The State of Gender in OIC Member Countries
Date : 31 March 2013

Today gender equality and women’s empowerment in all fields of social and economic life is gaining importance from the perspectives of both policy development and human rights. Following international commitments and guidelines most of the development policies have already been based on the principle of incorporating the priorities and needs of both women and men in order to offer equal opportunity for access to all the benefits and services provided to the society. The United Nations Beijing Declaration’s 12 Critical Areas of Concern provided an international framework for action on the advancement and empowerment of women; however there are still some problems regarding integration of gender related aspects into all operational levels of policy implementations across the world (UN World Women Report, 2010).

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) “gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviour, activities and attributes that a particular society considers appropriate for men and women”. Consequently gender relations are the ways in which a culture or society defines rights, responsibilities, and the identities of men and women in relation to one another. Unfortunately, in this type of the word “gender “is often misunderstood as only referring to women. However, gender issues encompass the relationships between men and women, their roles, access to and control over resources, the division of labour, etc. Furthermore, gender relations impact on household security, the well-being of the family, fertility planning, production and many other aspects of life (Bravo-Baumann, 2000).

Gender related issues have also been incorporated into the political concerns of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The OIC Ten-Year Programme of Action draws attention to the enhancement of the involvement of women in economic, cultural, social and political fields of social life and encourages Member States to sign and ratify the international agreements on the rights of child and elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.

Against this background this special report aims to highlight differences between men and women and, give an insight into the current state of OIC member countries as a group at global level, by comparing them with the world and other country groups. Depending on the gender disaggregated data availability, four important aspects of social and economic life including demographic facts, health, education and employment are discussed to understand the current status of men and women across the OIC. Furthermore the data gaps were discussed in order to highlight the priority areas needed to improve in terms of data availability.

Online Electronic Version

The State of Gender in OIC Member Countries (English)