CSW61: Agreed Conclusions

Office for WomenInternational ForumsThe UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Publication author(s):
Department of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet
Publication abstract:

The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has released the Agreed Conclusions of its 61st Session.

Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work 

Agreed conclusions 

1.       The Commission on the Status of Women reaffirms the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action,[1] the outcome documents of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly[2] and the declarations adopted by the Commission on the occasion of the tenth, fifteenth and twentieth anniversaries of the Fourth World Conference on Women.[3]

2.       The Commission reiterates that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women[4] and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,[5] and the Optional Protocols thereto,[6] as well as other relevant conventions and treaties, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights[7] and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,[8] provide an international legal framework and a comprehensive set of measures for realizing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all women and girls throughout their life cycle, including women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.

3.       The Commission recognizes the importance of relevant International Labour Organization standards related to the realization of women’s right to work and rights at work that are critical for women’s economic empowerment, and recalls the decent work agenda of the International Labour Organization and the International Labour Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

4.       The Commission reaffirms that the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome documents of its reviews, and the outcomes of relevant major United Nations conferences and summits and the follow-up to those conferences and summits, have laid a solid foundation for sustainable development and that the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action will make a crucial contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development[9] and to women’s economic empowerment.

5.       The Commission reaffirms the commitments to gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls made at relevant United Nations summits and conferences, including the International Conference on Population and Development and its Programme of Action[10] and the outcome documents of its reviews.

6.       The Commission emphasizes the mutually reinforcing relationship among women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work and the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It acknowledges the important contribution of women and girls to sustainable development and reiterates that gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls and women’s full and equal participation and leadership in the economy are vital for achieving sustainable development, promoting peaceful, just and inclusive societies, enhancing sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and productivity, ending poverty in all its forms everywhere and ensuring the well-being of all.

7.       The Commission reiterates that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development needs to be implemented in a comprehensive manner, reflecting its universal, integrated and indivisible nature, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting each country’s policy space and leadership while remaining consistent with relevant international rules and commitments, including by developing cohesive sustainable development strategies to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. The Commission affirms that Governments have the primary responsibility for the follow-up to and review of the 2030 Agenda at the national, regional and global levels with regard to progress made.

8.       The Commission acknowledges the important role played by regional conventions, instruments and initiatives in their respective regions and countries in the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, including for women’s economic empowerment and their right to work and rights at work, and for the promotion of full and productive employment and decent work.

9.       The Commission takes note of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment.

10.     The Commission reaffirms that the promotion and protection of, and respect for, the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all women and girls, including the right to development, which are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, are crucial for women’s economic empowerment and should be mainstreamed into all policies and programmes aimed at the eradication of poverty and women’s economic empowerment, and also reaffirms the need to take measures to ensure that every person is entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, and that equal attention and urgent consideration should be given to the promotion, protection and full realization of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

11.     The Commission also recognizes that structural barriers to women’s economic empowerment throughout their life cycle in the changing world of work, including as regards their terms and conditions of employment, recruitment, retention, re-entry, promotion and progression to management or senior positions, retirement and dismissal, can be compounded by multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination in the private and public spheres, all of which can be exacerbated during economic, financial and humanitarian crises, armed conflict and post-conflict situations, natural and man-made disasters, and refugee and internal displacement settings.

12.     The Commission recognizes the importance of fully engaging men and boys, as agents and beneficiaries of change, for the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. It stresses the role of men as allies in the realization of women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work and in the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls.

13.     The Commission acknowledges the important role of national machineries for the advancement of women and girls, the relevant contribution of national human rights institutions, where they exist, and the important role of civil society in promoting the economic empowerment of women and their full and productive employment and decent work, as well as in advancing the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

14.     The Commission strongly condemns violence against women and girls in all its forms in public and private spaces, including harassment in the world of work, including sexual harassment, and sexual and gender-based violence, domestic violence, trafficking in persons and femicide, among others, as well as harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation, and recognizes that these forms of violence are major impediments to the achievement of women’s economic empowerment and their social and economic development, often resulting in, inter alia, absenteeism, missed promotions and job losses, thereby hampering women’s ability to enter, advance and remain in the labour market and make contributions commensurate with their abilities, and also recognizes that such violence can impede economic independence and impose direct and indirect short- and long-term costs on society and individuals including, as relevant, lost economic output and the psychological and physical impact thereof, as well as expenses relating to health care, the legal sector, social welfare and specialized services, and further recognizes that women’s economic autonomy can expand their options for leaving abusive relationships.

15.     The Commission acknowledges that structural barriers to gender equality and gender-based discrimination persist in labour markets worldwide, which impose greater constraints on women than on men in balancing work and family responsibilities and that those structural barriers need to be eliminated in order for women to be able to participate fully in society and equally in the world of work. It also recognizes that progress in achieving women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work has been insufficient, impeding the realization of women’s full potential and the full enjoyment of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

16.     The Commission recognizes that the sharing of family responsibilities creates an enabling family environment for women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work, which contributes to development, that women and men make a significant contribution to the welfare of their family, and that, in particular, women’s contribution to the home, including unpaid care and domestic work, which is still not adequately recognized, generates human and social capital that is essential for social and economic development.

17.     The Commission expresses its concern about the continuing significant gender gaps in labour force participation and leadership, wages, income, pensions and social protection, as well as access to economic and productive resources. It also expresses its concern about the structural barriers to women’s economic empowerment, including discriminatory laws and policies, gender stereotypes and negative social norms. It is further concerned about unequal working conditions, limited opportunities for career advancement and the growing high incidence of informal and non-standard forms of employment in many regions.

18.     The Commission expresses concern about occupational segregation, including its vertical and horizontal dimensions, in all sectors. It recognizes that expanding equal opportunities for women and men in the labour market and for decent work, skills enhancement, participation and leadership in high-level positions for women can address the root causes of occupational segregation in working life and empower women and men to enter professions in the public and private sectors that are dominated by the opposite sex.

19.     The Commission recognizes that women constitute the majority of those employed in the health and social sectors, that by working in those sectors they make important contributions to sustainable development, and that investments in those sectors could enhance women’s economic empowerment and transform unpaid and informal care roles into decent work by improving their working conditions and wages and by creating opportunities for their economic empowerment through skills enhancement and career advancement.

20.     The Commission expresses concern that the feminization of poverty persists, and emphasizes that the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is an indispensable requirement for women’s economic empowerment and sustainable development. The Commission acknowledges the mutually reinforcing links between the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls and the eradication of poverty, and the need to ensure an adequate standard of living for women and girls throughout the life cycle, including through social protection systems.

21.     The Commission also expresses concern over the persistently low wages earned by women workers, which frequently prevent women from providing decent and dignified living conditions for themselves and their families, and recognizes the important role of trade unions and social dialogue in addressing persistent economic inequalities, including the gender pay gap.

22.     The Commission reiterates its concern over the challenge climate change poses to the achievement of sustainable development and that women and girls, who face inequality and discrimination, are often disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change and other environmental issues, including, inter alia, desertification, deforestation, sand and dust storms, natural disasters, persistent drought, extreme weather events, sea level rise, coastal erosion and ocean acidification. Furthermore, the Commission recalls the Paris Agreement,[11] adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,[12] and reaffirms that countries should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

23.     The Commission recognizes that globalization presents both challenges and opportunities for women’s economic empowerment. It also recognizes that there is a need to make broad and sustained efforts to create a shared future, based upon our common humanity, to ensure globalization is fully inclusive and equitable for all, including women and girls, and becomes an increasingly positive force for women’s economic empowerment.

24.     The Commission reaffirms that the realization of the right to education, as well as access to quality and inclusive education, contributes to the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. It notes with concern the lack of progress in closing gender gaps in access to, retention in and completion of secondary and tertiary education and emphasizes the importance of lifelong learning opportunities. It recognizes that new technologies, which are changing the structure of labour markets, provide new and different employment opportunities that require women and girls to acquire skills ranging from basic digital fluency to advanced technical skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and in information and communications technology.

25.     The Commission recognizes the importance of a conducive external environment in support of national efforts towards the economic empowerment of women, which includes the mobilization of adequate financial resources, capacity-building and the transfer of technology on mutually agreed terms, which in turn would enhance the use of enabling technologies to promote women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment.

26.     The Commission recognizes the worldwide efforts to bridge gender gaps in labour markets. However, the Commission notes that additional progress may be made through temporary special measures to ensure gender equality in the labour force.

27.     The Commission reaffirms the importance of significantly increased investment to close resource gaps for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, including women’s economic empowerment, through, inter alia, the mobilization of financial resources from all sources, including domestic and international resource mobilization and allocation, the full implementation of official development assistance commitments and combating illicit financial flows, so as to build on progress achieved and strengthen international cooperation, including North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation, bearing in mind that South-South cooperation is not a substitute for, but rather a complement to, North-South cooperation.

28.     The Commission recognizes that women’s enhanced participation in the labour market and their economic independence and access to, and ownership of, economic resources contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic growth, prosperity, competitiveness and the well-being of societies.

29.     The Commission recognizes that women’s equal economic rights, economic empowerment and independence are essential to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. It underlines the importance of undertaking legislative and other reforms to realize the equal rights of women and men, as well as girls and boys where applicable, to access economic and productive resources, including land and natural resources, property and inheritance rights, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance, and equal opportunities for women for full and productive employment and decent work, and equal pay for equal work or work of equal value. The Commission acknowledges the positive contribution of migrant women workers to inclusive growth and sustainable development.

30.     The Commission recognizes that women and girls undertake a disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work, including caring for children, older persons, persons with disabilities and persons living with HIV and AIDS, and that such uneven distribution of responsibilities is a significant constraint on women’s and girls’ completion of or progress in education, on women’s entry and re-entry and advancement in the paid labour market and on their economic opportunities and entrepreneurial activities, and can result in gaps in both social protection and pensions. The Commission stresses the need to recognize, reduce and redistribute the disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work by promoting the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men and by prioritizing, inter alia, social protection policies and infrastructure development.

31.     The Commission recognizes that the full realization of the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is vital for women’s and girls’ lives and well-being and for their ability to participate in public and private life, and is crucial for gender equality and the empowerment of women, including their economic empowerment and full and equal participation and leadership in the economy.

32.     The Commission recalls its multi-year programme of work for the period 2017-2019, according to which it considered the empowerment of indigenous women as the focus area at its sixty-first session and will consider challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls as the priority theme at its sixty-second session.

33.     The Commission recognizes the important role and contribution of rural women and girls to poverty eradication, sustainable development and food security and nutrition, especially in poor and vulnerable households. The Commission also recognizes the importance of the empowerment of rural women and their full, equal and effective participation at all levels of decision-making.

34.     The Commission recognizes that the economic empowerment, inclusion and development of indigenous women, including through the establishment of indigenous-owned businesses, can enable them to improve their social, cultural, civil and political engagement, achieve greater economic independence and build more sustainable and resilient communities, and notes the contribution of indigenous peoples to the broader economy.

35.     The Commission recognizes the important contribution of women and girls of African descent to the development of societies and the promotion of mutual understanding and multiculturalism, recalls the commitment of States to mainstream a gender perspective when designing and monitoring public policies, taking into account the specific needs and realities of women and girls of African descent and bearing in mind the programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent.[13] The Commission also recognizes the importance of the economic empowerment of women of African descent.

36.     The Commission recognizes the positive contribution of migrant women and girls, in particular women migrant workers, to sustainable development in countries of origin, transit and destination. It underlines the value and dignity of migrant women’s labour in all sectors, including the labour of domestic and care workers.

37.     The Commission recalls the need to address the special situation and vulnerability of migrant women and girls. It is concerned that many migrant women, particularly those who are employed in the informal economy and in less skilled work, are especially vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, underlining in this regard the obligation of States to protect the human rights of migrants so as to prevent and address abuse and exploitation.

38.     The Commission expresses its concern about the low labour force participation rate of women with disabilities, who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and encounter structural, physical and attitudinal barriers hindering their access to and participation in the workplace on an equal basis with others, and emphasizes the need for measures to ensure that the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is inclusive of persons with disabilities.

39.     The Commission welcomes the major contributions made by civil society, including women’s and community-based organizations, feminist groups, women human rights defenders and girls’ and youth-led organizations, in placing the interests, needs and visions of women and girls on local, national, regional and international agendas, including the 2030 Agenda, and recognizes the importance of having an open, inclusive and transparent engagement with civil society in the implementation of measures on women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.

40.     The Commission urges governments at all levels and, as appropriate, with the relevant entities of the United Nations system and international and regional organizations, within their respective mandates and bearing in mind national priorities, and invites civil society, the private sector, employer organizations and trade unions, as applicable, to take the following actions:

Strengthening normative and legal frameworks

           (a)      Consider ratifying or acceding to, as a matter of particular priority, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Optional Protocols thereto, limit the extent of any reservations, formulate any such reservations as precisely and as narrowly as possible to ensure that no reservations are incompatible with the object and purpose of the Conventions, review their reservations regularly with a view to withdrawing them, withdraw reservations that are contrary to the object and purpose of the relevant Convention and implement the Conventions fully by, inter alia, putting in place effective national legislation and policies;

           (b)      Consider ratification and, for those that have done so, implementation of the fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organization, namely, the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention, 1948 (No. 87), the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98), the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29), the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105), the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138), the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182), the Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100) and the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111), in order to contribute to the realization of women’s right to work and rights at work;

           (c)      Enact or strengthen and enforce laws and regulatory frameworks that ensure equality and prohibit discrimination against women, in particular in the world of work, including their participation in and access to labour markets, inter alia, laws and frameworks that prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy, motherhood, marital status or age, as well as other multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination; take appropriate measures to ensure that women, throughout the life cycle, have equal opportunities for decent work in the public and private sectors, while recognizing that temporary special measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality between men and women should not be considered discrimination; address the root causes of gender inequality, gender stereotypes and unequal power relations between men and women; and provide, as appropriate, effective means of redress and access to justice in cases of non-compliance and accountability for violations and abuses of human rights;

           (d)      Enact legislation and undertake reforms to realize the equal rights of women and men, and where applicable girls and boys, to access economic and productive resources, including access to, ownership of and control over land, property and inheritance rights, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including credit, banking and microfinance, as well as equal access to justice and legal assistance in this regard, and ensure women’s legal capacity and equal rights with men to conclude contracts;

           (e)      Eliminate occupational segregation by addressing structural barriers, gender stereotypes and negative social norms, promoting women’s equal access to and participation in labour markets and in education and training, supporting women so as to diversify their educational and occupational choices in emerging fields and growing economic sectors, such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics and information and communications technology, recognizing the value of sectors that have large numbers of women workers;

           (f)      Enact or strengthen and enforce laws and regulations that uphold the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value in the public and private sectors as a critical measure to eliminate the gender pay gap, provide in this regard effective means of redress and access to justice in cases of non-compliance, and promote the implementation of equal pay policies through, for example, social dialogue, collective bargaining, job evaluations, awareness-raising campaigns, pay transparency and gender pay audits, as well as certification and review of pay practices and increased availability of data and analysis on the gender pay gap;

           (g)      Enact or strengthen and enforce laws and policies to eliminate all forms of violence and harassment against women of all ages in the world of work, in public and private spheres, and provide means of effective redress in cases of non‑compliance; ensure safety for women in the workplace; address the multiple consequences of violence and harassment, considering that violence against women and girls is an obstacle to gender equality and women’s economic empowerment; encourage awareness-raising activities, including through publicizing the societal and economic costs of such violence; and develop measures to promote re-entry of victims and survivors of violence into the labour market;

           (h)      Develop and apply gender-sensitive measures for the protection from, prevention and punishment of all forms of violence against women and girls in public and private spaces, including domestic violence, sexual harassment, trafficking in persons and femicide, among others, so as to promote the realization of women’s and girls’ economic rights and empowerment and facilitate women’s full and productive employment and contribution to the economy, including by facilitating changes in gender stereotypes and negative social norms, attitudes and behaviours, inter alia, through promoting community mobilization, women’s economic autonomy and the engagement of men and boys, particularly community leaders; and explore, where possible, measures to respond to the consequences of violence against women, such as employment protection, time off from work, awareness training, psychosocial services and social safety nets for women and girls who are victims and survivors of violence, and to foster their economic opportunities;

           (i)       Strengthen laws and regulatory frameworks that promote the reconciliation and sharing of work and family responsibilities for women and men, including by designing, implementing and promoting family-responsive legislation, policies and services, such as parental and other leave schemes, increased flexibility in working arrangements, support for breastfeeding mothers, development of infrastructure and technology, and the provision of services, including affordable, accessible and quality childcare and care facilities for children and other dependents, and promoting men’s equitable responsibilities with respect to household work as fathers and caregivers, which create an enabling environment for women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work;

           (j)       Refrain from promulgating and applying any unilateral economic, financial or trade measures not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations that impede the full achievement of economic and social development, particularly in developing countries;

Strengthening education, training and skills development

           (k)      Promote and respect women’s and girls’ right to education throughout the life cycle at all levels, especially for those who have been left furthest behind, by providing universal access to quality education, ensuring inclusive, equal and non-discriminatory quality education, promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all and the completion of primary and secondary education and eliminating gender disparities in access to all areas of secondary and tertiary education, promoting financial and digital literacy, ensuring that women and girls have equal access to career development, training, scholarships and fellowships, and adopting positive action to build women’s and girls’ leadership skills and influence, and adopt measures that promote, respect and guarantee the safety of women and girls in the school environment and that support women and girls with disabilities at all levels of education and training;

           (l)       Mainstream a gender perspective into education and training programmes, including those relating to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, eliminate female illiteracy and facilitate effective transition from education or unemployment to work, including through skills development to enable women’s and girls’ active participation in economic, social and cultural development and women’s active participation in governance and decision-making at all levels, create conditions that facilitate women’s full participation and integration in the formal economy and develop gender-sensitive curricula for educational programmes at all levels, inter alia, to address the root causes of occupational segregation in working life;

           (m)    Place enhanced emphasis on quality education, including communications and technology education, where available, for girls, including catch-up and literacy education for those who did not receive formal education, special initiatives for keeping girls in school through post-primary education, including those who are already married or pregnant, to promote access to skills and entrepreneurship training for young women and to tackle gender stereotypes, in order to ensure that young women entering the labour market have opportunities to obtain full and productive employment, equitable compensation and decent work;

           (n)      Ensure that pregnant adolescents and young mothers, as well as single mothers, can continue and complete their education, and in this regard, design, implement and, where applicable, revise educational policies to allow them to remain in and return to school, providing them with access to health-care and social services and support, including childcare and breastfeeding facilities and crèches, and to education programmes with accessible locations, flexible schedules and distance education, including e-learning, and bearing in mind the important role and responsibilities of, and challenges faced by, fathers, including young fathers, in this regard;

Implementing economic and social policies for women’s economic empowerment

           (o)      Adopt and implement, and monitor the impact of, gender-responsive macroeconomic, labour and social policies that promote inclusive growth, women’s full and productive employment and decent work, protect women’s right to work and rights at work and mitigate the effects of economic recession;

           (p)      Take concrete steps towards eliminating the practice of gender-based price differentiation, also known as the “pink tax”, whereby goods and services intended for or marketed to women and girls cost more than similar goods and services intended for or marketed to men and boys;

           (q)      Take concrete steps to support and institutionalize a gender-responsive approach to public financial management, including gender-responsive budgeting and tracking across all sectors of public expenditure, to address gaps in resourcing for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and ensure that all national and sectoral plans and policies for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are fully costed and adequately resourced to ensure their effective implementation;

           (r)       Promote decent paid care and domestic work for women and men in the public and private sectors by providing social protection, safe working conditions and equal pay for equal work or work of equal value, thereby facilitating the transition of informal workers, including those engaged in informal paid care and domestic work, into the formal economy;

           (s)      Improve the security and safety of women on the journey to and from work and the security and safety of women and girls on the journey to and from educational facilities through gender-responsive rural development strategies and urban planning and infrastructure, including sustainable, safe, accessible and affordable public transportation systems, street lighting, and separate and adequate sanitation facilities, so as to facilitate women’s access to places, products, services and economic opportunities;

           (t)       Optimize fiscal expenditures for gender-responsive social protection and care infrastructure, such as equitable, quality, accessible and affordable early childhood education, childcare, elder care, health-care, and care and social services for persons with disabilities and persons living with HIV and AIDS, which meet the needs of both caregivers and those in need of care, bearing in mind that social protection policies also play a critical role in reducing poverty and inequality and supporting inclusive growth and gender equality;

           (u)      Work towards establishing or strengthening inclusive and gender-responsive social protection systems, including floors, to ensure full access to social protection for all without discrimination of any kind, and take measures to progressively achieve higher levels of protection, including facilitating the transition from informal to formal work;

           (v)      Promote legal, administrative and policy measures that ensure women’s full and equal access to pensions, through contributory and/or non-contributory schemes that are independent of their employment trajectories, and reduce gender gaps in benefit levels;

           (w)     Take steps to achieve the full realization of the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health by improving access to timely, affordable and quality health systems for women and girls through gender-sensitive national strategies and public health policies and programmes that are comprehensive, affordable and better targeted to addressing their needs, and work to improve access to paid leave and social security benefits, particularly in cases of retirement, unemployment, illness, disability, ageing and incapacity to work, as well as develop and implement occupational health and safety measures, including appropriate measures to provide special protection to women during pregnancy in types of work proved to be harmful to them;

           (x)      Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences, including universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes, and recognizing that the human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on all matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, as a contribution to the fulfilment of their economic rights, independence and empowerment;

           (y)      Recognize the social significance of maternity, paternity, motherhood, fatherhood and the role of parents in the upbringing of children, and promote paid maternity, paternity or parental leave and adequate social security benefits for both women and men, take appropriate steps to ensure they are not discriminated against when availing themselves of such benefits and promote men’s awareness and use of such opportunities, as a means of enabling women to increase their participation in the labour market;

           (z)      Take all appropriate measures to recognize, reduce and redistribute women’s and girls’ disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work by promoting policies and initiatives supporting the reconciliation of work and family life and the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, through flexibility in working arrangements without reductions in labour and social protections, through the provision of infrastructure, technology and public services, such as water and sanitation, renewable energy, transport and information and communications technology, as well as accessible, affordable and quality childcare and care facilities and by challenging gender stereotypes and negative social norms and promoting men’s participation and responsibilities as fathers and caregivers;

           (aa)   Take steps to measure the value of unpaid care and domestic work in order to determine its contribution to the national economy, for example through periodic time-use surveys, and include such measurements in the formulation of gender-responsive economic and social policies;

           (bb)   Fully engage men and boys as strategic partners and allies in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by designing and implementing national policies and programmes that address the roles and responsibilities of men and boys, including the equal sharing of responsibilities in caregiving and domestic work, and encourage men and boys to engage fully, as agents and beneficiaries of change, with the aim of eliminating all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls in both the public and private spheres, by understanding and addressing the root causes of gender inequality, such as unequal power relations, gender stereotypes and negative social norms that view women and girls as subordinate to men and boys, as a contribution to women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work;

           (cc)    Promote the entry and re-entry into, and advancement in, labour markets of all women, including through policies and programmes aimed at the elimination of structural barriers and stereotypes that young women face in the transition from school to work and also to address the challenges faced by women returning from care-related career breaks and by older women, by providing access to technical and vocational skills training, entrepreneurship development, job-matching and career guidance, including towards high-wage and high-growth occupations;

           (dd)   Promote gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls with disabilities and the full realization of their human rights and their inclusion in society, and take measures to ensure that women with disabilities have access to decent work on an equal basis with others in the public and private sectors, that labour markets and work environments are open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities, and take positive measures to increase employment of women with disabilities and eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability with regard to all matters concerning all forms of employment, including recruitment, retention and promotion, and the provision of safe, secure and healthy working conditions, in consultation with relevant national mechanisms and organizations of persons with disabilities;

           (ee)    Strengthen and support the contributions of rural women and women farmers to the agricultural sector, food security and nutrition and the economic well-being of their families and communities, and to enhancing agricultural and rural development, including small-scale farming, and ensure that they have equal access to agricultural technologies, through investments and the transfer of technology on mutually agreed terms, and innovation in small-scale agricultural production and distribution, supported by integrated and multisectoral policies that improve productive capacity and incomes and strengthen their resilience, and address the existing gaps in and barriers to trading their agricultural products in local, regional and international markets;

           (ff)     Support remunerative non-agricultural employment for rural women, by taking measures to improve working conditions, increase access to productive resources, invest in relevant infrastructure, public services and time- and labour-saving technologies, promote rural women’s paid employment in the formal economy and address the structural and underlying causes of the difficult conditions faced by rural women;

           (gg)    Take measures to promote the economic empowerment of indigenous women, including by ensuring access to quality and inclusive education and meaningful participation in the economy by addressing the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and barriers they face, including violence, and promote their participation in relevant decision-making processes at all levels and in all areas, while respecting and protecting their traditional and ancestral knowledge, and noting the importance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples[14] for indigenous women and girls;

           (hh)   Develop and adopt gender-responsive strategies on mitigation and adaptation to climate change, in line with international and regional instruments, to support the resilience and adaptive capacities of women and girls to respond to the adverse effects of climate change, with the aim of strengthening their economic empowerment, through inter alia, the promotion of their health and well-being, as well as access to sustainable livelihoods, including in the context of a just transition of the workforce;

           (ii)      Continue developing and enhancing standards and methodologies at the national and international levels to improve the collection, analysis and dissemination of gender statistics and data on the formal and informal economy, inter alia, on women’s poverty, income and asset distribution within households, unpaid care work, women’s access to, control and ownership of assets and productive resources, and women’s participation at all levels of decision-making, so as to measure progress for women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work, by strengthening national statistical capacity, including by enhancing the mobilization, from all sources, of financial and technical assistance for enabling developing countries to systematically design, collect and ensure access to high-quality, reliable and timely data disaggregated by sex, age, income and other characteristics relevant in national contexts;

           (jj)     Promote gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by reaffirming the commitments made in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development,[15] pursuing policy coherence and an enabling environment for sustainable development at all levels and by all actors and reinvigorating the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development;

           (kk)   Take steps to significantly increase investment to close resource gaps, including through the mobilization of financial resources from all sources, including public, private, domestic and international resource mobilization and allocation, including by enhancing revenue administration through modernized, progressive tax systems, improved tax policy, more efficient tax collection and increased priority on gender equality and the empowerment of women in official development assistance to build on progress achieved, and ensure that official development assistance is used effectively to accelerate the achievement of women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work;

           (ll)      Urge developed countries to fully implement their respective official development assistance commitments, including the commitment made by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of their gross national income for official development assistance to developing countries and the target of 0.15 to 0.20 per cent of their gross national income for official development assistance to the least developed countries, and encourage developing countries to build on the progress achieved in ensuring that official development assistance is used effectively to help meet development goals and targets and help them, inter alia, to promote women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work;

           (mm) Strengthen international cooperation, including North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation, bearing in mind that South-South cooperation is not a substitute for, but rather a complement to, North-South cooperation, and invite all States to enhance South-South and triangular cooperation focusing on shared development priorities, with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders in government, civil society and the private sector, while noting that national ownership and leadership in this regard are indispensable for the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls;

Addressing the growing informality of work and mobility of women workers

           (nn)   Promote the transition to formal employment for women employed in informal paid work, home-based work and in micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as work in the agricultural sector and own-account and part-time work, by extending social protection and wages that allow for an adequate standard of living, and take measures to address unsafe and unhealthy working conditions that can characterize work in the informal economy by promoting occupational safety and health protection to workers in the informal economy;

           (oo)   Adopt national gender-responsive migration policies and legislation, in line with relevant obligations under international law, to promote the economic empowerment of women migrant workers in all sectors and protect their human rights, regardless of migration status; recognize the skills and education of women migrant workers and, as appropriate, facilitate their productive employment, decent work and integration into the labour force, including in the fields of education and science and technology;

           (pp)   Recognize the significant contribution and leadership of women in migrant communities and take appropriate steps to ensure their full, equal and meaningful participation in the development of local solutions and opportunities, and also recognize the importance of protecting labour rights and a safe environment for migrant workers and those in precarious employment, protecting women migrant workers in all sectors and promoting labour mobility, including circular migration, in line with the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants;[16]

           (qq)   Devise, strengthen and implement comprehensive anti-trafficking strategies that integrate a human rights and sustainable development perspective, and enforce, as appropriate, legal frameworks, in a gender- and age-sensitive manner, to combat and eliminate all forms of trafficking in persons, raise public awareness of the issue of trafficking in persons, in particular women and girls, take measures to reduce the vulnerability of women and girls to modern slavery and sexual exploitation, and enhance international cooperation, inter alia, to counter, with a view to eliminating, the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation, including sexual exploitation and forced labour;

Managing technological and digital change for women’s economic empowerment

           (rr)     Support women’s access, throughout their life cycle, to skills development and decent work in new and emerging fields, by expanding the scope of education and training opportunities in, inter alia, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, information and communications technology and digital fluency, and enhance women’s and, as appropriate, girls’ participation as users, content creators, employees, entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders;

           (ss)     Strengthen science and technology education policies and curricula, so that they are relevant to the needs of and benefit women and girls, encourage investment and research in sustainable technology, particularly to strengthen the capacities of developing countries, so as to enable women to leverage science and technology for entrepreneurship and economic empowerment in the changing world of work;

Strengthening women’s collective voice, leadership and decision-making

           (tt)     Take measures to ensure women’s full, equal and effective participation and access to leadership and high level positions, including through temporary special measures, as appropriate, in economic decision-making structures and institutions at all levels, as well as in enterprises, corporate boards and trade unions;

           (uu)   Ensure that women in armed conflict and post-conflict situations, women affected by natural disasters and other humanitarian emergencies and internally displaced women are empowered to effectively and meaningfully participate in leadership and decision-making processes and that the human rights of all women and girls are fully respected and protected in response and recovery strategies;

           (vv)   Recognize that the empowerment of and investment in women and girls, which is critical for economic growth and the achievement of all Sustainable Development Goals, including the eradication of poverty and extreme poverty, as well as the meaningful participation of women in decision-making, are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights, and recognize further that empowering girls requires their active participation in decision-making processes and as agents of change in their own lives and communities, including through girls’ organizations with the active support and engagement of their parents, legal guardians, families and care providers, boys and men, as well as the wider community;

           (ww)  Protect and promote the rights to freedom of association, peaceful assembly and collective bargaining so as to enable all women workers to organize and join unions, cooperatives and business associations, while recognizing that those legal entities are created, modified and dissolved in accordance with national law and taking into account each State’s international legal obligations;

           (xx)   Support tripartite collaboration among Governments, employers and women workers and their organizations, including trade unions or other representative organizations, to prevent and remove barriers to gender equality and the empowerment of women in the world of work;

           (yy)   Encourage and support women’s participation and leadership in trade unions, workers’ organizations and employers’ organizations, and urge all leaders of such organizations to effectively represent the interests of all women workers;

           (zz)    Promote a safe and enabling environment for all civil society actors and increase resources and support for grass-roots, local, national, regional and global women’s and civil society organizations so that they can fully contribute to women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work;

           (aaa) Recognize the important role the media can play in the achievement of gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, including through non‑discriminatory and gender-sensitive coverage and by eliminating gender stereotypes, including those perpetuated by commercial advertisements, and encourage training for those who work in the media and the development and strengthening of self-regulatory mechanisms to promote balanced and non‑stereotypical portrayals of women and girls, which contribute to the empowerment of women and girls and the elimination of discrimination against and exploitation of women and girls;

Strengthening the role of the private sector in women’s economic empowerment

           (bbb) Promote a socially responsible and accountable private sector that acts in line with, among others, the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework,[17] the International Labour Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, labour, environmental and health standards, and the Women’s Empowerment Principles established by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) and the Global Compact, in order to promote the economic empowerment of women in the changing world of work and achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and the realization of their full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms;

           (ccc)  Encourage workplace environments and institutional practices that value all workers and offer them equal opportunities to reach their full potential, including through ensuring that gender equality and gender mainstreaming are considered a necessary dimension of human resources management, in particular for the modernization of scientific and technological organizations and institutions in both the public and private sectors;

           (ddd) Encourage and facilitate women’s entrepreneurship, including by improving access to financing and investment opportunities, tools of trade, business development and training, in order to increase the share of trade and procurement from women’s enterprises, including micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, cooperatives and self-help groups in both the public and private sectors;

           (eee)  Work with the private sector to take into account a gender perspective while undertaking value chain analyses to inform the design and implementation of policies and programmes that promote and protect women’s right to work and rights at work in global value chains.

41.     The Commission recognizes its primary role for the follow-up to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, in which its work is grounded, and stresses that it is critical to address and integrate gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls throughout national, regional and global reviews of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and to ensure synergies between the follow-up to the Beijing Platform for Action and the gender-responsive follow-up to the 2030 Agenda.

42.     The Commission calls upon Governments to strengthen, as appropriate, the authority and capacity of national mechanisms for promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, at all levels, which should be placed at the highest possible level of government, with sufficient funding, and to mainstream a gender perspective across all relevant national and local institutions, including labour, economic and financial government agencies, in order to ensure that national planning, decision-making, policy formulation and implementation, budgeting processes and institutional structures contribute to women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.

43.     The Commission recalls General Assembly resolution 70/163 of 17 December 2015 and encourages the secretariat to continue its consideration of how to enhance the participation, including at the sixty-second session of the Commission, of national human rights institutions that are fully compliant with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles),[18] where they exist, in compliance with the rules of procedure of the Economic and Social Council.

44.     The Commission calls upon the United Nations system entities, within their respective mandates, to support States, upon their request, in their efforts to achieve women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.

45.     The Commission calls upon UN-Women to continue to play a central role in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and in supporting Governments and national women’s machineries, upon their request, in coordinating the United Nations system and in mobilizing civil society, the private sector, employers’ organizations and trade unions and other relevant stakeholders, at all levels, in support of the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda towards women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.

 

          [1]            Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 4-15 September 1995 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV.13), chap. I, resolution I, annexes I and II.

          [2]            General Assembly resolution S-23/2, annex, and resolution S-23/3, annex.

          [3]            See Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 2005, Supplement No. 7 and corrigendum (E/2005/27 and Corr.1-E/CN.6/2005/11 and Corr.1), chap. I, sect. A; ibid., 2010, Supplement No. 7 and corrigendum (E/2010/27 and Corr.1-E/CN.6/2010/11 and Corr.1), chap. I, sect. A; and ibid., 2015, Supplement No. 7 (E/2015/27-E/CN.6/2015/10), chap. I, sect. C, resolution 59/1.

          [4]            United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1249, No. 20378.

          [5]            Ibid., vol. 1577, No. 27531.

          [6]            Ibid., vol. 2131, No. 20378; and vols. 2171 and 2173, No. 27531; and resolution 66/138, annex.

          [7]            See General Assembly resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.

          [8]            United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 2515, No. 44910.

          [9]            General Assembly resolution 70/1.

         [10]            Report of the International Conference on Population and Development, Cairo, 5-13 September 1994 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.95.XIII.18), chap. I, resolution 1, annex.

         [11]            See FCCC/CP/2015/10/Add.1, decision 1/CP.21, annex.

         [12]            United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1771, No. 30822.

         [13]            General Assembly resolution 69/16, annex.

         [14]            General Assembly resolution 61/295, annex.

         [15]            General Assembly resolution 69/313, annex.

         [16]            General Assembly resolution 71/1.

         [17]            A/HRC/17/31, annex.

         [18]            General Assembly resolution 48/134, annex.

Back to Resource Centre