Jeddah (UNA-OIC) – Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen stressed the importance of women’s issues as well as their empowerment, advancement of their status, and prohibiting discrimination against them.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day marked yearly on March 8, Al-Othaimeen underlined that women’s issues are among the OIC’s top priorities based on its conviction that strengthening the role of women in the comprehensive development process requires taking concrete measures to ensure their active participation at various levels.
On this occasion, which is held this year under the slogan “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World,” the OIC chief congratulated women in the Islamic world and across the globe for all their achievements in all fields, especially the tremendous efforts they have been making in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and recovering from it.
Al-Othaimeen indicated that women everywhere have proven during this pandemic that they are worthy of assuming leadership and decision-making roles, as women stood on the frontlines alongside men in combating COVID-19 in the fields of medical care, community and civic organizations, nursing homes, education sector, and others. He added that women have demonstrated their practical skills and ability in making sound decisions and measures to support national and international efforts to combat and recover from the virus.
He emphasized that the OIC has taken various measures to empower women, advance their status, prohibit discrimination against them, and face the Member States’ relevant challenges. These measures included launching a sector conference for women every two years and adopting the OIC’s Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women (OPAAW). Add to these the introduction of the OIC’s Prize for Women’s Achievements and the establishment of the Women Development Organization (WDO), the first OIC’s specialized body concerned with women’s affairs, which began its work last year after its statute entered into force.
The Secretary-General also seized this occasion to call on Member States and the international community to intensify efforts to protect women from marginalization and exclusion and to enable them to participate in the decision-making process in all fields, in order to achieve sustainable development.