by Britta Schmitz
UNITED NATIONS, March 14 2017 – The 61st Session of the Commission for the Status of Women (CSW61) is held from 13 to 24 March at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The priority theme for CSW61 is “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work”, whereas the review theme is “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls (agreed conclusions of the fifty-eighth session)”. This year’s focus area deals with the empowerment of indigenous women.
“The world of work is changing in significant ways, marked by innovations – especially in digital and information and communications technologies – and the increasing informality and mobility of labour,“ Sylvia Hordosch, Policy Adviser at UN Women, told Europa Newswire.
“The Commission will highlight the inequalities women face in the world of work – in terms of women being concentrated in informal employment and in different sectors than men; the wage gap; discrimination in recruitment and promotion; and the impact of women’s unpaid care work on their ability to pursue employment.“
The Commission on the Status of Women works on policy recommendations for all countries. Representatives of Member States, UN entities and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all over the world will attend the session.
“Measures that governments can take include macroeconomic and labour market policies that create decent jobs, protect worker rights to work and at work and generate living wages, including for informal and migrant women workers, the provision of social protection and income security, as well as the provision of public services and infrastructure to reduce unpaid care and domestic work,“ said Hordosch.
Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are central to the achievement of all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the elimination of extreme poverty. CSW61 can learn a lot from CSW60, as last year’s Session has initiated several changes regarding the protection of women.
“There are some encouraging examples we have been witnessing,“ said Hordosch. “For example, in Malawi, a country with one of the highest rates of child marriages in the world, the Parliament adopted this year a constitutional amendment that raises the minimum age of marriage from 15 to 18 years. UN Women Malawi provided support during the constitutional review process and carried out key consultations for the reform ensuring.“
Another example of CSW60s successful work is that the company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a UN Women’s HeForShe Impact Champion, has increased the number of women in senior management positions from 18 % to 47 % in less than a year.
“In an attempt to make world cities safer for women and girls, India’s public buses are now being fitted with panic buttons and CCTV cameras; and in Istanbul women travelling after 10 pm can exit public buses anywhere along the bus route, regardless if there is a bus stop or not – these are some of the concrete results achieved though UN Women’s Global Safe Cities initiative,“ said Hordosch.
“At the same time, women are still under-represented globally in national parliaments; women’s work – in the labour market and in their households – is undervalued, or not valued at all; gender stereotypes limit the potential of girls when toys targeted at them reinforce traditional expectations of women’s looks and behavior.“
During CSW61, an Equal Pay Coalition by UN Women in collaboration with the ILO will be launched, as well as the final report of the High-level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. Furthermore, the Inter-parliamentary Union will hold a full day event with parliamentarians on the theme of the Commission.