UN Women Report Calls For New Policy Agenda For Economic and Gender Equality

May 6, 2015

UN Women recently released their report on the progress of women, which calls for the transformation of economies to make women’s rights and gender equality a reality.

The report, “Progress of the World’s Women: Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights,” calls for far-reaching changes to the global policy agenda that give women an equal opportunity in economic, social and political life.

The report notes the progress that has been made in the equal rights for women since the Beijing conference in 1995 including the increased enrollment of girls in school, the introduction of more women into the workforce, the election of more females into government and leadership representatives, the deepening of discussions and prevention mechanisms surrounding  issues of violence against women, and the increased legal rights of women.

However, huge gender disparities and gaps remain, particularly in advancing women’s legal rights, millions of women remain consigned to low paid, poor quality jobs, and lack access to health care, clean water and sanitation.

Indeed, only half of women participate in the formal global labor force, compared to three quarters of men. And in some developing regions, 95 percent of women’s employment informal. Furthermore, women spend 2.5 times more time on unpaid care and domestic work then men.

The report underscores the need to close the economic gender and gender equality gap: only then can societies and economies thrive– “if they make full use of women’s skills and capacities.” This includes the rights of women to obtain jobs, receive equal pay, be protected from unsafe working condition, and receive a pension. In addition, women should have adequate access to safe water and health care and they should not be discriminated against on the basis of class, location, race, or ethnicity.

The report suggests 10 mechanisms for public action, through which economic gender-equality can be achieved:

  • Create more and better jobs for women
  • Reduce occupational segregation and gender pay gaps
  • Strength women’s income security throughout the life cycle
  • Recognize, reduce, and redistribute unpaid care and domestic work
  • Invest in gender-responsive social services
  • Maximize resources for the achievement of substantive equality
  • Support women’s organizations to claim rights and shape policy agendas at all levels
  • Create an enabling global environment for the realization of women’s rights
  • Use human rights standards to shape policies and catalyse change
  • Generate evidence to assess progress on women’s economic and social rights

The implementation of these “economic and social policies can contribute to the creation of stronger economies, and to more sustainable and more gender-equal societies” the report states.

The Hunger Project has been working toward the achievement of equal social and economic rights for women since it’s establishment in 1977. The Hunger Project believes that empowering women to be leaders and agents of change is an essential element to achieving the end of hunger and poverty. Women’s Leadership Workshops in India, a Women’s Empowerment Program throughout Africa, and specialized animator trainings worldwide empower women to seek positions of power and self-reliance and train all of our partners, women and men, to take responsibility for improving lives in their communities.

Learn More:

Read the full report on the Progress of the World’s Women

Learn about what The Hunger Project does to facilitate gender equality

Learn about how The Hunger Project empowers women and girls