On 28-29 August 2018, Mauritius hosted the first ever Ministerial Conference on Women’s Economic Empowerment. This Conference brought together Gender Ministers of IORA Member States to identify and share commonalities amongst the IORA countries, in the field of economic empowerment of women.
The Conference successfully met its objectives to:
- Assemble for the very first time IORA Ministers responsible for Gender/Women’s Affairs, on a common platform to discuss on the pertinence of mainstreaming gender in the priority areas of IORA and identify key strategies that will promote greater cooperation and prosperity;
- Launch a Working Group on Women’s Economic Empowerment (WGWEE);
- Chart a Work Plan for the WGWEE that will guide the change-makers in realizing IORA’s vision, in terms of economic empowerment, by developing specific, achievable and time bound indicators and actions;
- Identify and formulate gender-responsive initiatives and strategies to be implemented by the WGWEE, with a bid to address gender gaps in the IORA priority interventions areas and the Blue Economy;
- Explore the role that the Dialogue Partners could play in supporting the work of the WGWEE as well as the avenues of collaboration, in terms of resource mobilization and expert support;
- Foster information and knowledge sharing on policies, programmes, initiatives and best practices that promote economic empowerment of women;
- Explore possible networking and linkages with other Working Groups of the IORA in furthering the women’s economic empowerment agenda; and
- Engage into constructive dialogue and build synergies with others partners such as the private sector, academic institutions, business leaders and communities in collaborating with the IORA Member States in driving economic opportunities for women within the region.
This conference was built on a preparatory workshop entitled ‘Strengthen Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Indian Ocean - Preparations for the Ministerial Conference and Working Group” held on 3-4 May 2018. The workshop convened Senior Officials from IORA Ministries of Gender/Women’s Affairs to develop the Ministerial Agenda and draft the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the WGWEE.