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Union for the Mediterranean launches new regional mechanism to monitor gender equality in the area

04.03.2020 / Created by (EMWF)
Union for the Mediterranean launches new regional mechanism to monitor gender equality in the area

Barcelona, 2 March 2020

The Union for the Mediterranean embraces the celebration of the International Women’s Day with the implementation of projects and initiatives in the framework of its regional agenda for women’s empowerment.

  • UfM Member States will adopt a regional intergovernmental mechanism to monitor the progress made on women’s rights, evaluate gender gaps and provide recommendations to policymakers.
  • UfM projects and initiatives specifically addressing women’s empowerment and gender equality benefit women in 20 Euro-Mediterranean countries.
  • Within the UfM region, gender parity is estimated at 76.7% in Western Europe and at 61.2% in the Middle East and North Africa, which indicates there is still a long way to go.

In a year that marks the 25th Anniversary of the Barcelona Process, which laid the foundations for the creation of the UfM, its Member States are determined to monitor and assess the progress made in advancing gender equality in the region and update their related strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In line with the 2017 UfM Ministerial Declaration on strengthening the role of women in society, and following a 3-year regional process involving governments and gender experts, the UfM will adopt a regional intergovernmental follow-up mechanism on gender balance. This entails concrete indicators that will allow to monitor the progress made on women’s rights and to work collectively to accelerate women’s full participation in the region.

UfM Deputy Secretary General on Civil and Social affairs, Marisa Farrugia, stressed: “This follow-up mechanism offers an effective means to monitor and benchmark progress. It is designed to create regional awareness on the challenges that gender gaps pose as well as the opportunities that emerge when action is taken to reduce them. Building inclusive societies, based on equality, in all of its dimensions, is a key component for economic growth and social well-being.”

Following the recent signature of a cooperation agreement with the Norwegian Government, this year will also see the further implementation of regional projects aiming at fostering women’s economic participation, in particular developing their skills and facilitating their access to the labour market and to entrepreneurship. The UfM-labelled projects that will benefit from the Norwegian funding under the new agreement are:

  • CEED Grow– Growing and Scaling Small and Medium Enterprises”. The project is addressed to women entrepreneurs and middle-level managers and seeks to enhance their leadership, management and entrepreneurial skills. It is benefiting 300 small and medium-sized companies, in Albania, Tunisia and Morocco.
  • Skills for Success– Employability Skills for Women”. The project is providing more than 450 unemployed and economically disadvantaged, secondary-level educated women with the necessary skills, knowledge and tools to enter the labour market in Tunisia, Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt and Jordania.
  • Mediterranean New Chance– MedNC”. The project implements innovative and sustainable solutions to address the challenge of socio-professional integration of young people and, particularly, of those who are not in Education, Employment, or Training (NEETs) in Algeria, Egypt, France, Morocco, Tunisia and Spain. Knowledge exchanges are benefiting more than 29,000 unemployed young people, 60% of them women.

Despite the progress made globally and at regional level, we need at least 99.5 years more to achieve gender equality (economic participation, education, health and political empowerment) according to the findings of the Global Gender Gap Report 2020.  In the UfM region, gender parity in Western Europe is estimated at 76.7% (54 years to achieve gender parity) and in MENA region at 61.2% (140 years) indicating there is still a long way to go.


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