Engaging the Women’s Empowerment Departments in Implementing and Monitoring SDG5 (Gender Equality) and the 2030 Agenda in Iraq

By Sundus Abbas Gender specialist and SDGs focal point

September 21, 2021

Photo: The Participants, 2021

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its guiding principle “leaving no one behind” aims to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and girls, irrespective of age, race, situation, location, or economic positioning. To achieve the aims laid out in the 2030 Agenda, in particular those relating to SDG 5 (Gender Equality and women empowerment), requires a combined effort.

On the 13 and 14 September 2021, UNDP in cooperation with the Women’s Empowerment Directorate, held an intensive two-day workshop in Baghdad with participation of 37 gender focal points in women’s empowerment departments in sub-national and ministries. This combined initiative came after the recently signed memorandum of understanding between UNDP and the Council of Ministers Secretariat. It is reflective of a determined effort to join collectively and expediate actions undertaken to achieve SDG 5 and eradicate gender inequality in Iraq.

The purpose of the workshop was to enhance the capacity of women empowerment departments, by increasing their level of technical knowledge and building their understanding, as well as to engage them to take action by ensuring that they recognise the importance of their role as women’s empowerment offices in accelerating the achievement of the fifth goal and supporting the sustainable development goals.  Accordingly, the 37 participants who joined the workshop were provided with a range of high-quality technical and informative training sessions.

n gender mainstreaming, gender analysis and its importance for women and girls in Iraq. Participants worked together as groups to identify the challenges facing women's empowerment offices in their governorates or ministries. In light of this, an effective tools that can be used to find innovative solutions to the problems.

Following this, the participants were given a session on the framework for equality and empowerment between men and women. They were asked to apply this framework in a practical manner to their specific governorate and ministry context. This highlighted the importance of considering community-based approaches.

with the support of the Central Statistical Bureau, the participants were provided a technical training on the methods used to measure the gender gap in different sectors at the sub-national level to meet the efforts towards decentralisation.

Lastly, a crucial action plan was laid out and agreed upon with relation to follow-up activities and goals to be achieved by the group in a combined effort. Specifically, this includes the building of an essential gender disaggregated database related to SDG5 targets and indicators - an initiative that will be led by the Directorate of Women's Empowerment with the support of the United Nations Development Program.

 Workshops, such as this, not only help to raise awareness and develop understanding but they also encourage all types of stakeholders to engage in the efforts taken towards achieving gender equality in Iraq. As Osama Saeed, a participant coming from the Basra, reflected "gender mainstreaming contributes to the political and economic empowerment of women in Iraq".