27 May 2021. The second meeting of the Regional Dialogue on Women Empowerment Working Group took place yesterday, co-chaired by Tunisia and with the UfM Secretariat as facilitator. The Working Group assesses progress on data gathering for the first ever intergovernmental reporting exercise monitoring progress on gender equality and women empowerment, launched earlier this year.
The reporting exercise seeks to gather data on six of the 20 indicators agreed by UfM Member States, which cover four main areas of gender equality: leadership, economic empowerment, violence against women and girls, and gender stereotyping. The results of the exercise will be included in the second UfM Regional Progress Report on gender equality, providing statistical data, data analysis and policy recommendations for the 2022 UfM Ministerial Declaration.
The first Working Group meeting took place on 2 March 2021, where participants agreed that, despite the challenges of data gathering, now exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, there is a need to capitalize on the region’s good practices on women empowerment and foster regional cooperation.
Yesterday’s virtual meeting brought together 42 participants from country focal points, national statistical institutes, regional and international organisations, stakeholders and experts, civil society organisations and the UfM Secretariat. It assessed progress made in terms of data gathering, discussed challenges of the reporting exercise, presented the template for the Regional Progress Report and identified the required capacity building assistance on data gathering and analysis.
The Social and Civil Affairs Division of the UfM shared an analysis of the data received and highlighted the complexity of the process of drafting the progress report, featuring both quantitative and qualitative data, a comparative analysis of this data as well as policy recommendations.
As underlined by Marisa Farrugia, Deputy Secretary General of Social and Civil Affairs, “the UfM is fully aware that data compilation and gathering on gender equality might be challenging and for this reason the countries’ commitment remains crucial to effectively implement the Cairo Declaration”.
The countries’ representatives highlighted the need to further investigate the impact of Covid-19 pandemic in some specific areas such as the Gender Based violence and the economic empowerment of women.
The participants agreed on the need to complement the future policy recommendations with priority actions. Countries also welcomed the UfM Secretariat’s support in terms of capacity building actions on data collection, updating and analysis that will be delivered in the second part of 2021.
The high number of participants throughout this process demonstrates the strong regional commitment to gathering gender-disaggregated data to inform a resilient pandemic recovery and future action to achieve a gender-equal region. The next Working Group meeting is foreseen to take place in September.
UfM Member States agreed to establish a mechanism with indicators to monitor progress and provide policy recommendations to close the gender gap at the UfM Ministerial Declaration on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society, adopted in 2017 in Cairo.