News update
  • Met office issues nationwide 72-hour heat alert     |     
  • No respite from heat wave for five days: Met office     |     
  • Over 2,100 men evacuated as Indonesian volcano spews ash     |     
  • Dhaka air unhealthy for sensitive groups Saturday morning     |     
  • North Korea conducts a test on 'super-large warhead': KCNA     |     

UN Women Working For Gender Equality

Prof. M Zahidul Haque Woman 2024-03-25, 11:45pm


Prof. M Zahidul Haque

With the intense efforts of the United Nations and other related local and international NGOs, an important result has been achieved in advancing gender equality. However, the march towards achieving gender equality suffered a set-back following the COVID-19 pandemic: the volume of school drop-outs of girl students, particularly in the developing countries recorded a significant increase.

Because on account of COVID-19 protection measure, many schools were declared closed and many girls did not return back to school after the end of the pandemic; of course poverty also engulfed. More recently, human crisis created by Israeli atrocities and hostilities has created a gendered impact aggravating gender equality mission in global perspective. According to an UN Women estimation, nearly 1 million women and girls plus children have been displaced, become homeless living without food and more than 24,620 have been killed in the Gaza Strip, 70 per cent of whom were women or children! The gap in Gender Equality Index (GII) widen in areas like women’s life expectancy,

education, economic resources, empowerment, etc.

In 2010, the UN Women was created by the United Nations General Assembly as the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women. 

Since its inception, the UN Women have been working for achieving gender equality which is extremely essential for healthy, sustainable, resilient societies by unleashing women and girls’ untapped potential. The main roles of the UN Women include:-

--To support Inter-governmental bodies, such as, the Commission on the Status of Women in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms 

--To assist Member States to implement the Standers by providing suitable technical and financial support to those countries in need and to forge effective partnership with civil society 

--To hold the UN Systems accountable for its own commitments on gender equality including monitoring of system-wide progress.

There are huge challenges on the way to achieving equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian actions, peace and security. The UN Women works for meeting these challenges and to eliminate discrimination against women and girls in fields like access to education, equal pay, decent job opportunities, etc.

This apex body of the UN works for ensuring gender equality plus empowerment. The UN Women has also been assisting the Member States in achieving the goal of Sustainable Development Agenda No.5, that is, gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

There are two set of things, viz. Gender Equality and Gender Equity. Gender equality ensures equal treatment for all genders when it comes to rights, responsibilities and opportunities, while Gender Equity is the fairness and justice in the distribution of benefits and responsibilities between women and men. For instance, Gender Equity starts from the ‘Family’ where parents can practice gender equity in home by assigning same sort of considerations in every segments like education, entertainment, food, clothing, etc. Gender Equity and Equality should also be exercised in work places, for instance, when a

woman member expresses disdain about a situation at work, she is often called as ‘emotional’ but when a man does it, he is praised as being ‘assertive’. Such disparities must be eliminated by giving proper respect and values to woman’s assertion.

Gender statistics is very important for gender equality strategy planning. The UN Women support countries to ensure that gender statistics are available, accessible and analyzed to help in policy-making, advocacy and accountability for delivering gender equality and women’s empowerment. 

Meanwhile a latest data on the progress towards gender equality across the SDG, compiled by the UN Women (2022) reveals the inadequacy of present-day efforts; the UN Women need to intensify its efforts in collaboration with local partners to work more effectively for achieving gender equality and women empowerment.

(Prof. M Zahidul Haque retired Professor and also a former Dean of Faculty of Agriculture at Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Dhaka.)