BRUSSELS – PRN Africa —  League of Arab States hosted the meeting for the Arab Network for Economic Empowerment on Women (Khadija), within the framework of “The Spring Forward for Women” programme – a regional European Union (EU) and UN Women joint programme, funded by the European Union. The meeting which brought together LAS, EU, UN Agencies, Khadija Network and Business Associations focused on the main findings of a business case on women’s economic participation, conducted by UN Women and agreed on the main milestones to be achieved by the Khadija network in 2017.  “Investing in women’s economic empowerment leads to poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth. Women contribute enormously to economies, however they remain low-paid and disproportionately affected by exploitation.

The League of Arab states aims to secure higher incomes and better access to economic assets to Arab women to be able to participate in shaping economic and social policies in their countries,” said Ambassador Inas Mekkawy, Director of Women, Family and Childhood Department, League of Arab States.  “The European Union (EU) believes that economies having a better chance of growing when women participate in labour markets on an equal basis with men. So our EU programmes seek to close the gap between men and women which exists in terms of employment participation, but also pay, while at the same time increasing leadership opportunities for women,” said Reinhold Brender Chargé d’ Affaires a.i. of the EU Delegation to Egypt.

Khadija Network was launched at the headquarters of the League of Arab States in Cairo, on 17 September 2015 to serve as a platform to support and promote women’s economic empowerment. It advocates for equal economic opportunities and outcomes for women in the region including for safer work places for women, fair access to leadership positions, capacity building, and labour laws and regulations. Khadija Network aligns with the Cairo Declaration for Arab Women and the Strategic Plan for Women Empowerment in the Arab Region- 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda that have been adopted by the League of Arab States Ministerial Council during its 144th ordinary session September 2015.

It is also in line with the recommendations of the 35th round of the Arab Women Committee to enhance Arab- European cooperation in the field of economic empowerment of women in the Arab region.  “The economic empowerment of women accelerates the development of nations. Therefore, UN Women is keen on reaching out to women most in need, and engaging with civil societies as well as regional and international organizations to promote women’s better access to decent jobs and control over resources,” said Mohammad Naciri, UN Women Regional Director for Arab States. Khadija network acts as a channel to exchange knowledge and advocate gender-responsive approaches in the regional economy through engaging stakeholders from public, social and private sectors.

About Spring Forward for Women Programme

The Regional Programme for the Economic and Political Empowerment of Women in the Southern Mediterranean Region (“Spring Forward for Women”) provides a mechanism to advance the economic and political empowerment of women in the Southern Mediterranean region. The programme (2012-2016) supports women across the region, focusing on priority countries undergoing unrest, transition and reform, such as such as Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Palestine and Tunisia, to have greater influence in shaping the future of their countries while protecting their previous gains. It connects stakeholders to ensure that marginalised women in these countries receive capacity building, advocacy, information and partnerships that address the barriers that have impeded their access and engagement in economic and public lives. The programme is financed through a contribution of €7 million from the European Neighbourhood Partnership Instrument (ENPI) and of €1.2 million from the UN Women Core Budget.

Copyright European Union, 1995-2016
SOURCE European External Action

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