Commission on the Status of Women meetings start
The UN’s largest gathering on gender equality and women’s rights takes place in the UN’s headquarters in New York this week.
Its focus is on “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work”.
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the single largest forum for UN Member States and other international actors with a focus on women’s rights and empowerment, and builds consensus and commitment to actionable policy recommendations.
This session comes at a critical moment, with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development gaining momentum and the world of work transforming rapidly, bringing both challenges and opportunities for women’s economic empowerment and economic justice.
Today’s workplaces are increasingly being shaped by innovation, globalisation and human mobility, but they are also deeply impacted by persistent gender-based discrimination, rising informality of labour and income inequality.
This 61st session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will deliberate on the key issues that significantly affect women and girls in the sphere of work, ranging from the gender pay gap to unpaid work, the challenges of the informal economy and the opportunities created by care and green economies and new technologies.
Only 49.6 per cent of working age women – compared to 76 per cent of men – are represented in the labour force globally; women take on 2.5 times more unpaid work than men, and the global gender pay gap is 23 per cent.
Women are over-represented among the 73 per cent of the world’s population that has limited or no social protection – that is, policies and programmes designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability by promoting efficient labour markets, diminishing people’s exposure to risks, and enhancing their capacity to manage economic and social risks, such as unemployment, exclusion, sickness, disability and old age.
And according to World Economic Forum’s latest Gender Gap Report, at this pace, economic equality between men and women cannot be achieved for another 170 years – and at the present pace of change, it will take 70 years to close the gender wage gap.
Research also shows that if women played an identical role in labour markets to that of men, as much as USD28 trillion, or 26 per cent, could be added to the global annual GDP by 2025.
Eleven countries will be making voluntary presentations on their progress in implementing the recommendations adopted by the Commission at its 58th session, and during the general discussion many governments will report on progress made at the national level.
Complementing this, 20 countries have additionally reported on implementing the commitments made at the gathering UN Women hosted in 2015, where world leaders committed to putting gender equality at the top of their agenda and kick-start rapid change in conjunction with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
This strong political action has gained traction, with close to 100 countries announcing concrete commitments for women and girls.
This is the second set of updates, joining the 25 countries that provided updates in October 2016, at the 71st session of the General Assembly.
Their reports show that countries across the Asia-Pacific, Europe, Africa and the Americas are stepping up action to deliver on their pledges to gender equality, and boosting efforts to bridge the vast gender gaps that still exist.
Live and archived webcasts of key UN Women events will be available throughout CSW61: to watch them click here.
And the Commission will symbolically mark the global gender pay gap on 14 March, at 4.10pm, with a 3-minute suspension of its proceedings.
UN Women’s Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said: “The Commission‘s deliberations on the changing world of work will foster the comprehensive consideration of this topic and achieve a forward-looking outcome.
“This includes addressing how strongly the home influences the destiny of women and girls, preparing them for certain jobs.
“We must turn around the stereotypes that confine their perspectives, build new social infrastructure for clean water, energy and sanitation to reduce the time women spend on unpaid care, and expand their exposure to education and careers.”
“Achieving women’s economic empowerment is critical to making sure that no one is left behind, to ensuring economic justice and making Agenda 2030 a reality.”