On 5 April the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) opened its doors to welcome over 500 participants, including government officials, private sector, civil society and academia, to brainstorm on what needs to be done to empower 4.6 billion women and youth worldwide.
The discussion brought to light real life examples of a challenging environment in fragile and conflict affected contexts where more than half of the world’s poor will be living by 2030. Speakers ranging from royal families to CEOs, to youth ambassadors, to social entrepreneurs shared their stories what economic empowerment of women and youth meant for them.
ACCESS TO EDUCATION
Ms Noella Muhamiriza, the Girl Ambassador for Peace for the Democratic Republic of the Congo urged participants to place gender equality at the center of elementary school education, working with the local people on the ground who understand the local culture. “In our traditional culture family tends to be above the law. Recently a teenage girl was stabbed in the heart by her uncle three times and died. It is assumed that the family will resolve the issue,” explained Noella.
“In post-conflict countries there is a loss of moral compass. That means that everybody’s behaviour is in survival mode. If it means that they have to kill somebody or step on the rights of somebody, it does not matter. They are going to survive and that is their goal,” said H.E. First Lady of Aghanistan Rula Ghani. She highlighted the existing gap between carefully crafted legislation on gender equality in Afghanistan and the implementation. “Our education system is not doing very well — we need to improve our education for boys and girls.”
Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark also referenced this issue, saying, "greater gender equality is linked to a higher level of education, better health, higher per capita income, stronger competitiveness and more inclusive and rapid economic growth.”