UAE Minister of State Noura Al Kaabi has spoken out against the ongoing exclusion of women in decision-making at a ministerial debate on women, peace, and security during the 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. Al Kaabi emphasized the urgent need for action to address the worsening situation of women's rights globally, citing a recent trend in which progress achieved in this area has been lost.
"The message is clear: Globally, with every one step forward for women and girls, we take two steps back," Al Kaabi said. She insisted that the exclusion and disregard for women's rights is "no longer acceptable" and called for action by all attending states.
Al Kaabi expressed particular concern over the situation in Afghanistan, where women and girls have been systematically excluded from all areas of life since the Taliban takeover in 2021. She called for their roles to be strengthened and cited a report from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan that claimed the Taliban's ban on female education "may amount to gender persecution, a crime against humanity."
During the opening session of the Commission, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also voiced his concerns about the slow progress of gender equality. He stated that "on the current track, UN Women puts it [gender equality] 300 years away."
In preparation for COP 28, Al Kaabi cited the UAE's efforts to bridge the gender gap. She noted that two-thirds of the UAE's leadership team and more than half of the management team are women. She stressed that "excuses for excluding women are no longer acceptable and we must all hold ourselves to the same standards."
In conclusion, Al Kaabi's remarks underscore the critical need for action to end the exclusion of women in decision-making and to advance gender equality. The UAE's efforts to bridge the gender gap demonstrate that progress is possible, but there is still much work to be done to ensure that women's rights are respected and protected around the world.