International Women’s Day: Towards Economic Empowerment
By admin March 8, 2017

Photo by: Hadynyah

The first International Women’s Day (IWD) was celebrated by the United Nations in 1975. But it is only two years later, in December 1977, that the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace. The UN invited these member States to choose March 8 as the International Women’s Day.

Forty years later, in 2015, world leaders adopted a set of goals to be reached by 2030 to “end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.” In particular, among these Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), goal number five actively aims to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, and has been seen as the missing link to achieving some of the major milestones outlined in the development agenda. Indeed achieving gender equality through economic empowerment of women around the world would help reduce poverty and foster greater intergenerational prosperity from families and communities.
To meet the challenges and bottlenecks set out under Goal 5, specific policies and measure should be taken at the local and global level to address gender inequality:

  • Gender Gaps: For women who work, one of the major challenges is the pay gap between men and women, which was 24 percent in 2015. Gender gaps in leadership are also an issue. Indeed, a global survey showed that around 18 percent of companies had a top-level female manager.
  • Poverty Reduction through independence by including women in the economy: In order to reduce poverty and promote inclusive growth, measures must be taken to create jobs to recognize women’s unpaid care and domestic work and to take into account the overwhelming majority of women in the informal economy.
  • Equal access to ICT: These measures should also promote women’s access to innovative technologies and practices and create a safe working environment.

Various international tools and working groups are put in place to support the implementation of global commitments of the SDGs for women’s rights, notably OECD’s DAC Network on Gender Equality (GENDERNET). It aims at encouraging platforms to share “what works,” support partnerships to mobilize political support and resources required to deliver SDGs, and promote transparency in financing gender equality measures by ensuring global and national commitments are followed by appropriate funding to ensure their implementation.

Unfortunately, for most women, especially in least-developed countries, little has changed. Life remains just as difficult for women today as it did nearly a century ago. The major issue is the lack of opportunity given to women to better their lives and those of their children as they are disproportionately affected by poverty, exploitation, and violence. Also, over past years, waves of extremism targeting women’s rights has made access to education and health services more difficult thus making it harder for them to play an equal role in the economy. At this pace, UN Women estimates that gender parity in economic participation will not be achieved until 2095. This is why it is important to take the opportunity of every International Women’s Day to call upon all actors to “Step It Up for Gender Equality towards a Planet 50-50 by 2030”.


Read More:

UN Women Press release IWD 2017

Guardian article on World Leaders’ pledge for gender equality by 2030

 International Women’s Day

OECD: GenderNet

WE Forum: is the 2030 target possible?

Thanks for sharing !

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