender equality were endorsed by UfM Member States (MS). In October 2022 the 43 UfM MS adopted the 5th UfM Ministerial Declaration on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society in Madrid. The Ministers agreed to enhance legal frameworks, improve women’s access to leadership in public life and decision-making, raise women´s participation in economic life and combat and prevent violence against women and girls.
Ministers acknowledged that gender equality in the Euro-Mediterranean region has come a long way since 2015 when they established a regional dialogue process to strengthen the role of women in the UfM countries. However, Ministers also agreed that extra efforts are required to empower women in the region, especially in light of the various crises, including those related to health, climate change, and more recently emerging needs (food, water, and energy security).
The adoption of the Ministerial Declaration was followed by a High-level regional conference entitled “Women for the Mediterranean. The Conference, which is organised by the UfM every two years, offers the opportunity to share experiences, good practices, and lessons gained on women’s empowerment and rights. The discussions also helped shape the Roadmap to implement the countries’ mandates in the coming years.
In 2023 the UfM will focus on the implementation of the Road Map for Action 2023-2025 foreseen by the Ministerial Declaration on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society. Within this context, two online preparatory Working Groups meetings and a physical Regional dialogue meeting will be organized in order to draft the RoadMap and follow-up on the monitoring exercise launched in 2020.
UfM Women Business Forum
Based on 7 years’ experience of dialogue with women entrepreneurs, national women business organisations, international leading organisations and business support schemes from the Euro-Mediterranean region, the UfM Women Business Forum is a regional platform taking place every year that offers female entrepreneurs and women-led businesses a unique opportunity to grow their business to the next level by learning from successful and innovative business models, and by building business connections with diverse and high-level international business leaders, policy makers and experts from the world’s leading companies. It allows to share knowledge and ideas on various business opportunities, good practices, and innovative and successful business models. It includes high-level panels with international business and industry experts, and site visits to leading companies in the targeted sectors.
In these last editions, the UfM Women Business Forum has benefited from the successful cooperation with UNIDO, leading to the joint organization of the 2022 edition under the theme “Gender-Smart Financing to Unlock Women’s Entrepreneurial Potential in the MENA region” and this 2023 edition on “Women in Industry and Innovation”, which will take place in June 2023 in Tunisia.
Med Women in Tech Network
The Med Women in Tech Network Festival (MTWN) was co-organized by Womenpreneur Initiative with UfM, EBSOMED, and Cawtar on 30th November 2022 in Madrid. The event gathered about 120 participants as representatives of the region’s stakeholders such investors, researchers, entrepreneurs, and corporates. The MTWN Festival 2022 was a one-day event combining a range of activities to increase women’s participation and status in the technology sector. Panels and Q&As also provided an opportunity to discuss recent technology trends, regional opportunities, and investment in entrepreneurship. The event was followed by a dedicated brainstorming session involving 40 CEOs and female founders in tech sector on the structure and composition and workplan for 2023 and 2024 of the Med Women in Tech Network.
In 2023 the official launch of the Med Women in Tech Network will take place, to cooperate and advocate for women in technology. To do so, the regional network aims at attracting investments to the region, creating economic opportunities for women through networking and community support, advocating for women’s issues, promoting the success stories of women in technology, encouraging female entrepreneurship, and promoting crisis preparedness and resilience. The specific purpose is to build an integrated network of women that fosters economic growth and job creation and changes the perception of women in the region.
The MTWN Festival will again take place at the end of 2023 and the UfM will also provide supporting training activities with a specific focus on Women entrepreneurs in Technology and digitalization.
Intergovernmental Monitoring Mechanism on Gender Equality
The UfM launched the first-ever Intergovernmental Monitoring Mechanism on Gender Equality in one of the Senior Official Meetings of the UfM Member States in 2020. This ongoing reporting exercise allows measuring and reporting of the progress made on women’s rights and provide policy recommendations to close the gender gap in the region. The first exercise was conducted during the Covid pandemic and was published in March 2022 showing the impact this crisis had on women.
Member States agreed to establish a follow-up mechanism backed up with indicators to monitor progress, evaluate the gender gap and provide data for scientific-based policy recommendations to decision-makers, in order to monitor women’s quality of life and role in society. This supports the implementation of gender-related Sustainable Development Goals to ultimately tap into the full potential of women in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The lack of gender-specific data can hide a lot of inequalities: the progress report will allow monitoring of the progress achieved at country level in terms of gender equality, and at the same time the formulation of concrete recommendations to build gender-based policies at country and regional level.
After extensive consultation with Member States, a set of 20 indicators across 4 priority areas were agreed. 6 of these indicators were selected for the first initial assessment, based as much as possible on the availability of a minimum of data and statistics, generally through the existence of global databases: UN Women, World Bank, ILO Stats, EIGE Stats, OECD Gender Stats, Eurostats, MEDSTAT, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the global Database Doing Business, Global database on violence against women (UN Women) and national surveys and statistics.
Two online Ad Hoc Working Groups meetings and a physical Regional dialogue meeting will be organized in 2023 order to draft the RoadMap of the 5th UfM Ministerial Declaration on Women, as well as follow-up on the monitoring exercise launched in 2020.
Key partners and stakeholders
- Anna Lindh Foundation
- Association of Organisations of Mediterranean Businesswomen (AFAEMME)
- Centre International de Hautes Études Agronomiques Méditerranéennes (CIHEAM)
- Euro Mediterranean Arab Association (EMA)
- ENI CBC Med Programme
- European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
- European Investment Bank (EIB)
- European Training Foundation (ETF)
- Jordan National Committee of Women
- Instituto Mujeres
- Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID)
- UN WOMEN
- United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO)
- Womenpreneur Initiative
- World Bank