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World’s Worst-Scoring Country For Gender Equality Gets Leadership Post in UN Women’s Agency

Editing Office - Geneva

For the past 13 years, a comprehensive annual report has given Yemen the lowest ranking in the world for gender equality. This week Yemen was handed the vice presidency of the executive board of the United Nations gender equality and women’s empowerment agency, UN Women, for 2019. The decision drew strong criticism from a leading non-governmental monitor of the world body. UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer called it “an insult to women’s rights activists worldwide who struggle against the persecution exemplified by Yemen's misogynistic laws and practices.” For the past two years war-torn Yemen has served on the U.N. Women executive board, which comprises 41 members serving three-year terms. This year it will also hold one of four vice presidencies, for the Asia Pacific group (Each year’s president comes from one of the U.N.’s five regional groups, and the four vice presidents from the remaining four.) The decision was taken at a meeting in New York on Tuesday, when Yemen got the post “by acclamation” – that is, it was “elected” without a recorded vote, since no country raised objections and called for one. “Glad to be elected as vice-president of UN Women Executive Board for Asia-Pacific Group for 2019,” tweeted Yemen’s U.N. representative Marwan Ali Noman afterwards. The board’s president and four vice presidents work with UN Women’s secretariat to prepare for and organize formal board meetings, and inform and consult with their respective regional group. They meet once a month through the year, and daily during executive board sessions. has invited the UN Women secretariat to comment on Yemen’s election. On the same day as Yemen got the post, UN Women’s Asia Pacific regional office retweeted a tweet that linked to the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) annual “Global Gender Gap” report.

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