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Women, Employment and Empowerment through Participation The Social Forum Fourth Session Commission on Human Rights Geneva, August 3-4 2006 Mary Kawar -

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Presentation on theme: "Women, Employment and Empowerment through Participation The Social Forum Fourth Session Commission on Human Rights Geneva, August 3-4 2006 Mary Kawar -"— Presentation transcript:

1 Women, Employment and Empowerment through Participation The Social Forum Fourth Session Commission on Human Rights Geneva, August 3-4 2006 Mary Kawar - International Labour Organisation-

2 objectives 1.Concepts, trends and goals 2.Assessing the situation: What are the persisting and emerging issues for women and economic participation? 3.Addressing gender equality in employment: the international and national levels 4.Moving forward: Key policy messages

3 1. Concepts, trends and goals What is empowerment and why do we need it? Why is employment a major entry point to promote women’s empowerment? The equity and efficiency approach

4 1. Concepts, trends and goals What is the ILO Decent Work Agenda and why do we need it? «To promote opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom equity, security and human dignity »

5 2. Assessing the situation: Women’s participation increased but still not equal to men

6 2. Assessing the situation: gender gaps in participation still persist

7 2. Assessing the situation: Wage gaps still persist in all regions of the world

8 2. Assessing the situation: Women still dominate the informal economy RegionPercentage of employment in Informal Economy from total employment Percentage of women workers in the Informal Economy Sub saharan Africa 7284 Latin America 5158 Asia 65 North Africa 4843 Source:UNIFEM: Progress of World’s Women, 2005

9 2. Assessing the situation: The emerging influencing factors Global economic integration Liberlisation, trade and investment Labour market flexibility The care economy Feminisation of migration HIV AIDS

10 CEDAW Copenhagen 1995 3. Addressing gender equality in employment: The international level Millimium Development goals Beijing 1995 Goal Number 3 to promote gender equality and empowerment of women Employment not explicit as a goal Employment under MDG indicator 11 of Goal 3 Women and the economy priority area of concern Gender equality, poverty reduction and full emplyoment at top of agenda The Convention on the elimination of discrimination against women adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination

11 3. Addressing gender equality in employment:Good practices from the national level Improving conditions in the informal economy  National Policy for Street Vendors in India  Voluntary Scheme for health and pension for informal economy workers in Costa Rica and Thailand Affirmative action to combat discrimination  Women in public works in Madagascar  Civil service gender and race equality quota in Brazil Terms of trade  Improved terms of trade for coca beans cooperatives in Ghana Labour inspection and complaints mechanisms  Labour inspectors specialised in discrimination in Brazil and El Salvador  Agencies with power to initiate investigations and legal actions in Ghana, Hungary and Eygpt. Representation and voice  National union for domestic workers in Trinidad and Tobago  National network for home based workers in the Philippines Workplace equal opportunity measures  The business case for equality: more equality policies more productivity

12 3. Addressing gender equality in employment: The strategic levels at the national level A Combination of Actions Policy level Institutional level Micro level (empowerment) Individual Labour market Participation

13 4. Moving Forward: Key Policy Messages on promoting gender equality in employment The strategic approach Equity, efficiency and anti-poverty arguments form the main rationale for a focus on gender equality in employment There is a need for an explicit gender equality agenda, from the level of employment to training policies, to institutional strengthening, down to local governance Concept of women as vulnerable and dependent should be replaced focusing on their value as actors and catalysts for change Decent work for all must be prioritised by the policies and actions of all actors (local, national and international) in order to succeed in creating the conducive environment for poverty eradication, gender equality and empowerment. The policy levels Gender equality and decent work should be of central concern to economic policies (e.g. fiscal, trade and investment) as well as regulatory frameworks. Social/family policies should enhance the participation of women in the labour market through parental leave, child care support and flexibility in work place/time arrangements. Expand employment and social protection policies to include the informal economy and especially home workers. These policies should also include targeting vulnerable groups who might face multiple constraints/discrimination. In addition to labour codes, regional and international trade agreements must include gender equality dimensions and proper mechanisms for monitoring and compliance

14 4. Key Policy Messages… …continued… Improving access to training, employment, services and markets Provision of quality public services for all people including education and training which is essential for expanding women’s opportunities to participate in the economy,and in promoting their social inclusion. Women’s access to new opportunities relating to non traditional occupations should be facilitated in addition to access to finance and to local and global markets Ensuring rights The changes in labour relations and patterns should not lead to reduction in levels of social protection and workers rights Governments should fully implement international standards on gender equality namely CEDAW and ILO gender equality conventions and establish functional monitoring mechanisms Affirmative action is needed which promote equality of opportunity by both national legislation and employers’ CSR (e.g. access to training, pay equity, gender balance in recruitment, representation in higher positions, equal access to training and promotions). Another set of measures are related to balancing work with family responsibilities.

15 4. Key Policy Messages… …continued… Participation and collaboration The participation of civil society, including trade unions and employers organisations is necessary for the success of any policy process. Social dialogue is a key pillar for decent work and should be explicitly recognised. Trade Unions have a key role to play in empowering women and particularly through strengthening their negotiation skills. Decentralisation through enhancing the role of local authorities and actors in policy making should be stimulated Monitor improvements in gender equality Develop systematic indicators in order to be able to measure achievements in gender equality in employment over time.

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