Date of Meeting: 17 March 2017

Meeting Organizer: New Zeland, Germany, Australia, the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, Asia Pacific Forum

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

Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (4 zones - Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa and Americas)

  • 100 human rights groups below
  • 70 are completely compliant with UN HR principles

Purpose of Session: Highlight the role of independent human rights institutions in the promotion of the economic rights and empowerment of women.

Karen – commissioner with commission of human rights (HR) for Philippines

  • National Human Rights Institution created by 1987 Constitution
  •  Mandated to advocate for women’s human rights, investigate violations even by private companies, and promote eduction
  • Cannot being content with being ranked 7th in country rankings for gender equality
  • Need to consult with women and make their voices heard
  • Enable transformative structural changes that will make gender equality possible
  • 2016 undertook a National Inquiry on Reproductive Rights (RH)
    • Findings
      • Uneven implementation of IRH law and discriminatory practices
      • Interviewed and documented women who lacked access to RH services
      • Over worked and underpaid government health workers
  • Submission to CEDAW
    • Called for more attention to violence against women
      • Violence in digital space
      • Hate speech towards women
      • Indigenous women
      • Economic violence seen through negative impact of social policies
  • Elimination of existing barriers to women’s equality
  • Migration
    • Feminization of migration policies  – needs to be a focus
    • Gaps in implementation of laws meant to protect women
  • Work towards changing stereotypes that promote gender inequality
  • Country facing many challenges that threaten HR
    • Misogyny among public officials
    • Reminding state of HRs
  • Continue to work in exposing gaps but need better documentation of women’s situation
  • National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) can act as a catalyst to governments to achieve gender equality and eliminate gender discrimination
  • Need more participation by NHRIs in CSW

National Human Rights Council of Morocco

  • Report published on State of Equality and Parity (2015)
    • Comprehensive assessment with indicators
    • Measures progress made in terms of policies and legislation
    • Courageous position taken by NHRI – working to fight against traditionally “taboo” subjects
    • Equality especially around the issue of inheritance
    • Calling attention to women’s participation in formal workforce
      • Education rate of women increasing but labour participation decreasing
  • Women’s access to decent and paid work is a significant concern in Morocco
  • Employment of women in general is the best guarantee to ensure children do not live in poverty and have access to education
  • Justice – implies that men and women should be on the same footing and have access to the same rights/employment
  • Economic empowerment of women facing normative challenges:
    • Patriarchal division of unpaid work
    • Ambivalence towards women’s paid work – socially experienced as a necessary evil, tolerated only when family needs income.  Not considered a right or component of social society.
  • Promotion of Rights – opinion submitted to parliament on draft law on regulating status domestic workers (mainly women and girls)
  • Public, social and political debate on the minimum working age for domestic workers
    • In past minimum age is 15
    • Recommendation to move to 18 given nature of dangers associated with the work
    • Result was raising age to 16 for transitional period of 5 years then will be 18 after

Carolyn Porters – UKNHRI

  • NHRI have a unique role to play of bridging national laws with international standards
  • Economic empowerment of women is an issue facing both developing and developed countries
  • Standards and targets around women’s economic empowerment have been around for years but remains a significant issue
  • Discriminatory norms remains one of the largest obstacles
    • Domestic work and unpaid care roles in household
  • Unpaid care work not included in a consideration of GDP – saves UK  $132 million pounds annual
  • Cuts to social services tend to impact women more than men
    • Policies must learn if going to change the reality for women
  • Translate international standards into changes in behaviours and national attitudes:
    • Social protection for families
      • safeguarding women’s employment during and after pregnancy
      • Over 77% women in UK still experience discrimination during pregnancy, 1 in 9 lose job.
    • Fair Income
      • Pay gaps still substantial
      • 2016 18.1% pay gap in UK
      • Women not being able to attain higher paid work (educational barriers as well as many other)
      • Mandatory gender pay gap reporting now in place in England and Scotland
    • Women’s personal development
      • Still underrepresented in senior management and boards (despite growing rates in education and labour force)
  • Trend towards casualization of labour a growing concern for women

What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?

Why this is important to the Army: the work we are doing is making a difference and we need to continue speaking into local, national and international conversations around the rights and empowerment of women.  Experience in Morocco especially demonstrates that change can happen.

Tags: United Nations, SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG5: Gender Equality