In the Kingdom of Bahrain on 12 June, UN Women Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Programme Yannick Glemarec attended the signing ceremony for a Memorandum of Understanding between Bahrain’s Supreme Council for Women and UN Women, the first cooperation agreement between UN Women and the Kingdom of Bahrain. The MOU launches a new Global Award for Women’s Empowerment in honour of the Wife of the King of Bahrain, Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa.
The award aims to ensure the commitment of countries, official agencies and organizations through their legislative, public and private sector authorities or civil society to adopt non-discriminatory policies against women, to achieve equal opportunities between women and men in various fields, and to show appreciation for institutional and individual efforts and initiatives for gender mainstreaming. The opportunity to compete for the award will be open to public, private and civil society institutions, and individuals all over the world. Details will be announced at a later date.
Read the press statement delivered by Mr. Glemarec on the occasion:
[Check against delivery]
UN Women is honoured to be in the Kingdom of Bahrain today and thankful to H.R.H Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al-Khalifa for hosting us. Signing the Memorandum of Understanding with the Supreme Council for Women marks the first cooperation agreement between UN Women and the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the start of a new partnership. Earlier this evening, our team met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa and the Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Women, H.E. Hala Mohamed Jaber Al Ansari to discuss a range of collaboration opportunities between the Kingdom of Bahrain and UN Women.
The Kingdom of Bahrain, has the potential to play a leadership role in women empowerment in the context of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Notably, Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa’s Global Award for Women Empowerment is an innovative initiative launched by the Kingdom of Bahrain that aims to recognize some of the tremendous achievements made by civil society, individuals, the private and public sector in advancing the empowerment of women.
The award will provide an opportunity to engage on a larger discussion on how we can all contribute, in our individual and institutional capacity to equality. It will enable us to review what works well at the global level, with the overall aim of both codifying lessons learned and disseminating the best practices identified to accelerate gender equality and women empowerment. Furthermore, the award presents and opportunity to show appreciation for institutional and individual efforts, initiatives and projects that target gender mainstreaming.
Economic empowerment remains one of the main challenges to women´s rights, and it is something that harms and hinders us all. In fact, according to a recent study by McKinsey, if every country achieved gender equality at the level of the top performing country in each region, the world could see USD 12 trillion growth in GDP by 2025.
The Progress of the World´s Women Report 2015-2016: Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights puts forth several recommendations to address this gap, including investing in social infrastructure and services. Family allowances and pensions, health and care services can expand women’s choices, reduce their unpaid domestic and care work, enable women to join the workforce and remain employed and ultimately reduce poverty and boost the economic welfare of the entire nation. While it is often wrongly regarded as an expenditure, investment in social infrastructure and services is as critical as investment in physical infrastructure and technologies for sustainable economic development.
Governments through implementing family-friendly laws and policies, the private sector through championing gender responsive working places and practices and the civil society through advocating, providing services and keeping all stakeholders accountable play complementary and essential roles in addressing these challenges.
The Global Award, which recognizes this complementarity and highlight achievements from government, civil society and private sector will contribute to a cross-stakeholder dialogue on women´s empowerment in the framework of global commitments, including the SDGs.
In addition to economic development, the award will also recognize women’s engagement and leadership in crisis prevention and preparedness, humanitarian action and early recovery as a transformative solution to reduce the likelihood of humanitarian crisis, increase the efficiency of humanitarian response, accelerate early recovery efforts and the transition to sustainable development.
Women are often the first responders to a crisis and they play a central role in the safety, survival, recovery and resilience of families and communities throughout the crisis-development contiguum. The Award will recognize solutions to meet their distinct needs in crisis settings, such as health care, protection from all forms of violence and access to information and resources to rebuild their independent sources of livelihood.
UN Women is proud to be associated with the Supreme Council of Women in conceptualizing and managing the award process. The award is one of many initiatives launched by the Kingdom of Bahrain in recent years on women´s empowerment. The strong commitment towards achieving equality is clearly defined in the National Plan for the Advancement of Bahraini Women 2013-2022. UN Women is ready to support the Kingdom of Bahrain in fostering gender equality and women empowerment at home and internationally.
Many thanks for your kind attention.