JEDDAH (UNA-OIC) – The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) joins the International Community in observing March 08, International Women’s Day. H.E. Hissein Brahim Taha, the OIC’s Secretary-General, emphasized the attention the OIC pays to women’s issues and empowerment considering the difficulties and challenges they face to obtain their rights guaranteed by international systems based on the OIC’s conviction that enhancing the role of women in the comprehensive and sustainable development process requires taking concrete measures to ensure their effective participation at various levels and in leadership and decision-making roles.
On this global occasion, the international community needs to take cognizance of the chosen theme for this year, “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow.”
The Secretary-General sent a message of congratulations to women in the Islamic world and worldwide, for all their achievements in all fields, especially for their tremendous efforts in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic as doctors, nurses, and public health social care workers.
Hissein Taha paid a special tribute to the Palestinian woman, praising her efforts in standing up to the Israeli occupation forces and the continuous support she provides to her family and society to adhere to unity to confront the practices of oppression and violence pursued by the Israeli occupation forces.
The Secretary-General also saluted women in Afghanistan, emphasizing their right to education and job opportunities to achieve peace, stability, and comprehensive development in Afghanistan.
The Secretary-General pointed out that today, in light of the climate crisis and the challenges facing the world to reduce the risks of climate, environmental, health, and war disasters, which have the most significant impact on the most vulnerable groups in societies, including women who face poverty and depend on natural resources affected by climate in particular to support their families and children, or even working women forced to quit their jobs or educational opportunities to take care of their families during periods of disaster or quarantine to address Covid-19 and its successive variants, and because of that, exposed in the process to escalating levels of domestic violence, all of this pushes us all to stress the need to empower women and girls to amplify their voices and participate in decision-making related to climate change and to address all disasters.
In this context, the Secretary-General affirmed that the OIC would take adequate measures to empower women, advance their status, prohibit discrimination against them in the OIC’s Member States, and advance their status at all levels and fields.
In addition to the objectives of the OIC-2025 Program of Action geared towards women’s advancement and empowerment and the strategic objectives of the OIC Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women (OPAAW) on the protection of women’s rights and their empowerment in all fields, the resolutions issued by Islamic summits and the Council of Foreign Ministers on women’s empowerment shed light on the importance of the role of women in building societies and in achieving sustainable development. They urged the Member States and the relevant OIC’s organs to overcome all the obstacles that women and girls face in this regard.
The OIC Secretary-General also indicated that the 8th Session of the OIC’s Ministerial Conference on Women held in Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt, in July 2021 under the slogan “Preserving the Achievements of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond” adopted many resolutions on the importance of protecting and empowering women and integrating a gender equality perspective in all strategies and policies to address the pandemic and promote the economic, social, and political empowerment of women in the Member States.
Hissein Taha noted that the start of the OIC’s Women Development Organization in 2020 after completing its quorum, as the OIC’s first specialized organ in women’s affairs and empowerment, is a significant step towards achieving the OIC’s relevant goals. After Dr. Afnan Al-Shuaibi, the candidate of Saudi Arabia was elected as the first executive directress of this organization, the Member States are looking forward to the vital role of this promising new organization in achieving further development and progress in empowering women and advancing their status through the implementation of programs in terms of care, training, and skills development for women in the Member States.
The Secretary-General also availed himself of this opportunity to call upon the OIC Member States that have not yet ratified the WDO’s Statute, to expedite the ratification procedures to join that promising specialized organization and benefit from all its programs aimed at strengthening the capabilities of women and empowering them in all fields as equal partners with men in the progress and prosperity of the Islamic Ummah.