Date of Meeting: 16 March 2017

Meeting Organizer: Republic of Korea, International Council of Women

CSW Delegates Present: Jessica McKeachie

Reporter: Jessica McKeachie

Which SDG does this topic cover? 5

Type of meeting: CSW Side Event

Brief summary of presentation of information made

Linda Liu – Moderator, International Council of Women (ICW), VP of National Council of Women Taiwan

  • ICW established 129 years ago
  • Despite many conventions and protocols adopted by UN, goals of women’s equality and empowerment progress towards those goals has been slow
  • Equality in economic rights and women’s empowerment are integral to achieving women’s equality

Ms. Meg Jones – Chief of Economic Empowerment of Women, UN Women.  Inclusive sustainable development.

  • Key strategies to transform empowering women -> engagement of women. 
  • Governments have committed to SDGs including #5 – gender equality
    • Civil society role is to hold governments accountable
    • Look to Women’s business associations – national and international
  • Recognize persistent inequalities in labour market, in unpaid home work, and in pay and labour participation rate gaps
  • Functioning care system is required to allow women to participate in economy
  • MDGs to SDGs – agenda now universal, all countries must report on progress (and private sector also participating)
  • If women were able to participate identically it would result in $28 trillion in worth by 2030
  • Need to look at gender dimension of all SDGs, not just focused on #5
  • If enabled women to participate at same rate as men – in just Korea and Chile would have 2 million more jobs, 15 million in US
    • Losing job growth by not allowing women to participate
  • When women part of workforce, money is spent on health and education of children – breaks intergenerational poverty
  • In 97% of countries there is at least one law that prevents women from being part of economy
  • Same issue coming up again and again:
    • G20 Governments – reducing gap in participation gap between men and women in labour market by 2025 (100 million women)
  • Raises issue of implementation and accountability
  • UN Women collecting good examples of policies to make it easier for governments to find policies that work
  • Gender responsive budgeting is a necessary consideration to enable empowerment of women
  • Strategy for working with business
    • Power of Procurement – how to source from companies owned by women (brochure produced by UN Women)

Ambassador Youngiu Oh – Korea

  • No universally agreed upon definition of empowerment for women
  • No country has managed to eliminate gaps between women and men in labour market (including wage gap)
  • Challenges facing women through the employment cycle in Korea
    • Unequal employment opportunities
      • World Bank - 155 economies have at least one legal  barrier for women entering workforce
      • In addition social and cultural barriers
      • As a result need a holistic approach to addressing inequality
    • Investments by Korea in education, have repealed discriminatory laws
    • Make workplace more conducive to retention of women
      • Disproportionate amount of unpaid home work fallsto women
    • Family friendly certification system for companies – encourage companies to promote participation by women
    • Family and child care leave
  • Women’s empowerment is a social development solution (shouldn't not just a goal)

Ms. Alicia Hammond – Gender Specialist at the World Bank, speciality is education

  • Credit gap for women owned enterprises – $260 billion – $320 billion
  • Women owned businesses tend to be smaller, have fewer employees and are home based
  • Women’s job force participation has stagnated in the last few years
  • Women less likely to work full time, earn between 10-30% less than men
  • Proposed Solutions
    • Enabling Legal Framework
      • 943 legal differences between men and women  across 173 countries, including in 100 countries that prevent women from working same jobs (Vietnam - women not allowed to drive trains, Nigeria – women can’t work at night)
    • Women’s financial inclusion
      • Bank account – first step out of poverty.  1.1 billion women are excluded from institutional banking
      • 44% of women entrepreneurs rely on own savings or friends/family to start their businesses
      • Impact of mobile phones – helps manage and protect money
    • Occupational Sex Segregation
      • Occupational sex segregation starts early – education in different subjects
      • Break through with education
        • Experiments in Uganda and Ethiopia – give information about salary early before they choose their school subjects (so far demonstrating a shift in job choice)
        • Connecting women to business networks and mentors
  • New area of work for World Bank – Care
    • Public and private provision of care important factor as women tend to bear the burden of caring for family
  • Transportation system needs to be developed to enable women to participate
  • World Bank work:
    • December 2015 launched gender strategy
    • More, better and inclusive jobs
    • Reduction in skills gap
    • Pair business training with soft skills (leadership, self-esteem)
    • Water and sanitation solutions as a way to free up women to participate
    • Land, housing, finance and technology
    • Engagement of men and boys
    • Focus on strong diagnostics and results
Tags: United Nations, Women, SDG5: Gender Equality