UNRWA held its fourth annual awards ceremony to name the Woman of the Year and Man of Equality in Action 2012. Organised by the UNRWA Gaza Women’s Committee (UWGC), the event acknowledged colleagues for their commitment, dedication and important contribution to improve UNRWA’s work, strengthen services to Palestine refugees and promote gender equality in the Gaza Strip.
“Equality at UNRWA is crucial to the progressive development of our organization and will ensure the ongoing quality of service we provide to the Refugees”, said Margot Ellis, Deputy Commissioner General who attended the event.
During the ceremony, female staff members were awarded for their initiative, teamwork and leadership. “Women represent over 50 percent of UNRWA’s staff in Gaza. Their contribution to the realization of UNRWA’s mandate – to provide assistance, protection and advocacy for Palestine refugees in Gaza – is essential,” said UNRWA’s Director in Gaza Robert Turner.
“In addition to celebrating Woman of the Year, UNRWA marks the Man of Equality in Action 2012. This is an award for one male staff member who not only supports the concept of gender equality, but actively encourages change and applies the principles of gender equality in his work. Achieving the change we want to see requires the resolute engagement of both men and women and it is these combined efforts that will enable us to achieve gender equality,” Mr. Turner added.
Creating a structure for change
Providing UNRWA’s female workforce in Gaza with mechanisms through which their voices are more clearly heard, the UGWC fosters gender equity and equality and creates a structure for change that enables women to more actively participate in the work of the Agency and implement changes that improve services for Palestine refugee women.
“No one can make the role of women a secondary one. Palestinian women have an equal part in our past, our history and in our society today and they are as active as their male partners in creating positive change and development,” said Dr. Ghada Al-Jadba, Chairwoman of the UGWC.
UGWC supports the work of UNRWA to improve the gender-balance within the Agency through organizing a range of training and learning activities to enhance women’s professional opportunities. Throughout the year, the Committee provides more than 2,000 female staff members in Gaza with professional development opportunities such as information and communications technology training and English-language courses.