Caption: From left to right, Mr Ahmad Hasan, Ms Sara Hteit, Ms Saniye Gülser Corat, Ms May Hashem, Mr Dojana Abu Alrob, Ms Nada Mansour, and Mr Bruno Zanobia
On Monday 17 December, UNESCO’s Director for Gender Equality, Ms Saniye Gülser Corat, met with journalists from the Arab Region* to discuss UNESCO’s initiatives promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.
After a brief introduction on UNESCO’s global priority by Ms Corat, there was a great deal of interest on the part of the journalists, resulting in a lively discussion on some of UNESCO’s specific actions, namely:
- STEAM TeachHer Initiative, a publicprivate partnership aimed at encouraging adolescent girls to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Design, and Math (STEAM) careers.
- The relations between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Gender Equality. There have been spectacular advances in the field of AI in recent years, leading to inventions never seen before. However, what are the gender implications? Beyond concern for propagating gender stereotypes thought AI programming, UNESCO wants to ensure integration of gender equality considerations in all levels of this process, including in decisionmaking.
- Women’s political participation. This is a question of central concern to democracy. It is also a question that is of central concern to gender equality. In this sense, UNESCO conducted research on Morocco and Tunisia to understand the impact of quotas as a temporary measure to increase women’s political participation. Read the publication here. In addition, women are often criticized for the way they are perceived. This is one reason why UNESCO also works with the media to deconstruct gender stereotypes.
- Women in conflict areas. Conflicts and natural disasters adversely affect women, men, girls, and boys, who face different risks and are victimized in different ways based on their gendered roles within society. UNESCO helps to strengthen the capacities of its Member States to provide access to quality educational opportunities for all in times of crisis. UNESCO calls upon traditional leaders to speak up against honor crimes and other forms of harmful traditional cultures.
In a follow up meeting on 19 December, Mr Ahmad Hasan, editor-in-chief of Al Aalam newspaper (Iraq), and Ms Corat further discussed specific actions that can be taken to address some of the gender issues in Iraq. Some of them including (i) conservative views aiming to keep early, child and forced marriage a legal practice; (ii) family pressures, such as the fact that a large group of young women representing 30% of the population are not allowed by their families to use social media or cellphones; and (iii) the lack of women’s representation in editorial or decision-making positions in the media.
Want to know more about how UNESCO addresses these phenomena?
- How education can break the bonds of child marriage
- Addressing early marriage and adolescent pregnancy as a barrier to gender parity and equality in education
- UNESCO’s action to prevent violence against women
- UNESCO’s work on building a culture of Peace and NonViolence
- Women make the News Initiative
- How local radios are confronting gender dogmas in Africa
- GenderSensitive Indicators for Media
*Every year, pinned to World Arabic Language Day (18 December), UNESCO invites journalists working in Arabic to a several days’ workshop that has two objectives:
• Raise awareness about UNESCO’s programs and activities to the press from the Arab Region.
• Participate in Arabic Language Day celebrations.
This activity falls within UNESCO project with the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Foundation to enhance the presence of Arabic in UNESCO and for the purposes of greater outreach to the Arabic speaking community.