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The UAE is among four countries that have attained the largest progress in women’s political representation over a 25-year period, revealed an Inter-Parliamentary Union, IPU, report.

According to the report ‘Women in parliament: 1995 – 2020’, the largest progress in women’s representation has been achieved by “Rwanda, the United Arab Emirates, Andorra and Bolivia, with +57, +50, +42.8 and + 42.3 percentage points gained between 1995 and 2020, respectively, in their lower or single houses.”

The IPU report noted that global women’s parliamentary participation has more than doubled over the past 25 years, reaching 24.9 percent in 2020, up from 11.3 percent in 1995.

The UAE has positioned itself in fourth position globally as a result of the UAE’s 50:50 ratio for parliamentary participation. The report noted that the UAE is among three countries that have made “great strides in women’s participation” following the adoption of the 2019 presidential decree mandating gender parity in the UAE’s Federal National Council, FNC.

The report went on to cite the importance of quotas to drive up women’s representation in parliaments. “Before 1995, only two countries – Argentina and Nepal – applied legislated gender quotas,” the report noted adding that today, “elections in 81 countries are held under legislation that provides for gender quotas.”

The FNC and the IPU strengthened their mutual ties by signing a cooperation and technical partnership agreement in March 2014, which is the first to be signed by the IPU with a national parliament, on the sidelines of the participation of the Emirati Parliamentary Division in the IPU’s General Assembly “129-130,” held in Geneva from 12th to 20th March, 2014.

Source: wam.ae

The delegation of European Union (EU) to Nigeria and ECOWAS has advocated for equal opportunities for all persons so as to bridge the gender inequality gap in Nigeria.

The Ambassador of European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ketil Karlsen, made the call in Abuja recently after watching a stage play, August Meeting, as part of activities marking the 2020 International Women’s Day.

Karlsen said August Meeting sends a strong message to the women of Nigeria and across the world on the importance of fighting for the rights of the women which aligns with the theme of this year’s celebration, “I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights is aligned with UN Women’s new multigenerational campaign, Generation Equality,

Karlsen said the objective of the theatre play was to strengthen the engagement in a manner that positions them to overcome significant challenges that hinder women from actively participating in politics as well as reducing the incidence of gender based violence.

According to him, the EU was proud to see the display of August Meeting which is not only an amazing example of the creativity and the excellent art of Nigeria but also a strong message to the women of Nigeria and everywhere and the importance of fighting for the rights of women which fundamentally is human rights and which the Union has been involved in for many years.

“Today we are telling a story of what happened in 1929 and unfortunately now almost 100 years, these challenges are exactly present still. So making sure that we continue to fight for women everywhere, which aligns with this year’s theme “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights,” he said.

He stressed that the EU was working with all Institutions to see improvements. He said the EU has supported the opening of a national register against sexual offenders as well as sexual assault referral centres throughout the country.

In her remarks, UN Women Nigeria Country Representative, Comfort Lamptey, said the August Meeting was a confirmation of the resilience and strength of women of Nigeria.

She said the stage play provided the opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the progress made towards full attainment of women’s rights, as well as to build momentum and support for further action.

“I think if there is any message that this play showed to us, it is the confirmation of the resilience and strength of women of Nigeria. We saw a situation where more than ninety years ago when women came together and challenged the system; and actually made some sacrifice.

They made some losses but in the end they came out victorious,” Ms Lamptey said.

Source: This Day Live

Former Vice President Joe Biden committed to picking a woman as his vice president during a one-on-one debate with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during Sunday’s presidential debate.

“If I’m elected president, my Cabinet, my administration, will look like the country and I commit that I will in fact pick a woman to be my vice president,” Biden said. “There are a number of women qualified to be president tomorrow and I would pick a woman to be my vice president.”

It’s the first time Biden has said that he would pick a woman to be his vice president during the campaign as the veteran Democrat is on a major surge in the race, taking the lead over Sanders

The Vermont senator wouldn’t go as far as Biden in saying he would choose a woman to be his vice president, but said “in all likelihood, I will.”

China has reported no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases for the first time since the pandemic began, marking a major turning point in the global battle to contain Covid-19.

At a news conference on Thursday morning, officials from China’s National Health Commission announced there had been just 34 new cases in the past 24 hours — all imported from overseas — and eight new deaths, all in Hubei, the province where the virus was first identified. There were no new reported cases in Hubei at all on Wednesday.

The milestone will likely be held up as proof of the ongoing success of China’s sweeping, top-down efforts to control the virus, despite persistent allegations that local officials mishandled the initial outbreak. Just last month, mainland China was reporting thousands of new cases every day, and was considered the most high-risk infection area in the world.

In the weeks following the early spread of the virus, the government enacted draconian quarantine measures and strict travel restrictions affecting hundreds of millions of citizens. In some hard-hit cities, residents have been unable to leave their apartments for more than a month, while transport between major population hubs has been limited or halted altogether.

The unprecedented nature of the measures has exacted a steep toll, however, both on the many millions of ordinary Chinese forced to endure life under lockdown and the country’s economy, which has seen a steep decline in recent weeks.

We can only hope at this point that the pandemic is curbed completely. 

CNN News

Meghan Markle shocked a school in the United Kingdom with a surprise visit, asking the men to honor the women in their lives.

Prince Harry’s wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, visited the school Friday to offer an International Women’s Day message.

“You have your mothers, sisters, girlfriends, friends in your life, protect them,” she said. “Make sure that they are feeling valued and safe. And let’s all just rally together to make International Women’s Day something that is not just on Sunday, but frankly feels like every day of the year.”

The surprise visit took place at the Robert Clack Upper School in Dagenham in east London. The community was the site of famous strikes by female sewing machinists at a Ford plant, an equal pay fight depicted in the 2010 film “Made in Dagenham.”

In one of her final duties as a senior British royal, Meghan urged the boys in the school assembly of 700 students to “continue to value and appreciate the women in your lives and also set the example for some men who are not seeing it that same way.”

In February, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex told People: “The Duke and Duchess will be spending their time in both the United Kingdom and North America. In addition to continuing to work closely with their existing patronages as they build a plan for engagements in the U.K. and the Commonwealth throughout the year, the Duke and Duchess have also been undertaking meetings as part of their ongoing work to establish a new nonprofit organization. The details of this new organization will be shared later in the year.”

The Duchess of Sussex asked for a male volunteer to offer his thoughts on the importance of International Women’s Day.

Aker Okoye, 16, raced to the stage, greeting her with what appeared to be an air kiss to her cheek.

“She really is beautiful, innit?” he said as he took the podium. “I had to speak the truth there.”

Meghan gave him a hug and later praised his “incredible confidence.”

Source: Fox News

To celebrate International Women’s Day, an all-female flight crew from Ethiopian Airlines flew from Addis Ababa to Washington D.C. The flight marked the sixth consecutive year the airline has made the symbolically important flight with a female crew.

“Ethiopian Airlines aims to show African girls that there are no professions reserved for men only and inspire them to have no limits to their dream of becoming anything they set their hearts to,” said Rahel Assefa, marketing vice president for the airline. “In short, as we say back home at Ethiopian, on this day we fly to inspire.” 

The largest airline in Africa has made hiring women a priority and said 40% of its employees are female including 32% of management positions. The airline has female pilots, aircraft technicians, engineers, flight dispatchers, load controllers and ramp operators.

Rahel said too often on the African continent girls are taught that their only worth is to be married and live a domestic life.

“When their brothers are sent off to schools, girls are mostly held back at home, to help out as well as groomed on how to be a good wife, a good mother, a good homemaker,” she said. “Much work is needed to educate parents and communities in general, that their daughters can be anything and everything their sons can.”

Captain Amsale Gualu, who piloted the transatlantic flight, became the first female captain in Ethiopian history in 2010. She said it is important for women to support one another in fields whether they are underrepresented.

“The main thing is networking. Women should have a connection among one another and exchange ideas,” she told VOA’s Amharic service. “The other thing is supporting each other. For example when we fly with an all-female crew, even when there are standard procedures, there are things that make you happy.”

Amsale said at the time of the first all-female flight in 2015, there were only eight female pilots at the airline. Today, she said, there are 20 with another 24 training in aviation school.“

The change has come. Women support each other, we have our own groups and we show that it is possible. And by supporting each other, showing that it is achievable is our responsibility,” she said.

‘Educate a woman, educate a nation’

Ethiopian Ambassador to the U.S. Fitsum Arega said the country’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has made it a priority to promote women to positions of power. His cabinet is made up of 50% women and the country now has a female president and chief justice of the supreme court.

“There’s an African proverb that says, ‘if you educate a man, you educate one person. If you educate a woman, you educate a nation,’” Fitsum said. 

He added that empowering women is a boost to the nation’s economy.

Ethiopian Airlines cabin crew members wait to get onboard the plane before takeoff at Bole international airport in the capital…

FILE – Ethiopian Airlines cabin crew members wait to get onboard the plane before takeoff at Bole international airport in the capital Addis Ababa, Nov. 18, 2015.

“When half of the population is empowered with higher education and actively engaging in the workforce in the formal economy, this accelerates technological innovation, productivity and economic prosperity, which in turn will have a far-reaching multiplier effect on families, communities and the entire nation,” he said. 

Hostess and team leader on the flight Bizuayehu Yilma said there was a special feeling on board. She hopes it inspires women worldwide.

“Any woman can reach any position she aspires to reach,” she said. “This is not charity but the duty or the responsibility of all. Everyone should support us. This is a show of our strength and how we can stand on equal footing. So I think that we have given a big education to all.”

Source: VOA

In commemoration of the International Women’s Day, the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) celebrates the achievements of the women’s rights agenda, particularly the implementation of Jordan’s National Action Plan (JONAP) on the UN Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security.

Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and post-conflict reconstruction, while stressing the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts to maintain and promote peace and security, according to the UN’s website.

The ARDD, on behalf of Jordan National NGOs Forum (JONAF), represented by the Arab Cultural Forum, brought together representatives from the government, security agencies, educational institutions, representatives of civil society organisations and diplomatic missions in Jordan at Al Hussein Youth Sport City to mark the event, according to an ARDD statement.

The ARDD acknowledged the efforts of women in the armed and security forces, as well as the role of civil society organisations in advocating for gender-specific priorities and needs in the implementation of the JONAP, the statement said.

Within this framework, the ARDD is partnering with UN Women to encourage “strong, confident and passionate women” who believe they can make a difference in their societies and are able to join efforts in peace and security in their communities. This initiative is being supported by the governments of Canada, Finland, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom, according to the statement. 

“The authorities in Jordan have committed themselves to adopting UN Resolution 1325, and Jordan initiated the creation of leadership institutions to empower and enhance the role of women in the country,” Basil Al Tarawneh, head of Al Nahda Arab Cultural Forum, was quoted in the statement as saying.

Samar Muhareb, CEO of the ARDD, said in the statement: “Jordan has made several achievements in terms of involving women at all levels. However, additional efforts are needed to enhance their participation in the strategic decision-making process, especially in light of regional humanitarian crises, which are affecting women and girls severely.”

The ARDD’s research on “Jordanian Women in the Context of Conflict Prevention and Resolution”, issued in November of 2019, revealed a “positive influence” of young women in promoting a culture of peace and tolerance in their communities.  It also showed that women’s self-perception is an “influential factor” in their motivation and willingness to engage in their communities, noted the statement.

“Evidence shows that women’s empowerment and participation contribute to sustainable peace, security and economic growth. Through the implementation of Jordan’s National Action Plan on UN Resolution 1325, we are promoting civil society and women grassroots’ direct and meaningful participation towards the full achievement of its objectives in an inclusive manner,” said Tamar Tavartkiladze on behalf of UN Women Jordan.

Col. Khaleda Al Twal, Chief of Public Security Directorate’s Women’s Police Department, highlighted the department’s focus on equal pay in order to promote gender equality, in adherence with UN requests.

Salma Nims, secretary general at the Jordanian National Commission for Women, highlighted the active participation of Jordanian civil society organisations in the implementation of Resolution 1325 and their partnership with security agencies.

Source: The Jordan Times