First Quarter Newsletter January-March 2016 Message from the Regional Director

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First Quarter Newsletter  January-March 2016

Message from the Regional Director


Dear Friends,

We are proud to present our first quarterly newsletter for UN Women in Europe and Central Asia. It arrives after an extraordinary beginning to 2016, following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030. These mark a historic commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment. In September, at the Global Leaders Meeting on Gender Equality, over 90 Heads of States and Government pledged specific actions to jumpstart progress for women and girls.  

With gender equality now firmly at the heart of the global agenda, UN Women has called on the world to “Step it Up” for a Planet 50-50 by 2030.

There is much to do, but UN Women is already hard at work in Europe and Central Asia, collaborating with our growing range of partners. This newsletter offers highlights of inspiring achievements in the region that will take us closer to the day when Planet 50-50 finally becomes a reality.

Ingibjorg Gisladottir
UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Representative to Turkey

News Highlights

Celebrating International Women's Day

On and around International Women’s Day on 8 March 2016, countries across Europe and Central Asia joined UN Women’s global call for a Planet 50-50 by 2030, where men and women enjoy equality. At diverse, high-profile events, ordinary citizens, government officials, activists, students, security personnel, scholars and stock exchange officials committed to “Stepping It Up for Gender Equality.”  Read More.

In Focus: Refugees

Women’s specific needs and vulnerabilities are rarely at the forefront of humanitarian response, according to a recent UN Women gender assessment of the refugee and migrant crisis in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia. A summary publication considers the main risks faced by women and girl refugees. It classifies available services, defines barriers, and recommends how to put gender responsiveness at the centre of national and international action. Read More.

Empowering Women in the Economy

Moldova ramps up IT training for girls
GirlsGoIT is unleashing a new source of innovation: tech-savy young women. As part of teaching them digital skills, it hosts local IT clubs and summer camps. Read More.

From the Alps to the yurt: Swiss cheese meets Tajik milk bowls
Through UN Women’s assistance, the Cheese Exchange has brought entrepreneurial Tajik and Swiss women cheese makers together to share skills and develop new products. Read More.

Ending Violence Against Women

Breaking the cycle of human trafficking in Albania
UN Women has helped boost national capacities to address the needs of women and girl survivors of trafficking, and reintegrate them into society. Read More.

Or watch this powerful 45-second video.

Reparations soon for survivors in Kosovo*
Kosovo has begun implementing a landmark law allowing civilian survivors of conflict-related sexual violence to claim reparations.  Read More.
*All references to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999)

Awareness of domestic violence increases in Georgia
Reporting of domestic violence cases has dramatically increased in Georgia. Read more to find out why! A visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women found that prevention of violence and effective prosecution of perpetrators, however, still need to improve.  Read More.

Moving to the Centre of Politics and Plans

Serbia adopts National Strategy for Gender Equality
Serbia commits to concrete steps to improve the lives of women and girls in the next five years. Read More.

Partnership to boost women’s political participation in Turkey
UN Women, in partnership with the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Turkish Parliament, has kicked off a new project to increase women’s leadership and active roles in Turkish politics. Read More.

Women Mobilize for Peace

Regional gathering fosters women’s solidarity in the push for peace in Europe and Central Asia 
UN Women convened government representatives, civil society activists and international institutions in Istanbul to call for increased regional cooperation behind women’s participation in peace and security, and to end gender discrimination. Read More. 

Take a glimpse at our work on women, peace and security in Europe and Central Asia here.

Civil Society Voices

Peace activists call for more women in peace negotiations and the security sector 
Civil society representatives urge more measures for women to take on leadership roles in peace negotiations and the security sector. Read More.

From Where I Stand

In this series, UN Women captures unique and powerful stories of people around the world, showing how they are bringing about change. Here are a few examples from the Europe and Central Asia region.

From where I stand: Pelin Aslantaş
Pelin Aslantaş, 43, is the only female bus driver in the city of Edirne, Turkey. Undaunted by the scepticism of male drivers, her skill and love for the job are allowing her to thrive. Read More.

From where I stand: Surayo Mirzoyeva
In Tajikistan, Surayo Mirzoyeva, 41, used to have no water except a pond shared with livestock. She joined a local self-help group and soon solved the problem with 14 kilometers of pipes. Read More.

From where I stand: Laura Bosnea
Laura Bosnea, 28, was ‘stolen’ in marriage and couldn’t finish school. But social pressure didn’t stop her from becoming a community activist—or one of Moldova’s first Roma women local councillors. Read More.

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