Panel on converting commodities into products: The role of women in Least Developed Countries

“Converting commodities into products: The role of women in Least Developed Countries (LDCs)” panel, moderated by the Chair of the Gender Mainstreaming Steering Committee (GMSC), Nilgün Tas. Photo by UNIDO

In Least Developed Countries (LDCs) women bear the heaviest burden of poverty. According to the most recent Human Development Report (HDR, 2013), all LDCs rank below the global median in the Gender Inequality Index (GII).

In December 2013, the LDC Ministerial Conference in Lima, Peru, showcased a panel on “Converting commodities into products: The role of women in Least Developed Countries (LDCs)”. Moderated by the Chair of the Gender Mainstreaming Steering Committee (GMSC), Nilgün Tas, the panel debated the role of women in the agricultural value chains in LDCs, the key challenges and opportunities for women’s economic empowerment in the agricultural value chains as well as central policy issues for empowering women while converting commodities into products.

The discussion recognized that while advancement on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in LDCs is slow and sparse, good practices, knowledge and experience from LDCs on creating gender responsive value chains is a source of common progress.

Click here to read the full concept paper.

Green Industry Conference 2013: “Women in Green Industry”

Plenary technical panel discussion on “Creating eco-cities” at the Green Industry Conference. Photo by UNIDO

Jointly organized by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) of China and UNIDO, the Green Industry Conference (GIC) 2013 took place from 7 to 9 November 2013 in Guangzhou, China.

The conference held a session on “Women in Green Industry” moderated by Claudia Linke Heep from UNIDO. The session featured two successful women entrepreneurs in the field of Green Industry, Chen Chunhong of Yiyuan Environmental Group and Ms. Qui Xuemei of Qinghai Damohong Wolfberry Company Ltd., who shared their respective business concepts. Iresha Somarathna from Sri Lanka demonstrated how the textile company Brandix Lanka Ltd. encourages environmentally sustainable behaviour within the corporation and the community and improves the working conditions of their 90 per cent female employees. Maria del Pilar Granados from the Ministry of Industry in Colombia completed the debate by providing insight on government programmes for women in green industry and the  specific challenges faced.

Key outcomes of the GIC include the engagement of UNIDO with governments, business associations and enterprises to promote the particular interest of women in green industry and the creation of a “Women in Green Industry’’ network within the framework of the Green Industry Platform.

Click here to read the full executive summary.

VEF side event summary: “Women’s leadership on energy justice in productive sectors”

Hadja Saran Daraba Kaba (R), Secretary General of the Mano River Union and Key note speaker of the Vienna Energy Forum 2013, during the gender and energy side event. Photo by UNIDO

Following the Rio+20 Summit, UNIDO’s third Vienna Energy Forum (VEF) held in May 2013 provided a high-level forum to discuss and follow-up on the energy dimensions captured in the Rio+20 outcome document, “The Future We Want”.  This year’s VEF included a gender and energy side event – “Women’s Leadership on Energy Justice in Productive Sectors” – that was jointly coordinated by  UNIDO’s Gender Mainstreaming Steering Committee (GMSC) and the Energy and Climate Change Branch (ECC) with the support of the SEED Initiative.

The side event brought together a dynamic panel of practitioners, experts and advocates who continued the debate on women’s leadership and economic empowerment in energy. Among those who engaged in the discussion were UNIDO’s former Director General Kandeh Yumkella, and the former President of Ireland and founder of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, Mary Robinson.

The panel members offered key themes and issues prevalent in the gender and energy debate provoking an exchange of ideas and debate that explored potential ways to ensure women’s leadership at the policy level as well as means to promote women’s economic empowerment in the energy sector. There was a general consensus that in order to make a sustained impact on reducing poverty, energy strategies, policies and practices must empower women in both promoting their leadership and addressing existing barriers that deter their full and active participation. A key outcome for the side event was the incorporation of gender issues in the Final Declaration of the Vienna Energy Forum.

Click here to read a full summary on the event.

The UNIDO General Conference, Interregional debate 6 on “Empowering Women: Fostering Entrepreneurship”

Interregional debate 6 “Empowering Women: Fostering Entrepreneurship” moderator Martin Sajdik, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Austria to the UN, with the panelists. Photo by UNIDO

The 15th session of the UNIDO General Conference, which took place from 2 to 6 December 2013 in Lima, Peru, included an inter-regional debate solely dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. Entitled “Empowering Women: Fostering Entrepreneurship”, the inter-regional debate provided a forum to gain a better understanding of the role of women in economic development, the current challenges that need to be addressed, and potential ways forward to promote women entrepreneurs in the context of inclusive and sustainable industrial development. Through a dynamic panel of gender equality advocates and women entrepreneurial pioneers, the debate showcased and allowed for an open dialogue for the panellists to exchange insights and share their own personal experiences to economic empowerment.

The session reaffirmed the centrality of gender equality in inclusive and sustainable industrial development and UNIDO’s role in promoting women’s economic empowerment in the post-2015 framework.

Click here to read a full summary on the event.