On the first day of committee sessions, the UN Women committee discussed the value of education for women in the MENA region. During the first session of the second day, the delegates of Malaysia, the UK, the USA and the Republic of Korea presented a working paper that introduced possible solutions to the issues brought up the day before.
While presenting their working paper to the committee, the delegates explained that the first step towards providing equal opportunities to men and women is ensuring that the governments look at amending laws within the country. An aspect of this was to ensure that every citizen be given equal access to education regardless of their gender. The group cited the situation in America where quality education is expensive and students who are unable to afford it are struggling to obtain financial aid. The delegates of Malaysia, the UK and the Republic of Korea urged the governments to allow a larger number of students to obtain financial aid.
The working paper further encouraged the governments of the MENA region to address the issue of illiteracy as it is not seen to be significant in the region. People living in the Middle East & North Africa should be aware of the benefits of education and how the lack thereof has affected the development of the MENA region. The authors of the paper suggested working with NGOs to help raise awareness about the issue. The working paper further suggested that measures such as introducing more government schools in the region should be put in place to ensure greater affordability of education for women.
However, the delegates decided to leave Iraq out of their “educational scheme” since they want their change to be successful and Iraq’s proximity to major terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS is a threat. The countries presenting the working paper claim that they do not want to further endanger the lives of women by educating. This was said in light of violent behaviour towards women who seek education in the region.
To ensure that the effect of the amendment of existing laws or the passing of new laws to improve the situation of women, the delegates proposed the idea of passing out surveys and analysing the results obtained.
Reporter: Vadaanya Singh
Editor: Akshita Mathur