The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

UNOPS and UN Women bring discussion on gender and infrastructure to CSW62 in New York

The side event “What do you see? Insight to gender mainstreaming in infrastructure” included high-level speakers from Finland, Sri Lanka and Sweden, as well as McKinsey.

“Infrastructure design must underpin equality,” said Nick O’Regan, UNOPS Director of Infrastructure.

Our children and the children of those we serve have great expectations of an equitable future, it is on us to create that future.”

Discussions brought to the fore a variety of experiences from speakers and audience members, where public spaces and infrastructure have reaped positive outcomes when they integrated an inclusive approach to the needs of women and girls.

Speakers also pointed to times when this wasn’t the case.

“Without women’s participation, big infrastructure projects can fail. At UN Women we are trying to raise this voice among policy makers” said Maria-Noel Vaeza, Director of UN Women’s Programme Division.

“Gender-sensitive infrastructure is a part of the solution to empowering rural women and girls,” noted Anne Meskanen, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Issues and Gender Equality for Finland.

Also, at the event, UNOPS and UN Women officially launched their “I Know Gender” how-to training module for mainstreaming gender equality in infrastructure projects.

“Its’s not easy to replicate one best practice: What works in Afghanistan may not work in Burundi, for example. We need to know the local context, and involve women and girls from the beginning,” said Kara De Kretser, UNOPS Technical Analyst.

She added: “Where is the best location for a water point? One place may be convenient for a decision maker, but how does the positioning of a water point implicate the rest of the activities that a woman may need to do in a day – that is what’s important.”

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