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Barriers Hindering Women’s Economic Participation on the Agenda of ESCWA


Beirut, 26 June 2012 (ESCWA Communication and Information Unit)-- ESCWA gathered today a group of experts, academics, program specialists, government officials, as well as concerned U.N. Entities and other civil society players, to discuss “Barriers Hindering Women’s Economic Participation in the ESCWA Region,” in an expert group meeting at the U.N. House, Beirut.

The meeting, which will end on Wednesday 27 June 2012, aims to address and discuss a set of barriers that constantly and systematically curtail the will and capabilities of women, more than men, to achieve economic empowerment. The most principle barriers are to be found in existing education systems and structures, discriminatory laws (labour laws and personal status codes) and unsustainable planning and policies.

Participants in the two-day meeting will be discussing the historical context of women’s work in the Arab world and the expansion of women’s work beyond conventional understanding. They will also discuss the educational dimension of the barriers, mainly the mismatch of women’s skills and the labour market; rethinking education structures for successful School-to-Work transition; and gender perspectives and gender equality in curricula, textbooks and teachers training, highlighting supported projects by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in different countries.

Mainstreaming gender needs into the world of work will also be discussed, specifically women’s work policies and regulatory organizational measures in the ESCWA region; human resources management systems in the U.N.; and presentation by the Jordan Office of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The meeting will develop recommendations, which will define the problem and the perspective to act; the skills that will help solve the problems; and the international standards to bring gender equality into the world of work.

It is worth noting that the lack of a solid framework, based on transforming gender relations and a strategic planning to address and foster women’s employment in the region, has contributed to the making of these barriers. In addition, the situation has also become far more complex indeed as a result of the increasing economic challenges and constraints in the region.