NAM and Women Empowerment

Women’s condition has always been a major concern for societies and leaders, especially in modern times. The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the largest and the most influential grouping of countries of developing world, that adhere to common principles in dealing with relationships between states, has been discussing the role of women in the development of their societies prominently in its various summits. NAM Member States, in their individual capacity have also taken a host of measures to promote the empowerment of women.
A major initiative of NAM in this regards was the e first NAM Ministerial Meeting dedicated to women titled “Empowering women in the face of the challenges of globalization” and held in Putrajaya – Malaysia on May 9th 2005, that addressed issues such as protecting women against wars and diseases, granting them political and economic rights, giving them a better access to education and employment, enforcing laws enacted for the protection of women from domestic violence, increasing their capacity and achieving gender equality in addition to eliminating all forms of discrimination against them, adopting measures to strengthen the role of women in political life, decision-making and in the field of information technology. This first Meeting also gave birth to the NAM Institute for the Empowerment of Women (NIEW), which has since been a standard-bearer of the women’s cause. A second dedicated Ministerial Meeting, held in Guatemala City on January 21st 2009 affirmed and commended all previous resolutions regarding the Advancement of Women, providing a valuable opportunity for progress and continuous communication on achieving all the main objectives related to the rights of women in civil society. Moreover, women had their share in virtually all NAM meetings and conferences, demonstrating the movement’s firm commitment to women’s cause. Hence a summit of First Ladies was held in the same time as the 15th Summit of the NAM in Sharm el Sheikh – Egypt on July 11 to 16, 2009, which stressed the important role women can play to fight crises, the need to stop violence against them, the need to increase their involvement in public life and decision-making, and the importance of giving them a better access to education.
In the Tehran Declaration that followed the 16th summit of NAM, leaders of the movement, expressed their resolve to take appropriate measures at the national, regional and international levels to improve the quality of life and achieve gender equality and empowerment of women, bearing in mind the inherent potential of women, through inter alia adopting proper socio- economic strategies and programmes and provisions of government services to all women particularly women with disabilities and women in rural areas, including access to health, education, justice services, transportation and housing, as well as economic empowerment and strengthening family well-being and reaffirmed their commitment to actively promote the mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes, in all political, economic and social spheres, ensuring full representation and full and equal participation of women as critical partners in the eradication of poverty.
NAM has constantly stood for greater and active participation of women in all spheres. At the Algiers NAM Ministerial meet, leaders welcomed the increasing representation of women at the highest political levels and in elected Assemblies, including the recent examples in NAM Member states, and in this context underlined the importance of promoting equal participation of women in the political systems of NAM Members, in accordance with Millennium Development Goal No. 3 “Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women”. In this regard, NAM noted with great interest the United Nations new policy to enhance women participation in leading UN senior officials’ structures.
NAM regards greater participation of women in labour market and their economic self reliance. NAM countries regard the importance of relationship between employment and empowerment and have therefore designed programmes that focus on access to employment opportunities and working conditions at the societal level, and promote greater share of women among economic resources. In India, the strategy adopted for the programmes in the areas of women development involves empowerment of women through education and awareness generation and greater emphasis on vocational training and employment so as to enable them to enter the mainstream of economic development as equal partners.
It is mainly due to the understanding and efforts of developing and non-aligned countries that the issue of the status of women is no longer exclusively seen concerning the women’s movement, or as a humanitarian and legal problem, it has become one of the prominent questions of every country’s development.

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