The Third Meeting of the Working Group on Women’s Economic Empowerment (WGWEE) was hosted virtually by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia on 26 November 2020, and co-chaired by Mauritius. The Meeting was attended by 34 participants from ministries responsible for gender equality from 12 IORA Member States and 2 Dialogue Partners, some of whom are pictured here.
Participants reviewed progress in implementing the IORA Action Plan 2017-21, and the WGWEE’s Work Plan. These plans set out priority activities for IORA to empower women in the region. The meeting welcomed progress under the IORA-UN Women partnership, supported by Australia, towards delivering two comprehensive research reports and a series of webinars to promote the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) in the region. The meeting also welcomed analysis and recommendations by the Secretariat on IORA’s own performance in facilitating equal participation of men and women within the association, as well as charting a way forward in implementing recommendations from earlier research from the HSRC on empowering women in the Blue Economy (report here).
The meeting noted some significant challenges and slower than expected implementation in some areas, including due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due the disproportionate impact on women, the meeting resolved to prioritise resilience and response to the pandemic in its future activities.
Outcomes of the meeting will be considered by the next meeting of IORA’s Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) to be held on 15-16 December 2020.