The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
Advancing equality through gender-sensitive infrastructure
To be effective, it is crucial that infrastructure accounts for the needs of all people. UNOPS and UN Women are committed to making that happen.
“Gender-sensitive infrastructure is essential if we are to be serious about empowering women and achieving equality. Without it, our efforts will remain incomplete," said Sanjay Mathur, UNOPS Director for Asia.
Together with UN Women, UNOPS recently organized a panel discussion – ‘Unlocking opportunities for empowerment through gender-sensitive infrastructure’ – at the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on the Beijing+25 Review. The event included senior government ministers, NGOs and high-level representatives from UNOPS and UN Women.
Participants brought forth examples of gender-sensitive initiatives led by women from Myanmar, Fiji and Vietnam and noted the enormous positive difference it can make for communities.
“Gender is the entry point to inclusive infrastructure, which allows for voiceless groups to make their concerns heard,” said Htar Htar, the founder of Akhaya Women Myanmar, a women-led local initiative that provides women with the skills and training necessary to challenge gender stereotypes.
Elisa Fernandez, Head of the UN Women Office in Vietnam noted that gender issues have transitioned in recent years from taboo to mainstream.
“This momentum should be leveraged to ensure that disadvantaged voices are included in the design, planning and management of all infrastructure projects,” she said.
Together, UNOPS and UN Women have developed a series of guides on integrating gender into infrastructure development in the Asia Pacific region that emphasizes the transformative role that infrastructure can play advancing women’s empowerment.