By: Joy Odor/Kaduna.
The Head of the United Nations Industrial Development Agency, (UNIDO) Mr. Li Yong has disclosed that about half of the women in the world are in the labour force compared with about 75 percent of men, hold less senior roles and earn on average 60 to 75 percent of what men make.
Mr. Li Yong who stated this to Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview with Belinda Goldsmith at UNIDO’s 17th General Conference in Vienna on Monday after being voted in for a second term affirmed that the studies repeatedly show that more women working accelerate economic growth, while women also invest more of their income into families to educate children and end poverty.
According to him, women need to be given a greater role in industries in poorer nations to meet the global goal of cutting poverty by 2030.
Li Yong said empowering women will be a priority in his second four-year stint as Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which oversees about 860 projects to boost economic growth and tackle poverty.
“We need to look at how our projects help women’s empowerment and job creation,”
“Lots of projects like agro-industry are related to women’s empowerment and one part of our evaluation is to look at women’s empowerment, at training, at jobs, all those things that are very concrete measures” He said.
Mr. Li who is formerly of China’s Ministry of Finance said UNIDO’s core mission had never been more relevant.
He said poverty, employment and hunger remain major challenges, exacerbated by climate change, resource depletion, environmental degradation and the potential impact of new technology which will cut jobs, with women to be worst hit.
According to him, “Africa remained a priority, but climate change meant thinking differently about manufacturing, particularly in low-lying small island nations with limited resources”.
“Such nations import expensive crude oil to generate power”he noted.
However, Representatives of UNIDO’s 168 member states, said Mr. Li had changed the focus to support developing countries and find ways to build sustainable, environmentally friendly businesses using fewer resources, less energy and generating less waste.
He had also encouraged public and private, local and international partnerships such as setting up agro-industrial parks and introducing clean tanning technology to India’s leather industry.
“Li was widely praised in his first term in office for re-establishing UNIDO as a key development organization in the U.N. system with a mission to promote industry as a driver to create jobs, boost prosperity, and reduce poverty” he said.