Cairo (UNA-OIC) – Dr. Afnan Alshuaiby, the Executive Director of the Women Development Organization, participated in the 17th SDGs Open Dialogue on Gender Resilience at the Center of Post COVID-19: A Better Normal for a Better Future, held by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).
In her interventions, she highlighted the importance of this platform for experience-sharing and awareness-raising. She added that it also showcased that OIC Member States are on the right track towards achieving the SDGs, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had social, economic, and humanitarian repercussions in general, and on women and girls in particular. Some of the lessons she shared included witnessing the effect of the profound and gendered impact of pandemics and crises on women and girls in the move and addressing gender-specific challenges by designing gender-inclusive approaches.
She also gave a background and an overview about the WDO as the center of the gender equality architecture within the OIC system, and comprehensively presented the work of the Organization since the start of its operations last August. She focused on the diverse partnerships initiated by WDO with OIC sister organizations, including the IsDB, the UN and other international organizations.
Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, President of the IsDB Group, welcomed the participants, and guest panelists. He stressed on the efforts made by the IsDB to close the gender gap as it is fully embedded in their policies and noted that the COVID-19 pandemic showed the fragility of the existing eco-systems, which continue to affect women and girls more in crises.
Ms. Susanne Mikhail, UN-Women Regional Director for the Arab States, highlighted that there is a progression towards the achievement of gender equality in the region, as there have been positive and progressive reforms, despite the diversity of the region in terms of wealth and Constitutions. She emphasized the importance of speeding the process and scale to further move towards the achievement of gender equality on all levels, and more particularly, in the private sector to accelerate economic recovery and women’s empowerment.
The dialogue included discussions on the distinct impacts of the pandemic on women and girls, its repercussions on the surge of VAW, on women’s economic participation, and how we can accelerate economic recovery. The discussions presented some of the initiatives that had been implemented in some of the countries, in order to boost the economic participation of women through specialized trainings and activities.
Furthermore, the panelists’ interventions tackled some multifaceted approaches to support women’s empowerment, and highlighted the crucial role played by the culture, the need to make rapid interventions, and pay special attention to the most promising sectors for the participation of women, such as digital technology, entrepreneurship, and investment in women’s-owned SMEs.
It is worth mentioning that WDO & IsDB have launched their strategic partnership mid-December 2021.