Japan to promote 'womenomics', pledges over $3 bn ODA

United Nations, Sep 27 (IANS) Japan will promote "womenomics" -- a theory which asserts that the advancement of women in society is directly correlated with its growth rate -- and give over $3 billion of official development assistance (ODA) in the next three years targeting women's participation in society and the empowerment of women, says Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Addressing the UN General Assembly on development and growth, Abe said creating an environment in which women find it comfortable to work and enhancing opportunities for them to be active in society would create a "society in which women shine". The ODA would also go towards health and medical care for women; and prevention and resolution of conflict as related to women.

Elaborating on this, Abe spoke of Tokiko Sato, a Japanese aid specialist, who dedicated her life to improving maternal, newborn and child health in a remote village in Jordan.

His second example was Nilufa Yeasmin of Bangladesh, who, working as a salesperson and instructor on the use of a Japanese water depurative system, showed the benefits of promoting women's participation in society.

The last example was Islam Bibi, an Afghan police officer who guarded polling stations in order to monitor elections and who was recently assassinated. Her example showed the importance of women's participation and protection in the areas of peace and security.

"Japan intends to make efforts towards measures that will ensure the participation of women at all stages, including the prevention and resolution of conflicts, as well as peace-building, safeguarding the rights and physical well-being of women who are exposed to danger in times of conflicts," he said.

As the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals had been slow in these three areas, Japan promised greater efforts in the field of health and medical care for women, he said.

Abe pledged financial and diplomatic support to UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), especially on the issue of sexual violence against women, as well as protection of women in natural disasters.

Japan would implement official development assistance (ODA) in excess of $3 billion over the next three years, he said.