Press Releases

    1 February 2010

    Reissued as received

    Economic Empowerment of Women Focus of Meeting
    Hosted by UNIDO

    VIENNA, 1 February (UN Information Centre) - Ways to economically empower women in developing countries are being discussed at a workshop hosted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna today.

    The two-day event, co-organized with the UN Interagency Network on Women and Gender Equality and the OECD's Development Assistance Committee Network on Women and Gender Equality, brought together over 150 experts, representing the international development community.

    "Promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women, especially in developing countries, is ever more important in light of the current mega trends and challenges the world is facing. Empowering women translates into greater prosperity for families, communities and economies ultimately leading to sustainable development," said UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, at the opening session.

    He added that long-standing inequalities in access to and control over economic and financial resources have resulted in women finding themselves at a disadvantage to men. Despite notable improvements in expanding women's economic opportunities through improvements in educational attainment, health and employment in the non-agricultural sectors including industry, more needed to be done.

    The workshop will help share innovative strategies for strengthening national ownership and accountability for the economic empowerment of women. Participants said it was important to ensure that gender equality and women's economic empowerment remain key objectives in national and international development policies and programmes. They also emphasized that it was vital to substantially increase development assistance and accountability for gender equality, based on the principles of the Accra Agenda for Action and the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.

    UNIDO, as the UN specialized agency dealing with industrial development, and specifically with "women in industry", supports the economic empowerment of women through entrepreneurship development and the creation of a conducive business environment for small and medium enterprises. UNIDO also offers girls in secondary and vocational schools in a range of developing countries training courses on capacity-building in entrepreneurship knowledge and skills.

    "It is ever more important that governments and international development partners revisit their efforts and renew commitments towards lifting half of the world's population out of poverty, and recognize the central role that women can and must play in this context," said Yumkella.

    2010 marks fifteen years since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, an intergovernmental agreement on gender equality. The agreement calls for removing obstacles to women's active participation in all spheres of public and private life through a full and equal share in economic, social, cultural and political decision-making.

    2015 is the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which include a goal on promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women.

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    For more information, please contact

    Mikhail Evstafyev
    UNIDO Advocacy and media specialist
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26026-5021
    Mobile: (+43-650) 391-5278