International Women’s Day

Talking points: Madam Sahle-Work Zewde, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi

Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen to this important Town Hall which has been organized by the Network of Women Leaders in the UN Nairobi Duty Station, which I co-chair together with the Regional Director for UN Women’s regional Office for East and Southern Africa, Izeduwa Derex -Briggs who regrets missing this event but has had to be away to support preparations for the CSW 62 taking place in New York.

I also especially wish to thank the Heads of Agencies present here today for taking the time to attend this Town Hall, and show their support as we mark International Women's Day (March 8) – which is a day that is celebrated globally, to recognize the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women

This is just one of the events that has been on-going in the lead up to this important day:

  1. Over the past week, UNDP Kenya Country Office has set up a photo booth where they have been inviting colleagues to take a portrait photograph at the cost of Kes. 500/= each. The proceeds will be used directed towards the drought response appeal.
  2. This morning, if you go to the lobby area, they have mounted a photo display which celebrates the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day and the CSW 62. They will also be showcasing some portraits taken, and also the women working within this Duty Station
  3. Yesterday, we also launched the International Gender Champions- Nairobi Hub, during which UN Heads of Agencies made commitments towards the advancement of gender equality and the empowerment of women, within their spheres of influence. 

The Network of Women Leaders in the UN Nairobi Duty Station, was established, to bring together senior women leaders in UNON committed to the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment, within the UN Nairobi Duty station, and in their areas of work. 

For the Network, today is therefore particularly key. This year the theme is:

“Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”.

Within the UN, we have chosen to also say that the

Time is Now for the attainment of gender parity within the UN development system.

The launch of the UN Secretary General’s launch of the Gender Parity Strategy in September 2017, marks a critical moment for this agenda. The fact that this Strategy has been launched by the new Secretary General within 9 months of his assuming this role, speaks to his commitment to this issue

Within his Senior Management Group, the UN Secretary General has already achieved gender balance, but there is more to be done within the broader UN system 

The aim of this Town Hall is to unpackage this Strategy of the Secretary General and to learn how some agencies have chosen to take this agenda forward.

We will also have an opportunity to hear what the preliminary findings have been of analysis of the status of women and men within agencies located in this duty station. This study mirrors the report produced by UN Women on the “Status of Women in the United Nations System” published in 2016 which the Secretary General highlighted in his report on the “Improvement of the Status of Women in the UN system” of July 2017.  

The outcomes, once finalized, will be used to inform efforts in this Duty Station to advance gender parity.

Without further ado, I wish to introduce Mariama Daramy-Lewis, Senior Advisor, Human Resources, (Chief, HR & Training Section), UN Environment who will unpackage for us what this strategy is about. 

Welcome Mariama. I look forward to interesting deliberations.