Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls
We recently had the opportunity to attend the Commission on the Status of Women at United Nations Headquarters in New York City – the UN’s largest gathering on human rights issues in the United States. More than 5,200 women and men representing civil society, along with nearly 1,850 delegates from governments attended this year’s Commission.
The overarching theme of this year’s event was “social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls” – all topics important to the mission of United4Change Center. During the 10-day session, we had the opportunity to network, strategize, and plan new initiatives and actions to further the cause of gender equality and empowerment. In addition, the Commission addressed a focus area, “women and girls of African descent,” which was relevant to the work we do in Kenya and Tanzania.
All of this work, combined with our partners, sponsors and donors will help propel United4Change Center forward and work in and with fragile populations build build strong communities. We left the UN feeling energized and ready to face the future and look forward to the 64th Commission on the Status of Women in 2020 when the world will mark the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most visionary agenda for the rights of women and girls everywhere.
According to a press release on www.unwomen.org, the Commission on the Status of Women delivered a roadmap to ensure women‘s social protection, mobility, safety and access to economic opportunities. Key recommendations included the following:
* Invest in social protection, public services, and sustainable infrastructure to support the productivity of women‘s work, including in the informal economy;
* Ensure that progress in women‘s access to social protection, public services, and sustainable infrastructure is not undermined by budget cuts and austerity measures, and levels of protection previously achieved are not reversed;
* Build on multilateral commitments to gender equality, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the ILO Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202), to strengthen access to social protection, public services and infrastructure for all women and girls;
* Recognize, reduce and redistribute unpaid care and domestic work by ensuring access to social protection for unpaid caregivers of all ages, including coverage for health care and pensions;
* Scale up investment in quality public care services that are affordable and gender-responsive;
* Identify and remove barriers to women‘s and girls’ access to public services, such as physical distance, lack of information and decision-making power, stigma and discrimination;
* Guarantee the availability of safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation, including for menstrual hygiene, in homes, schools, refugee camps, and other public places;
* Ensure that transport policies and planning are sustainable, accessible, affordable, safe and gender-responsive, taking into account the different needs of women and men, and adapted to be used by persons with disabilities and older persons;
* Promote the full and equal participation and leadership of women and women‘s organizations in policy dialogues and decision-making relating to social protection systems, public services, and sustainable infrastructure;
* Strongly condemn the impunity and lack of accountability rooted in historical and structural inequality that accompanies pervasive violence against women.