Women must be included in solving global economic meltdown, UN says

6 February 2009 – Governments must give women a key role in making decisions aimed at resolving the current global economic crisis, which is likely have a serious impact on the full realization of gender equality, a United Nations committee warned today.

“While the scale of the current crisis is still largely unmeasured, it is expected that women and girls in both developed and developing countries will be particularly affected by the potential social and economic consequences, such as unemployment, increase of responsibilities both at work and at home, decrease of income and potential increase in societal and domestic violence,” the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women said today.

“In such a context, it is necessary to identify and respond to specific needs of women and girls. Gender perspectives should be taken into account in relation to the impacts of the crisis on both a long and short-term basis, including in relation to education, health, security and livelihoods,” it added in a statement issued in Geneva.

It stressed that particular attention must be paid to providing women with access to programmes aimed at immediately alleviating poverty and hunger, so as to guarantee that national and international efforts effectively reach those most in need and that funding of programmes for women’s empowerment is not eroded.

“The Committee underscores the importance of recognizing the unique contribution that women can make in the timely resolution of the crisis. It calls upon States parties to include women in the dialogue and decision-making processes around these issues,” the statement said.

It called on all States parties to the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), often described as an international bill of rights for women, to comply with all their obligations under the treaty in spite of the financial crisis.

Under the Convention, ratified by almost the entire international community, States parties are legally committed to take the necessary steps to end all forms of discrimination against women in any field – whether political, economic, social, cultural or civic.


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