Today, we are proud to celebrate International Women’s Day as a momentous occasion when weacknowledge and recognize the progress made towards achieving gender equality and women empowerment. A few decades ago, the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO)highlightedthe significance of this important day dedicated to women, calling on all sectors of society to march towards gender equality, women’s rights and their rightful place in all spheres at the turn of the century.
In its new strategic plan, ICESCO has identified women’s participation and leadership in peace-building initiatives, science and technology, as among crucialdrivers of change. The development of a dynamic and an all-inclusive ecosystem, ensuring progress for women at all levels, in culture, education, and other socio-economic undertakings, is paramount.
One glaring reality, as nations of the world commit themselves to the UN’s 4th Sustainable Development Goal on education is that girls and women currently comprise 65 percent of the world’s 40 percent illiteracy rate. Education policies still do not adequately address all of the development challengesfaced bygirls and women in vital sectors if we are toachieve sustainable development and growth.These goals can only be achieved if we muster the full and equal participation of women and men in all ofour communities.
Dr Salim AlMalik, Director General of ICESCO, urges us to challenge antiquated gender norms, empower each other,embracediversity and inclusion,dismantlestereotypes, reject discrimination, and act together to safeguard women’s rights and their enormous potential in leadership roles.
ICESCO calls for greater political commitment to gender equality, more effectiveimplementation of laws and policies, activating legislation that preserves women’s dignity and shields them fromhuman rights violations. The Organization also callsfor spreading concepts based on the highest socio-cultural values and necessary legal protections likely to help overcome the obstacles currently hampering women’sparticipation in different economic sectors and to provide all other forms of support to ensure the success of women in all spheres.