UN Commission agrees roadmap to women’s economic empowerment

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UNITED NATIONS, March 26 (APP): The United Nations Commission on
the Status of Women has agreed on a roadmap to women’s full and equal participation in the economy as a vital step to achieving sustainable development at its concluding session.
“This Commission has engaged strongly, comprehensively and
constructively over the last two weeks in considering the most
effective ways in which to bring about change for women in the world
of work,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, said over the weekend.
The outcome document, consisting of a set of agreed conclusions,
highlights barriers that women face, such as unequal working conditions, women’s over-representation in the informal economy, gender stereotypes and social norms that reinforce women’s concentration in certain sectors, such as health and social sectors, and the uneven share of unpaid care work that women do.
This year’s Commission drew the attendance of 162 member states,
including 89 representatives at the ministerial level. More than 3,900 representatives from 580 civil society organizations came to New York
from 138 countries, attesting to the growing strength and unity of
women’s voices around the world.
Pakistan’s delegation to the commission was led by Khawar Mumtaz,
Chairperson of the National Commission of Women.
Member states expressed concern over the gender pay gap and the
persistently low wages paid to women, which are often below decent
living wages.
In the final agreement, they commit to the implementation of equal
pay policies through social dialogue, collective bargaining, job
evaluations and gender pay audits, among other measures.
“There has never been any excuse for the inequality that exists.
Now we are seeing a healthy intolerance for inequality grow into firm
and positive change,” Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said.
Underlining that women’s careers should not experience any
disadvantage because of pregnancy and motherhood, the outcome document stresses the need to ensure that both women and men have access to paid parental leave and to promote men’s usage of such allowances.
For the first time, the transition of informal and domestic workers
into the formal economy was a key issue of discussion for the Commission, whose members agreed on the need of promoting decent work and paid care in the public and private sectors; increasing the provision of social protection and wages that guarantee an adequate standard of living; and ensuring safe working conditions for women.
This comes as a matter of concern as many migrant women employed in the informal economy and in less skilled work are especially vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
The Commission recognized the positive contributions of migrants and
called for gender-responsive migration policies that promote migrant
women’s economic empowerment.
It also calls for strengthened efforts in both public and private
sectors to retain women in the workforce and seek more gender balance in managerial positions.
Member states further called for an end to 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 items marketed to men and boys.
With the empowerment of indigenous women being the emerging theme of this session, the outcome document urges the full inclusion and development of indigenous women in economic life, including through the establishment of indigenous-owned businesses.