UN: UN report calls for transformation of economies to make gender equality a reality

New York, US (PANA) - A new report released on Monday by the UN entity for gender
equality and women’s empowerment (UN Women) has called for the transformation of
economies to make women’s rights and equality a reality.

The UN Women report, entitled: "Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016: Transforming
Economies, Realizing Rights", brings together human rights and economic policy making
to call for far-reaching changes to the global policy agenda and imagines what the global
economy would look like if it truly worked for women, for the benefit of all.

"Our public resources are not flowing in the directions where they are most needed," said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, while presenting the report in New York.

"For example, to provide safe water and sanitation, quality health care, and decent child-
and elderly-care services. Where there are no public services, the deficit is borne by
women and girls," she stated.

She noted that the report came as the international community negotiates a transformative
new agenda for sustainable development, 20 years after the landmark Fourth World
Conference on Women, in Beijing, China, which set out an ambitious agenda to advance
gender equality.

Despite significant advances in many societies, particularly in advancing women’s legal rights, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said that millions of women remain consigned to low paid, poor quality jobs, and lack access to health care, clean water and sanitation.

"Only half of women participate in the formal global labour force, compared to three
quarters of men, with some developing regions showing 95 per cent of women’s
employment informal.

"That includes unpaid care work, for which women carry the burden, and which has
intensified thanks to austerity policies and cutbacks.

"This is a care penalty that unfairly punishes women for stepping in when the
State does not provide resources, and we need policies that make it possible for both
women and men to care for their loved ones without having to forego their own
economic security and independence," the UN official stressed.

The report makes the case that the alternative economic agenda it outlines would not only create fairer societies, it would also create new sectors of employment, for instance in the care economy.

Ms, Mlambo Ngcuka elaborated that the report is very much focused on picturing an economy
that in working for women does so through providing them a recognition and valuing
of the paid and unpaid care work that they do.

The said: "The report makes 10 key recommendations for actions that governments and others
can take to move towards an economy that truly works for women, dismantling a system
in which they are paid on average 24 per cent less than men globally.

"An economy designed with women’s needs in mind would give them an equal voice
in economic decision-making; from the way in which time and money are spent in their
households, to the ways in which resources are raised and allocated at the national
level, to how broader economic parameters are set by global institutions."

The report sets out a vision of a global economy fit for women, where they have equal access to productive resources and social protection, which provides them with sufficient income to support an adequate standard of living, and where the work they do is respected and valued.

It calls for a paradigm shift in the way governments, financial institutions, businesses
and civil society approach economic policy thinking and human rights, to bring about
an alternative economic agenda which places women and their rights at its centre.

"Realizing economic and social rights of women enables the transformation of
economies and it also enables empowering of all, including men and boys, and when
we ask for the economies to be transformed, it cannot be governance as usual
business as usual. The corporate sector must change. It cannot be labour markets
as usual," Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka added.
-0-  PANA   AA/AR  27April2015

27 april 2015 19:30:33

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