UN Volunteers and other volunteers are advancing gender issues and impacting on women's lives in rural and urban settings. In line with Sustainable Development Goal 5, they are volunteering to safeguard the basic rights of women and girls, achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, counter deeply rooted gender-based discrimination, and avail opportunities for women and girls to learn, engage and lead.
Living in Pakistan since September 2015 has truly been an eye-opener. In a developing country where most of the population are youth, I have seen first-hand how we in the UN can actively influence young people to realize the benefits of women’s empowerment and give equal opportunities to women and girls. As a UN Volunteer, I encourage people to take action.
"Voices Against Violence" in Togo is an $85,000 USD project that was funded and implemented by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme between October 2016 and April 2017. The project is based on an informal education program developed by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and UN Women. It aims to fight against gender-based violence by raising the awareness of young secondary students about the root causes of violence, ways to prevent it, and finding solutions.
The Gender Based Violence Sub Cluster Report from West and Central African countries facing armed conflict revealed that the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence has drastically increased since the last report in 2016. It is in this line that we jointly organized, in 2017, a regional capacity building workshop on gender mainstreaming, prevention and response to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in emergency and humanitarian settings in Dakar, Senegal.
As one of the thirteen women who served as engineers in the demolition and debris management operations of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Anima supported the earthquake-affected areas by using her skills in a traditionally male-dominated field.
“Engineering is for boys while girls are supposed to study management and work in banks,” she recalls her uncle as saying when she was still a student asking for career advice years ago.
In her position, she finds herself working across different projects focused on empowering women in every aspect. One week she may be in the field monitoring business and entrepreneurship trainings for producer group members, and the next she may be representing her programmatic team at a Gender and Climate Change training for Members of Parliament. One thing is for sure, there is always something to be done.
Based in Goma, a city in the eastern DRC, Italian international UN Volunteer Serena Ricci is assigned to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as an associate protection officer. Her role is to ensure the protection of refugees, forcibly displaced women, girls, men and boys and people with specific needs.
UNV works to ensure gender equality and the empowerment of women from both an institutional and a programmatic perspective. We wish to use this occasion to feature the rich variety of ways UN Volunteers around the world contribute to SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
The issue of women’s rights is a global issue. The status of women’s rights around the world is an important indicator of global well-being. Despite many successes in empowering women, numerous issues still persist in all areas of life. For example, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence is increasing in a variety of forms in Liberia. While there may be a decrease in some instances of physical domestic violence, both physical and emotional abuse continue to occur.
Following the earthquake, the situation of women and girls was of special concern because they are more likely to become victims of violence and discrimination in a humanitarian emergency. Displacement, over-crowed camps, lack of privacy and lighting, limited and unsegregated wash facilities increase the risks.