Arab States/North Africa
Since independence, Arab and North African countries have struggled with multiple challenges. These have slowed political, social, and economic development, although there has been progress in education and health. For Arab women, pursuing gender equality is part of an agenda comprising functioning democracies and meaningful citizenship; equitable development; equality under the law; the closing of deficits in freedom; and the redressing of gender-based human rights concerns, such as violence against women.
Through its regional office in Cairo and a number of country and multi-country offices, UN Women supports programmes across the Arab states/North Africa region. One key focus is broadening the scope of women’s citizenship, leadership and political participation, especially in transition countries. This is essential to ensuring that transitions are both fully inclusive and democratic, and respond to the needs and priorities of women and girls. Our intensified assistance in this area comprises fostering inclusive national dialogue on major transition issues, aiding the development of consensus on priorities, and making the case for gender-responsive policies. We help strengthen women’s networks and their advocacy capacities in close partnership with national women’s groups and transitional governments.
As part of broader momentum for reform across the Arab states, and towards institutionalizing gender in governance, we assist efforts to make national plans and budgets fully supportive of gender equality commitments.
Low rates of women’s employment and the economic roots of uprisings and continued unrest make economic empowerment another critical concern. We engage with national partners and civil society to advance policies and programmes that bolster women’s opportunities in this arena. Our support is grounded in the recognition that economic empowerment contributes to the repositioning of women in their households and societies.
Alongside local and national governmental bodies, other UN organizations and civil society groups, UN Women aids efforts to end violence against women. These entail adopting national policy frameworks, reforming laws discriminating against women, establishing comprehensive prevention and protection services, and raising awareness of strategies to combat violence.