United Nations says Women need to be given a greater role in industries in poorer nations to meet the global goal of cutting poverty by 2030.

The head of the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Li Yong said empowering women will be a priority in his second four-year stint as director general of the agency which oversees about 860 projects to boost economic growth and tackle poverty.

Data shows about half of the world’s women are in the labour force compared with about 75 per cent of men, hold less senior roles and earn on average 60 to 75 per cent of what men make.

But studies repeatedly show that more women working accelerates economic growth, while women also invest more of their income into families to educate children and end poverty.

“We need to look at how our projects help women’s empowerment and job creation,” Li, formerly of China’s Ministry of Finance, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview at UNIDO’s 17th General Conference in Vienna.

“Lots of projects like agro-industry are related to women’s empowerment … and one part of our evaluation is to look at women’s empowerment, at training, at jobs, all those things that are very concrete measures.”

Li was widely praised in his first term in office for re-establishing UNIDO as a key development organisation in the UN system with a mission to promote industry as a driver to create jobs, boost prosperity, and reduce poverty.

Some countries had questioned the purpose…

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