In-depth: Women's Empowerment
UNDP focuses on gender equality and women’s empowerment as a key means to attaining sustainable human development. Women empowerment is also an important pathway to achieving the Millennium Development Goals in addition to being a basic human right. In Eritrea UNDP works closely with the government to ensure that women play an important role in sustainable national development. Through the National Union of Eritrean Women, UNDP assists Eritrea train its women leaders and promotes women participation in socioeconomic activities. Gender empowerment strategies have also been implemented across various sectors within the government.
The Eritrean government’s commitment to women empowerment was demonstrated in 1979 when it established the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW), a body charged with spearheading empowerment of Eritrean women. It further ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1995.
NUEW played a major role in empowering the Eritrean women and fostering their participation in the national liberation movement and social justice. At present, the NUEW is the sole organization mandated to serve as women’s machinery for the advancement of gender equality in the Country. To achieve this it tasked with carrying out the following functions.
- Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and creation of a conducive environment for women’s broad participation including promotion of women’s legal rights;
- Eradication of illiteracy among women and enhance their welfare
- Provision of skills training and improving labor and entrepreneurship productivity
- Ensure increased women’s health, fight against harmful traditional practices
- Conduct research on women’s issues and disseminate relevant information.
Empowering Eritrean Women
Given the magnitude of its responsibilities NUEW is faced with capability constraints and lack of access to adequate financial resources needed to carry out their mandate. UNDP has therefore been working with NUEW since 1998 to enable it achieve its mandate of empowering Eritrean women.
UNDP assistance includes training, provision of social services and enhancement of women’s participation in economic activities including entrepreneurship. Under the on-going joint programme between UNDP and UNFPA, the specific areas of support extended to NUEW include:
- Carry out an organizational needs assessment and development of work procedure manuals;
- Undertake analytical research and policy analysis from a gender perspective;
- Develop and implement an advocacy strategy in line with NUEW goals and objectives
- Develop the NUEW’s ability to initiate strategic dialogue with the government and other stakeholders on gender issues;
- Develop NUEW’s capacity to monitor, evaluate and respond to government policies, plans, programmes from gender perspective;
- Develop and implement a resource mobilization strategy;
- Manage NUEW regional centres including operational and development of financial manuals and job descriptions.