Image credit: UN Women - Photo: 2017

UN Focuses on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment

By Jaya Ramachandran

NEW YORK (IDN) – Gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, which is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, will draw the focus in the month of March.

The month would not only witness International Women’s Day on March 8 with focus on ‘Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030‘, but also the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women – CSW61 (2017) from March 13 to 21 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

As UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, points out, the world of work is changing, and with significant implications for women.

“On one hand, we have globalization, technological and digital revolution and the opportunities they bring, and on the other hand, the growing informality of labour, unstable livelihoods and incomes, new fiscal and trade policies and environmental impacts – all of which must be addressed in the context of women’s economic empowerment.”

The 2030 Agenda, adopted in 2015 by world leaders, envisages achievement of the goals, including ending poverty, promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, reducing inequalities within and between countries, and achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls. This rests upon unlocking the full potential of women in the world of work.

Measures that are key to ensuring women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work must include bridging the gender pay gap, which stands at 24 per cent globally; recognizing women’s unpaid care and domestic work and addressing the gender deficit in care work; as well as addressing the gender gaps in leadership, entrepreneurship and access to social protection; and ensuring gender-responsive economic policies for job creation, poverty reduction and sustainable, inclusive growth.

Furthermore, policies must count for the overwhelming majority of women in the informal economy, promote women’s access to innovative technologies and practices, decent work and climate-resilient jobs and protect women from violence in the work place.

These points are stressed in the Report of the Secretary-General titled ‘Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work’.

The CSW61 will focus on ‘Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work’. The emerging issue will be The empowerment of indigenous women’. In preparation for the CSW61, UN Women convened an Expert Group Meeting on the priority theme: “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work” at ILO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, from September 26 to 28, 2016.

The Commission on the Status of Women, a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), is a global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The Commission was established by ECOSOC resolution 11(II) of June 21, 1946 with a mandate to prepare recommendations on promoting women’s rights in political, economic, civil, social and educational fields.

The CSW is also responsible for monitoring, reviewing and appraising progress achieved and problems encountered in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995 and of the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly of 2000, at all levels, and to support gender mainstreaming.

The Commission also contributes to the follow-up on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development so as to accelerate the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

The CSW annual session is a key opportunity for policy makers, advocates, researchers and activists to network and strategize, mobilize and plan new initiatives and actions to further the cause of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The sixty-first session of the Commission will address as its priority theme ‘Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work ’. In addition, it will evaluate progress in the implementation of the agreed conclusions from the fifty-eighth session (2014) on ‘Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls’.

According to UN Women, the ten-day session will include a ministerial segment with round tables and other high-level interactive dialogues, a general discussion, as well as interactive and expert panel discussions. Stakeholders will organize many side events to draw attention to critical aspects of the work on gender equality. [IDN-InDepthNews – 01 March 2017]

Image credit: UN Women

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.

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