New UN Women Office in the Republic of Korea Convenes Partners to Advance Gender Equality

by Asmaa Elwahy
The new UN Women office in the Republic of Korea convened its partners today to advance gender equality in the Asia-Pacific region. Photo: UN Women/Jaeki Kim

Seoul, Republic of Korea — Over 100 partners and guests gathered in Seoul to celebrate the formal opening of the new office of the UN Women Centre of Excellence for Gender Equality (“the Centre”) in Seoul. The reception was attended by government officials, members of the diplomatic community, representatives of UN agencies, civil society leaders, and experts from the Republic of Korea (“Korea”) and countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

With support from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MOGEF) of the Republic of Korea (“Korea”), the Centre has been established to improve the implementation of normative and policy frameworks and address discriminatory social norms and practices that perpetuate gender inequality in Asia and the Pacific. Leveraging UN Women’s technical and operational capacities as well as existing networks and platforms, the Centre provides specialized gender trainings to diverse stakeholders, conducts research and promotes gender statistics, and facilitates multi-stakeholder partnerships to advance gender equality. The UN Women Centre of Excellence for Gender Equality is the first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region.

To date, the Centre has helped train over 200 people from various groups and institutions within the Asia-Pacific region on several themes such as ending violence against women, climate change and disaster risk reduction, and gender data and statistics.

This week in Seoul (on 6-8 December 2022), the Centre is also convening an expert consultation on Women and Technology Data. The consultation brings together leading gender and data experts from Korea and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss how women and men interact with technology and how benefits of technology for gender equality can be harnessed. In 2023, the Centre plans to scale up its activities, including a thematic focus on women and technology in alignment with the sixty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

In her congratulatory speech at the Reception, Minister Kim Hyunsook said, “I hope that the UN Women Centre of Excellence for Gender Equality will grow into an organization that contributes to strengthening gender equality policies for a sustainable future in Asia and the Pacific and beyond.”

Attending the reception, H.E. Catherine Raper, Australian Ambassador to Korea, said: “The opening of the UN Women Centre of Excellence for Gender Equality is a proud moment for the Republic of Korea and an important development for our region. Now it is more important than ever for us to promote and achieve gender equality. I look forward to this Centre playing a meaningful and significant role in advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women.”

Jeongshim Lee, Director of the Centre, said: “Our Centre aims to become a knowledge and partnership hub for the Asia-Pacific region.” “We also hope to contribute to evidence-based policy-making for realization of the gender equality agenda,” Ms. Lee added.

After the signing of the agreement between MOGEF and UN Women earlier this year, the Centre has recruited staff through open international processes, held its first Steering Committee meeting, and finalized the office renovation. The new office of the Centre has been set up in the Seoul Global Centre, which houses several other UN agencies such as UNICEF, OHCHR, and FAO.

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