The Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum (ICYF) joins the International Community in observing 08 March, the International Day of Women, and in doing so, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations and best wishes to women throughout the world in general and to women in the Muslim world in particular. The ICYF welcomes the well-chosen theme for this year, “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”, for encouraging societies to provide equal opportunities for women in their quest for building better communities and innovating to change the precarious situations that most of the countries face when it comes to women’s contribution for development and progress.
This day reminds us of the importance of women in societies and nations and their location in the most important historical stations, social changes and political interactions. We must remember that women comprise half the population in OIC Member States and the cause of seeking their advancement and participation in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres constitutes an imperative. Muslim women and indeed women of the world are faced with a host of daunting challenges and issues that continue to impede their overall development. Our efforts must remain focused at removing discrimination against women and addressing such impediments. This would require a determined, sustained and committed collective effort to devote our energies and resources towards bring women into the mainstream of the societies by creating conditions that would facilitate with regard to playing their due role as partners in development. Their legitimate claims and demands for equal treatment, access to opportunities, role in affairs of the state including policy and decision making and protection from violence and abuse must be met, particularly for young girls.
Upon the assumption of office as ICYF President in December 2018, we took the initiative of prioritizing young women related issues by including in the projects to be implemented in near future a Training Camp under the theme “Empowerment of Girls and Young Women in Crisis Zones”, by requesting the OIC Women Consultative Council (WCC) to participate and contribute in the ICYF activities under the item of Girls and Young Women Development Programme within the Joint Youth Action Plan, and by approaching the Commission on Status of Women (CSW) towards understanding how ICYF could be part of such an important gathering discussing women issues.
On this occasion, we reaffirm our stand by the important issues of women, which societies can only develop through their adoption and the need to respect them. From this rostrum, we reaffirm our support for women suffering from the scourge of war, violence and persecution throughout the world, it is also a day that we stand in unity for hope and change for those women with limited opportunities and those without voices around the world. We also appreciate and support all the efforts made by struggling women to promote their societies and nations, and those women around the world who use their voice to help make our world a better place for women.
The importance and role of women is recognized and strengthened by Islam through Quran and Sunna. Our Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him says “Observe your duty to Allah in respect to the women and treat them well.” As an Islamic institution for youth, we adhere to this principle and strive to apply it and develop it in accordance with the developments of this time, and we are convinced that Improving women’s lives directly improves the lives their societies.
Istanbul, 08 March 2019