UNFPA and UN Women, together with the European Union, have launched a three-year regional program to tackle gender stereotypes and gender-based violence in six countries of the Eastern Partnership (EaP): Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, IPN reports, quoting a press release.
With support from the European Union, the two UN sister agencies will work with government bodies and civil society partners in the six countries to challenge deeply ingrained gender stereotypes, increase men’s involvement in domestic work and childcare, and engage with potential perpetrators to prevent gender-based violence.
The program, entitled “EU 4 Gender Equality: Together Against Gender Stereotypes and Gender-Based Violence,” ultimately seeks to strengthen equal rights and opportunities for women and men by challenging perceptions about men’s and women’s roles in the family and in society and working to eliminate gender-based violence.
“During the COVID-19 crisis, we have unfortunately seen an increase in women’s unpaid care workload and in cases of gender-based violence across the six countries,” said Alanna Armitage, UNFPA Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.“Our program comes at the right time to fight these trends. We all have to work hand-in-hand to build a more just, equal, safe and secure world for all.”
“This is our first regional program covering gender equality in the Eastern Partnership region and we are intensely proud of it,” stated Lawrence Meredith, Director for Neighborhood East in the Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations at the European Commission. “We can and we will do more to develop this underused economic and social potential with our Eastern neighbors. As we emerge from the pandemic, we will propose that the future Eastern Partnership be more inclusive.”
“We will work closely with governments and civil society organizations in the six countries to ensure the success of the program,” said Alia El-Yassir, UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. “This work is even more crucial now as the COVID-19 crisis has put into stark relief the imbalanced distribution of responsibilities based on traditional gender stereotypes.”
The program has a budget of €7,875,000 and is anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework, launched by the United Nations in 2015, and the EU Action Plan 2016-2020 on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Transforming the Lives of Girls and Women Through EU External Relations. It provides a unique opportunity for the EU and the six participating countries to affect social discourse, perceptions, and practices related to gender equality with the ultimate goal of achieving gender equality and related SDGs.