Imagine a week or two where government and community leaders get together to explore and discuss the interests of women and girls around the world. It truly exists and is called the Commission on the Status of Women (#CSW61). #CSW61 is the United Nations body dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. It is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The annual session began in New York City earlier this month and it’s one of the most important events of the year for women and girls. This year’s key focus is on gender equality and women’s empowerment. The Commission on the Status of Women (#CSW61) realizes that women’s economic empowerment requires transformative change so that prosperity is equitably shared and no one is left behind. The international community made this commitment in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The sessions are a time for women and men from around the world to gather together to discuss gender equality issues and make sure the fight for the empowerment of women not only continues but gets stronger. The Commission is one of the largest annual gathering of global leaders, NGOs, business voices, United Nations partners and activists focusing on the status of rights and empowerment of all women and girls, everywhere.
From equal pay and women’s unpaid work to decent work, removing the barriers of discrimination and investing in women’s access to digital and green economies, UN Women plans to unpack the key issues for women in the changing world of work during #CSW61. Here are just a few of the issues they’ve been tackling:
Gender inequalities have concentrated women at the bottom of the global value chain — in the lowest paid jobs, in piece-rate, subcontracted work, and insecure forms of self-employment, with little or no access to decent work and social protection. Women are half the world’s potential and unleashing it requires access to decent, good-quality paid work as well as gender-sensitive policies and regulations, such as adequate parental leave and flexible hours. The economics make sense, too: if women played an identical role in labor markets to that of men, as much as US$28 trillion, or 26 per cent, could be added to the global annual Gross Domestic Product by 2025.
Violence against women in the world of work is a human rights violation that affects women regardless of age, location, income or social status. Women can experience harassment or sexual assault at or on the way to and from work. While many countries have laws or provisions to address such violence, their impact is limited. In the European Union, for instance, 55 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment at least once since the age of 15. Of these, 32 percent experienced it in a place of work. Violence against women can restrict women’s economic and social potential and have a significant impact on their physical and mental health, which can lead to absenteeism, missed promotions and job losses.
Barriers to gender equality persist in every country, and are rooted in historically unequal power relations between women and men. Legal barriers only compound gender inequalities: this results in fewer girls attending secondary school relative to boys, fewer women working or running businesses, and a wider gender wage gap. Today, at least one gender-based legal restriction on women’s employment and entrepreneurship still exists in 155 countries*; husbands can legally prevent their wives from working in 18 countries*; and laws against gender discrimination in hiring practices are only in place in 67 countries. In order for women to realize their economic potential, countries need to remove discrimination against women in their legislation in line with the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women — the women’s human rights treaty that obliges countries to take concrete measures for the advancement of women in public and private life.
Live and archived webcasts of key UN Women events will be available here throughout CSW61. We’ll also be featuring Facebook Live interviews and other coverage. Be sure to follow our Twitter handle at @globalmomschall as we will be live-tweeting from several of the sessions.
Take Action Challenge
- Share your experiences about women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work. #CSW61
- Access the latest information on #CSW61 logistics, the official sessions and the side-events through @UN_CSW on Twitter and UN CSW on Facebook
- Find more social media content around #CSW61 and the CSW themes from these Twitter accounts: @UN_Women (English), @ONUMujeres (Spanish), and @ONUFemmes (French) on Twitter; UN Women (English), ONU Mujeres (Spanish), and ONU Femmes (French) on Facebook
- Don’t miss live stories on @unwomen Snapchat and Instagram
- Take this quiz on women and the economy