Singer Balqees Fathi named UN Women Planet 50-50 champion for the Arab States region

Date: Monday, August 1, 2016

Emirati-Yemeni singer Balqees Fathi with Mohammad Naciri, UN Women Regional Director for Arab States during a visit to UN Women Regional Office. Photo: UN Women/ Karam Gamal El Din.
Emirati-Yemeni singer Balqees Fathi with Mohammad Naciri, UN Women Regional Director for Arab States during a visit to UN Women Regional Office. Photo: UN Women/ Karam Gamal El Din.

UN Women announced the appointment of award-winning Emirati-Yemeni singer Balqees Fathi as the first Planet 50-50 champion for the Arab States Region. Focusing on young women and girls, Ms. Fathi will be working closely with UN Women to push for young women's entrepreneurship in the region and to advocate for the rights of women survivors of violence, with a particular focus on ending child marriage.

Fourteen per cent of girls in the region marry under the age of 18, which starts a cycle of other forms of violence and health repercussions. With the refugee crisis tearing through the region since the beginning of the Syrian conflict five years ago, the rate of child marriage in refugee communities is rising at an alarming rate. In Jordan, for example, the rate of registered child marriages in refugee communities increased to 18 per cent in 2012 compared to 12 per cent in pre-war Syria. The number again skyrocketed to 25 per cent in 2013 and continues to grow unchecked.

“The voices of young women in the region are drowned by the hefty problems of conflicts, the refugee crisis and dire economic conditions. Balqees’s dedication to reach out to and advocate for young women is of great value at such a time. Her focus on women’s economic empowerment and violence against women and girls is a perfect match with UN Women’s vision that the two subjects are highly interlinked,” said Mohammad Naciri, UN Women Regional Director for Arab States.

See the full story on the UN Women Arab States website.