United Nations

E/CN.6/1995/5/Add.4


Commission on the Status of Women

 Distr. GENERAL
6 January 1995
ENGLISH
ORIGINAL: ENGLISH/FRENCH/RUSSIAN


COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN
Thirty-ninth session
New York, 15 March-4 April 1995
Item 3 (c) of the provisional agenda*

   *  E/CN.6/1995/1.


     PREPARATIONS FOR THE FOURTH WORLD CONFERENCE ON WOMEN:
           ACTION FOR EQUALITY, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE

 Reports from regional conferences and other international conferences

                            Addendum

    Regional Platform for Action - Women in a Changing World 
             Call for Action from an ECE Perspective


Adopted at the High-level Regional Preparatory Meeting of the Economic
Commission for Europe, held at Vienna from 17 to 21 October 1994


            REGIONAL PLATFORM FOR ACTION - WOMEN IN A
    CHANGING WORLD - CALL FOR ACTION FROM AN ECE PERSPECTIVE

                     PREAMBULAR DECLARATION


       We, Governments,participating in the ECE Regional Preparatory Meeting
for the Fourth World Conference on Women, held at Vienna from 17 to 21 October
1994,

       Desirous to make a useful contribution to the preparations for the
Conference and to the establishment of the Platform for Action that will be
produced by it,

       Considering that the promotion of equality between women ant men is a
matter of priority for the international community,

       Determined to contribute meaningfully to the promotion of a better
world, based on the dignity and worth of the human person, the equal rights of
women and men and of nations large and small, as stipulated in the Charter of
the United Nations,

       Realizing that every individual and the international community as a
whole have a basic responsibility to respect the dignity of every human
person, and this based on mutual respect and tolerance, thus to safeguard
against all forms of violation, discrimination and exclusion,

       Emphasizing the responsibilities of all States to promote and protect
all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all and to encourage respect for
them,

       Reaffirming our commitment to the provisions contained in the
international human rights instruments, in particular the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Declaration
on the Elimination of Violence Against Women

       Convinced that the future of our societies and the progress of the
region calls for increased joint effort, to promote equality and partnership
between women and men, based on the observance of and respect for human rights
and fundamental freedoms, cessation of all forms of discrimination and
violence against women, especially trafficking in women and children and
sexual exploitation, non-violent conflict resolution, democracy and peace with
full and equal participation of women,

       Conscious that the implementation of the Nairobi For
Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women to the Year 2000
requires further and accelerated action in order to achieve effectively the
commitment of our Governments and peoples to equality, development and peace,

       Conscious also that commitment must be inspired by the major outcomes
of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the World
Conference on Human Rights and the International Conference on Population and
Development and can make a significant contribution to the World Summit on
Social Development,

       Conscious that policies must be relevant to the needs and concerns of
women at all stages of their life cycle,

       Recognizing that economic and social policies, both macro and micro,
have gender- and age-differentiated impacts and that action must be taken to
eliminate or adjust any adverse impacts,

       Recognizing the importance of the inclusion of women with disabilities
in all actions called for in this document,

       Conscious that the achievement of peace is a basic prerequisite for
steady and effective progress in the situation of women in war-torn areas, and
willing to support the peace-making process in such areas of the ECE region,

       Aware of different historical circumstances and situations facing women
within the ECE region, particularly in the countries in transition, as well as
of the burden resulting from those countries' transformation to democracy,

       Believing that the challenges and opportunities created by the changing
global political and economic environment must be met through equitable,
effective, gender-sensitive economic and social policies at the national,
regional ant international levels,

       Conscious that economic and social disparities exist also between the
different regions of the world, and determined to reduce those disparities by
self-reliant efforts, as well as by solidarity and cooperation,

       Conscious that agenda perspective and greater focus on vulnerable
groups such as rural women and those living in extreme poverty should be
integrated into the mainstream of development assistance, both within the ECE
and other regions,

       Convinced that women of the ECE region living in developed and
democratic countries where they have furthered their rights, also have duties
towards the women who are fighting for rights, equality and democracy in other
countries,

1.   Declare that the first intergovernmental ECE Regional Preparatory
Meeting ever organized for a United Nations World Conference on Women
constitutes a unique opportunity for forging closer links among countries of
the region in their policies and activities aimed at ensuring the advancement
and empowerment of all women living in the region,

2.   Commit our Governments to achieving, by the year 2000, a more equitable
and sustainable society where women's knowledge, potential and contributions
are recognized and taken fully into account in all policy and decision-making
Action to achieve such a society will be based on the following basic
principles

       (a) The human rights of women are an inalienable. integral and
indivisible part of universal human rights and must therefore be promoted,
protected and realized at all stages of the life cycle - childhood,
adolescence, adulthood and old age - and must further reflect the full
diversity of women, recognizing that many women face additional barriers
because of such factors as their race, language, ethnicity, culture, religion,
sexual orientation, disability, socio-economic class or status as indigenous
people, migrants, displaced people or refugees;

       (b) The promotion of equality and partnership among women and men
requires a more equitable sharing of authority and responsibilities in family
life, work, and society, as well as a more equitable sharing of economic and
political power. Equal opportunities for women and men are needed for the
realization of full human potential and thus the achievement of sustainable
human development, democracy and peace;

       (c) Partnership between women and men is the basis for a new gender
contract based on equality which would entail a redistribution of domestic and
family care, contribute to economic independence for women, reduce women's
double workload and break down existing stereotypes of the roles of women and
men;

       (d) A new sender contract involves an active and visible policy of
mainstreaming a gender perspective into all relevant political, economic and
social policy fields at the central, regional and local levels, so that before
various decisions are taken in society, an analysis has already been made of
the effects on women and men respectively. Such mainstreaming is crucial, not
only in order to achieve equality between women and men but also to contribute
to sustainable development and political, economic and social efficiency in
the region;

       (e) Fostering democracy and promoting equality between women and men
are mutually reinforcing. The participation of women as fully fledged
protagonists, on an equal footing with men, in decision-making in all areas of
political, economic, social and cultural life, is a condition and prerequisite
of a fully democratic society. Based on the respect for fundamental political,
civil, economic. social and cultural rights, fostering and promoting equality
between women and men enables the strengthening of women's conditions and
status and participation at all levels of decision-making, which in turn is a
prerequisite for the advancement of women;

       (f) Solidarity for the empowerment of women within the region and with
other societies is crucial for ensuring women's advancement and-to enhancing
their participation in the political, economic and social structures and
institutions in all countries,

       (g) Education and training which integrate a gender perspective are key
to achieving equality for women and girls and must be a priority to ensure
their effective and equal participation in society;

       (h) Maintenance of peace and security at the global, regional and local
levels, together with prevention of policies of aggression and ethnic
cleansing and with resolution of armed conflicts, is crucial for the
protection of the universal human rights of women and the girl child, as well
as for the elimination of all forms of violence against them and of their use
as a weapon of war. The achievement of peace is a precondition for any
programme for women in areas and countries that are at war;

3.   Adopt the Regional Platform for Action emanating from the High-level
Regional Preparatory Meeting, by which, based on our statement of mission and
major trends identified within the region. seven strategic objectives have
been identified, derived from seven critical areas of concern;

4.   Decide to establish, improve, maintain and strengthen national
machineries at all levels in order to implement those strategic objectives;

5.   Call on all other actors, intergovernmental organizations,
non-governmental organizations, the public and the private sector and research
and academic circles to join forces in securing the implementation and
subsequent evaluation of the strategic objectives contained in the Regional
Platform for Action.

6.   Call for maximum cooperation in mobilizing resources for the
implementation of the strategic objectives;

7.   Express readiness to provide assistance to countries in transition,
taking into account their specific needs in the implementation of the
strategic objectives;

8.   Express our willingness and commitment to spare no efforts in
implementing the priority actions set forth herein at the central, regional
and local levels in our societies as well as to cooperate with the United
Nations, other regional and international organizations and non-governmental
organizations on implementation at the regional and international levels;

9.   Trust that the Regional Platform for Action will contribute meaningfully
to the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality,
Development and Peace.

                               I. STATEMENT OF MISSION

1.   The basic objectives of the ECE High-level Regional Preparatory Meeting
for the Fourth World Conference on Women will be as follows:

       (a) To review and appraise the evolving status of women and gender
relations in the ECE region, in the light of the major changes that have
occurred at the regional and global levels;

       (b) To appraise the human rights of women in the region, bearing in
mind the universal and indivisible nature of all human rights, particularly as
they relate to women;

       (c) To assess in particular the impact of the political, economic,
social and institutional changes on women and on their role both as
beneficiaries of, and contributors to, the development of their societies and
economics;

       (d) To highlight both the major problems faced by women and the new
opportunities for realizing their potential, particularly in the economies in
transition, and to identify the remaining constraints to realizing that
potential;

       (e) To define a set of action-oriented guidelines and concrete measures
aimed at improving the situation of women in all countries, particularly in
countries in transition, and at overcoming the problems encountered and taking
full advantage of emerging opportunities, thereby facilitating women's
empowerment at all levels of society;

       (f) To contribute to a strategy for development based on a partnership
in support of equality between women and men in all parts of the world, taking
into account the need for global, sustainable human development.

2.   In order to meet these objectives effectively, the specific features of
the ECE region need to be taken fully into consideration and properly
addressed. Stretching over three continents, the region comprises 54
countries, including 24 economies in transition, characterized by disparities
in size, population, cultural and historical background and levels of economic
and social development. In a number of transition countries, women are the
first to suffer from the negative effects of economic restructuring,
resurgence of nationalism, as well as ethnic and other types of conflicts.
Some of these countries face critical problems related to an unprecedented
inflow of millions of refugees and displaced persons, women in particular.
Account was taken of these disparities in defining the statement of mission
and examining the regional framework. At the same time, the areas of concern
and the strategic objectives outlined below are common to all ECE member
States. These areas and objectives are deliberately selective in order to
focus on those which are most relevant to the region and to allow for a more
in-depth treatment. They form the basis for the priority actions that need to
be undertaken during the coming years and which are governed by the basic
principles embodied in the Preambular Declaration.


                               II. REGIONAL FRAMEWORK

3.   The draft platform for action of the Fourth World Conference on Women
notes that, "since the adoption of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for
the Advancement of Women, in 1985, the world has been experiencing a global
process of restructuring of economic, social and cultural relationships. This
restructuring process has had a profound impact, both positive and negative,
on women." The major trends in the ECE region are briefly outlined below.

4.   Women, including those with young children, have continued to increase
their participation in the labour market, even during the recent recession. In
some countries of the region, almost as many women as men are engaged in paid
employment. This "feminization" of the labour force has contributed to
economic growth and brought to many women a measure of economic and social
independence. The number of women in decision-making has increased,
particularly in national parliaments. In many parts of the region, national
machineries for the advancement of women have been established and existing
structures have been reinforced and made more visible. Many countries have
introduced new legislation, or strengthened existing legislation, in order to
eliminate discrimination against women, particularly in working life.
Increased awareness of the importance of strengthening women's enjoyment of
human rights can be noted, as well as increased attention to issues of
equality between women and men in general.

5.   Much, however, remains to be done before equality is achieved in the
region. The present situation indicates that lingering effects of the recent
recession in western Europe and North America, as well as the "transformation
stress" in countries of eastern and central Europe and the Commonwealth of
Independent States, have had a more adverse effect on women than on men in
terms of equal access to employment, economic rewards, working and
environmental conditions, social welfare and health care. In other parts of
the region as well, there are signs pointing to a slower pace or even setbacks
in the work of promoting equality.

6.   Persistent unemployment and cuts in social expenditures are affecting
incomes and living standards throughout the region. The degree of hardship
varies considerably, but countries of Eastern and Central Europe and the
Commonwealth of Independent States are the hardest hit because of the
compounded effects of the transition and the global economic crisis. That
crisis has also gravely affected the most disadvantaged groups in countries of
western Europe and North America, thus contributing to the economic exclusion
of women.

7.   An increasing number of women are experiencing labour-related poverty.
They are either excluded from the labour market altogether or employed in
low-waged and low-skilled jobs with atypical contracts which place them in a
situation of permanent economic insecurity. Women in most countries in
transition, especially rural and immigrant women, as well as women over 40,
are particularly hard hit by unemployment and they are often not eligible for
pension. In addition, women with good qualifications must often accept jobs
that do not utilize their full capacities. Women workers also face sexual
harassment, which further circumscribes their employment opportunities.
Unemployment has driven many women, especially in some countries in
transition, into prostitution. Therefore Governments must fund safe support
systems for women as well as training and retraining schemes aimed at creating
employment opportunities.

8.   Finally, the labour market in the region has not yet been organized in
such a way that people can fulfil their obligations in the family, including
those towards children, the elderly, the disabled and the ill. Women often
have the double burden of two jobs, one in the workplace and one in the home,
resulting in additional stress and fatigue, which have a number of effects,
including on their health. This general deterioration in the employment
situation, together with the decreased provision of social services in a
number of countries of the region and their continuing scarcity in others, has
contributed to the feminization of poverty and has a negative impact on
women's physical and mental well-being, affecting in particular disadvantaged
groups of women such as those suffering from disease, women with disabilities,
indigenous women, single mothers, members of ethnic and racial minorities,
migrant workers, refugee and displaced women and older women. Particular
attention must be given to the health of those young women who are perpetually
unemployed.

9.   It thus appears that the opportunities opened by new technologies, more
flexible production systems and the development of services have also created
a number of obstacles that women are still facing. In all of the region's
economies, women's jobs are clustered at the lower end of the labour market
spectrum. However, a large number of women are university graduates with
professional degrees. These women often earn less than their male
counterparts. Consequently, their pensions are smaller. This problem is
particularly severe in some countries in transition. Upward mobility and
career prospects are limited and not in keeping with women's skills and
education. In most parts of the region, the need to reconcile family
responsibilities and work, paid or unpaid, outside the home is inadequately
reflected in social infrastructure and the sharing between parents of parental
and domestic tasks. Women have a double workload which hampers their full
contribution to the economy. Women have taken on responsibilities in the
labour market to a greater degree and at a faster pace than men have taken on
responsibilities in the household, although in many parts of the region, among
women and men alike, attitudes and values relating to gender roles have
started to change.

10.  More emphasis and resources should be placed on the education and
empowerment of women to allow a stronger representation of women in
decision-making and high level positions in both the public and the private
sectors. The presence of women at senior levels in spheres that have real
power to make or influence policy - politics, public bodies, business and
finance, trade unions, media, academic and scientific institutions - is at
best growing too slowly. In a number of countries it is actually regressing
significantly.

11.  The World Conference on Human Rights recognized that the human rights of
women and the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of
universal human rights. The full and equal participation of women in
political, civil, economic, social and cultural life, at the national,
regional and international levels, and the eradication of all forms of
discrimination on grounds of sex are therefore priority objectives of the
international community. In the ECE region, progress has been made to further
develop national legislation and plans by subregional groupings to promote and
safeguard the human rights of women and to provide an underpinning of equality
between women and men in economic and public life.

12.  Not all ECE countries, however, have ratified, implemented and enforced
the existing conventions and other international instruments relating to
equality and human rights of women, particularly the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. It appears also that
some countries have removed the equality legislation previously adopted. The
application of existing legislation remains insufficient in most countries of
the region, and there is a gap between de jure and de facto equality, due in
particular to lack of awareness by women and men alike, as well as to a lack
of enforcement of constitutional law, civil, penal and commercial codes, and
administrative rules and regulations and to a lack of commitment by political
authorities.  Also hindering the effective application of existing legislation
are, for instance, discriminatory practices, under-representation of women in
the justice system, gender bias in the justice system, insufficient
information on existing rights and a deliberate intent to maintain the
attitudes which perpetrate women's inequality.

13.  Absence of the right of individual petition, and the large number of
reservations that are contrary to the object and purpose of the Convention or
which are otherwise incompatible with international treaty law, prevent the
Convention from functioning effectively and hamper the actual achievement of
equality between women and men.

14.  Awareness and enforcement of legislation for the equal treatment of
women and men calls for an appropriate institutional framework. In many
countries of the region, the national machineries established to ensure the
advancement of women through the formulation and monitoring of public
policies, advocacy and the mobilization of support are still weak or are being
cut back. Often, these national machineries are understaffed and marginalized
in national government bodies, and their profile and power eroded as a result
of a policy shift from equity principles to deficit reduction. In some
countries such national machineries have not yet been established. Statistical
systems in a number of countries do not provide adequate data ant indicators
disaggregated by sex.  Such data are necessary for a complete analysis of
gender aspects of the economic and social situation, to fix benchmarks and
targets, to inform policies and legislation and to monitor the evolving
situation.

15.  The end of the Cold War has brought about new international political
relationships, which have greatly reduced the threat of global war and
promoted the peaceful resolution of many regional conflicts. At the same time,
peace in many parts of the world, including in the ECE region, is being
threatened by the resurgence of nationalism, racism and xenophobia, as well as
by wars of aggression and ethnic and other types of conflict. The grave
violations of the human rights of women, particularly in times of armed
conflict and including murder, torture, systematic rape. forced pregnancy and
forced abortion, and especially policies of so-called "ethnic cleansing", are
unacceptable These practices have created inter alia a mass flow of refugees
and displaced persons, among whom women, adolescent girls and children
constitute the majority.

16.  The end of the Cold War and the growing interdependence among nations
have determined the political, economic and social background of the region.
The international community is moving towards a dynamic new approach to
development - one which integrates the individual human dimension into the
notion of security by identifying the well-being of people, rather than the
current level of per capita national income, as the essence of development.
Economic policies which increase the gross domestic product cannot be
considered successful if they benefit the few while causing environmental
degradation, poverty and financial insecurity for the many Concepts and values
such as sustainability, human development, social development,
gender-responsive development and women's rights as human rights, equality and
social justice, are becoming increasingly central to the development debate.
Development thinking has also shifted from viewing discrimination against
women exclusively as a women's issue to seeing it as affecting the whole of
society and constituting an obstacle to development.

17.  Valuing women's own contribution to the economy and increasing their
participation in decision-making bodies in all spheres of public life enables
them to play a decisive role in the promotion and implementation of a renewed
vision of development, in particular in the areas discussed below.

18.  Women's participation in decision-making. Women's participation in
decision-making has risen since the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies were
adopted, as evidenced in such phenomena as the establishment or strengthening
of national machineries: increased participation in political decision-making;
increased awareness of human rights; and increased paid employment, which
results in such structural changes as measures to combine women's work with
their parental responsibilities.

19.  Development. Development, in the broadest sense, involves securing
peace, protecting the environment, securing social integration, achieving
democracy and the empowerment of women, ensuring respect for human rights, and
promoting a healthy and well-educated population. Economic growth should be
accompanied by full employment, reduction of poverty, attention to the
particular health risks of women's exposure to environmental hazards and
improved income distribution through equal opportunities for both women and
men. The policies and market imperfections that promote inefficient use of
natural resources and environmental degradation constrain the management of
the environment. Attention to these constraints is required to support women's
valuable contributions to improving the environment, not only through their
consumer decisions and household management, but also through their roles as
economic actors in business, industry and agriculture.

20.  Women's role in new development prospects. The distinction between
national and international policies is fading, creating a need for a global
approach to future development. Society should make greater and more creative
use of women's skills and entrepreneurship as a major contribution to growth
and general prosperity. There has been a lack of recognition of human
resources from the central and eastern European countries in transition. The
skills of women in these countries have made major contributions to the
political, economic and social life of their respective countries, and their
inputs should continue to be developed, supported and utilized. That women
have this potential is clearly demonstrated by the increasing number of
enterprises being set up by women in the ECE region.

21.  Similarly, there has been some improvement within the region in women's
role in the economy, although this trend varies greatly from country to
country. Particularly in the market economics of western Europe and North
America, the liberalization of trade and the greater freedom of movement, both
of labour and capital, which resulted from the globalization of the economy
and the development of new computer-based technologies has created additional
jobs in the service sector, of which women have been major beneficiaries. At
the same time, these gains are being partly offset by falling remuneration,
deterioration of working conditions and the loss of jobs in female-dominated
occupations in clerical and telecommunications sectors.

22.  Gender impact. The impact of national and international economic and
social policies on women and men must be taken into account from the earliest
stages of formulation and throughout the implementation and evaluation
process. The lessons drawn from a gender and development approach, as well as
from countries which pursue gender-sensitive policy implementation strategies,
should be used for further developing methodologies and mechanisms and for
mainstreaming gender concerns into economic and social policy.

23.  The ECE economy and sustainable development.The ECE region plays a
crucial role in relation to other regions because of its political and
economic impact on the world economy and therefore has a major role to play in
the promotion of sustainable development. In fact, while all countries must be
concerned with addressing sustainable patterns of production and consumption,
the ECE region should take a lead in this regard. As set forth in the Rio
Declaration and Agenda 21, adopted by the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development, which includes Chapter 24 entitled "Global Action
for Women Towards Sustainable and Equitable Development" as well as numerous
other references to the important role of women, women have 3 vital role to
play in environmental management and development and their full participation
is therefore essential to achieving sustainable development.


                           III. CRITICAL AREAS OF CONCERN

24.  Based on decision K (48) of the Economic Commission for Europe and the
subsequent outline of the draft agenda for the Meeting, the main headings of
which have been endorsed in decision J (49), seven critical areas of concern,
of particular relevance to the ECE region, have been identified.

A. Insufficient Promotion and Protection of women's human rights

25.  Despite the fact that the human rights of women are now recognized as an
integral and inalienable part of human rights, international conventions and
standards, particularly the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women, have not yet been ratified by, or are not
complied with in, all countries of the region. Equally serious is the fact
that the human rights instruments are being undermined by those reservations
which conflict with the object and purpose of the Convention. In addition, the
Convention does not accord women the right of individual petition.

26.  Although it is a duty of States, regardless of their political, economic
and cultural systems, to promote all human rights and fundamental freedoms, in
some countries national laws still fail to conform to these conventions and
standards and there is too often a lack of appropriate recourse, enforcement
and protection mechanisms.

27.  Human sexuality and gender relations are closely interrelated and
together affect the ability of women and men to achieve and maintain sexual
health and manage their reproductive lives. Equal relationships between women
and men in matters of sexual relations and reproduction, including full
respect for the physical integrity of the human body, require mutual respect
and willingness to accept responsibility for the consequences of sexual
behaviour. In this respect, women's reproductive rights, and sexual rights 1/
are often not respected and sometimes not yet recognized.

28.  All forms of violence against women, in public as well as private life,
although they have entered public debate and are condemned both as crimes in
national legislation and as a violation of the human rights of women, still
affect too many women in all countries of the ECE region.

29.  The serious situation of women in war-torn and occupied areas, where
they are often victims of torture. systematic rape, other forms of violence
and violations of their human rights and fundamental freedoms, requires
special attention and concrete action.

30.  Refugee women are in urgent need of gender-sensitive protection in terms
of their right to seek asylum, family reunification requests and integration
into the country of asylum. Aid and assistance are needed in finding durable
solutions to their plight and in responding to the specific problems faced by
them. Displaced women who do not qualify for refugee status and who are in
some cases outside their country are also vulnerable and need international
protection. Refugee and displaced women have the right to a guarantee of safe
and protected return to their homes.

31.  Documented migrant women are also in need of gender-sensitive protection
in responding to the specific problems faced by them and their legal
integration in the country of migration. Undocumented migrant women are
vulnerable to abuses of their basic human rights and to forms of exploitation
such as prostitution and are therefore also in need of gender-sensitive
protection.

                             B. Feminization of poverty

32.  Women face a growing risk of poverty as a result of current labour
market trends and changes in the composition of the family. Increasingly. they
are more likely than men to be the "working poor" or living in absolute
poverty, occupying the bulk of low-level and low-paid jobs or working in
atypical employment. Women are also more likely than men to be parents
bringing up children single-handed or to be elderly persons living alone. The
causes of poverty go hand in hand with the rise in female-headed households,
which are often among the poorest of the poor in a cycle of poverty that
continues from grandmother to granddaughter. Poverty eradication strategies,
which are primarily concerned with the monetized economy and tend to target
men directly as breadwinners, have often failed to take into account the
differential impact of economic policies on women and men and have therefore
had limited success in improving women's situation in such important areas as
housing. Special attention should be given to the severe problem of housing,
which numerous women heads of households are facing.

33.  A number of factors specifically affect women and should be taken into
account in the treatment of poverty. The most disadvantaged groups of women
tend to be rural women in isolated areas and poor urban women - in particular
women who head households, elderly women, girls and adolescents, teenage
mothers, unemployed women, migrants and immigrants, refugees and displaced
women, indigenous women, members of ethnic and racial minorities, prostitutes
and victims of sexual exploitation, who are often adolescents and street
youth, disabled women, those affected by the human immunodeficiency virus
(HIV) or women addicted to drugs or alcohol. In too many countries of the
region, the social welfare systems do not take sufficient account of the
specific consequences of those phenomena for women, and there is a tendency to
scale back the services provided by such systems. These disadvantaged groups
usually have limited access, if any, to such resources as education, training,
child care, capital, technology or land, which would enable them to obtain
employment or income.

C. Insufficient awareness of women's contribution to the economy
   in the context of sustainable development and insufficient
                  promotion of their potential

34.  In some countries of the region, the recession has resulted in a
slowdown or even a decline in women's participation in the economy. In a large
number of countries, however, women's share in the labour force and their
contribution to the economy continue to increase, although more and more women
cannot find full-time work or are under pressure to stay at home. A clear
shift from "one-breadwinner" to "two-breadwinner" societies can also be
discerned in many countries.

35.  In the region as a whole, however, women and men continue to have
unequal access to economic resources. The fact that women's income, which
derives mostly from wages, is on average lower than men's is due to the
horizontally and vertically segregated labour market. More women than men work
part-time, which also affects their wages.

36.  Women and men are also found in different sectors and levels of working
life, with women often working in professions and positions where the pay is
lower. Furthermore, pay differentials prevail when educational background,
experience in working life, etc. are taken into account. Equal pay for equal
work and work of equal value is not yet a reality in most parts of the region.

37.  In addition, working conditions in most countries are not adapted to the
fact that in a large number of families, both partners are working, even when
the children are small. Working life must be adapted to the needs of families
with children. Another, related, obstacle to women's full participation in the
economy is the fact that many men do not take their share of responsibility
for housework and child care. Furthermore, since women's unpaid work has not
been sufficiently recognized as a major contribution to the economy, it is
often ignored in the analysis and formulation of economic and social policies.

38.  There are also considerable differences in women's and men's access and
opportunities to exert power over economic structures in their societies In
most parts of the region, women are virtually absent from, or poorly
represented in, economic decision-making, including the formulation of
policies dealing with the distribution of economic resources, tax systems and
rules governing pay, among others. Since it is often within the framework of
such policies that individual men and women make their decisions, inter alia,
on how to divide their time between paid and unpaid work, the actual
development of these economic structures and policies has a direct impact on
women's and men's access to economic resources, their economic power and
consequently the degree of equality between them, at the individual and family
level as well as in society as a whole.

39.  There is growing recognition that economic and political reforms can
have a different effect on women and men. Much, however, remains to be done in
order to achieve increased awareness and recognition in this field.

40.  Women have an essential role to play in sustainable development as equal
participants in key decision-making at all levels and in the development of
sustainable and ecologically sound lifestyles. consumption and protection
patterns, and approaches to natural resources management. Their potential,
both within the family and in their economic and civic responsibilities, to
contribute to the management, protection and conservation of the environment,
is generally underutilized.

41.  Research and data gaps exist concerning the specific effects of
environmental degradation on women. Women have different susceptibilities to
environmental hazards, and the consequences of exposure to a given hazard may
differ for men and women because of differing physiologies and nutritional
needs. Data gathering and research will enable environmental and health-care
policies to take gender differences into account.

42.  Women in the region have make contributions by promoting social
awareness of ecologically sound lifestyles, consumption patterns and waste and
natural resources management. However, they are not equal partners in
environmental planning and policy-making in most countries of the region


D. Insufficient de facto gender equality in employment and economic
 opportunity and insufficient policies and measures to reconcile
             employment and family responsibilities.

43.    While generally decreasing on a global level, horizontal gender
segregation in employment is still the predominant pattern in most sectors of
the economy. Because of women's lack of access to senior and managerial
positions, vertical segregation persists in most sectors of activity, leading
to a concentration of women in repetitive, low-skilled and low-paid work.

44.  Such segregation is due in part, in some countries, to unequal access by
women to opportunities in education and training in science and technology, as
well as to gender-stereotyped socialization and stereotyped behaviour in
education and vocational training.

45.  Women in many ECE countries are disproportionately affected by
unemployment, as job losses are concentrated in "traditional" sectors, in
labour-intensive activities in the whole region, and also in heavy industry in
some countries of eastern and central Europe Women are also affected by the
restructuring of the economy and the absence of job creation in the public
sector as a result of budgetary constraints.

46.  Economic restructuring, particularly efforts to increase labour market
flexibility, has led to an increase in non-standard work arrangements in a
large number of ECE countries, mainly affecting women, their working
conditions and their employment security, including their fringe benefits,
total earnings and retirement income.

47.  The recession and other economic problems have led in many countries to
a rise in prostitution and jobs entailing sexual exploitation. Because this
phenomenon, which affects the human rights of women, is often international,
more international efforts and cooperation are needed to prevent its
expansion.

48.  Gaps between male and female wages for work of equal value are still
frequent in the region, both in the private and the public sector, and are
increasing in some sectors and areas, partly because the employment
traditionally undertaken by women is not yet properly recognized and properly
valued.

49.  Measures to ensure adequate working conditions for women, such as
providing occupational safety and health, are still insufficient in a number
of sectors in some countries.

50.  Sexual harassment and other forms of violence in the workplace
constitute a problem faced by women in the labour force in the region and are
a major issue of concern.

51.  Owing to the stereotyped perception of women's role primarily as wives
and mothers, a life-cycle approach to employment is still missing in almost
all countries of the region. The reality is that due to their role as wives
and mothers, women tend to enter, leave and re-enter the labour force
periodically more often than men. Nonetheless, education, training and
retraining schemes designed to increase women's access to jobs remain
insufficiently developed. These schemes often direct women to a limited number
of fields where career opportunities are limited.

52.  In some cases, the education of girls frequently does not prepare them
for employment. Education and training policies have not been sufficiently
adapted to the changing patterns of demand in the labour market and do not
sufficiently benefit women. Where may be increased discrimination against
women in view of new deregulation policies.

53.  Since the recent recession in most ECE countries, there has been a
tendency not to develop further policies and facilities for working parents
that would enable women and men to reconcile career and family both through
equal access to employment and through equal sharing of domestic, parental and
family responsibilities.

54.  The once prevalent stereotype that kept women in the home and men in the
professional world no longer corresponds to the reality and life plans of most
people. Hence, men must be encouraged to participate more actively in family
tasks and women given more opportunities to pursue a fulfilling career and to
take a full and equal role in public life.

55.  Specific measures such as maternity leave, parental leave for both
parents, reintegration of women workers in the workforce after childbearing,
retraining where necessary, improvement in child care and care for the elderly
and other dependent adults are in existent or still insufficient in many
countries of the region.

56.  In some countries, family policies do not sufficiently take into account
the equal legal status of women within the family and women's need for
economic independence. Income tax systems, especially where they are not based
on individuals, and social security systems do not yet meet such requirements
in most countries of the region.

57.  Women around the world share the common problem of inadequate attention
to their health needs, throughout all phases of their life cycle. The high
incidence of induced abortions in many areas of the ECE region testifies to an
inadequate access to high-quality family planning services, and even in cases
where abortions are not against the law, they are not always safe.

58.  A lifecycle approach to issues of women's health (physical and emotional
well-being) is needed, adopts principles through which health security can be
ensured for children, adolescents, adult women and older women alike.

     E.  Insufficient participation of women in public life

59.  There is generally a gap between the de jure and de facto situation of
women in terms of political rights, especially concerning their opportunities
for standing for election and having access to higher positions in political
decision-making bodies.

60.  Women continue to be under-represented in parliamentary, legislative and
regulatory bodies, as well as in the judiciary.

61.  Women are also gravely under-represented in most government and
ministerial functions, as well as in executive bodies at the provincial, local
and municipal levels, being, however, often over-represented in low to
mid-level government jobs, frequently in part-time positions. In most ECE
countries, women remain a minority at the senior and top managerial levels of
public administration, the productive and financial sectors (both public and
private), trade unions and employers' associations.

62.  The poverty gap between women and men makes it even harder to promote
equal access to public life by impoverished women, who are at an inherent
disadvantage because of their cultural backgrounds and lack of education and
professional experience. As a result, they have insufficient access to the
power bases of society and cannot adequately influence the process of change
and development under way in their societies.

63.  Negative media portrayal of women reinforces outdated perceptions, thus
contributing to gender inequality. Women do not have sufficient access to
positions where they can exert influence on media policies and programming.
The most disadvantaged groups among them, especially those socially
marginalized and belonging to minorities, have little access to
power structures in the public sphere.

64.  Whilst women's organizations have been successful in increasing the
effective mobilization and empowerment of women, the validity of their
positive contribution is not always sufficiently recognized by Governments and
political authorities, and they are not always adequately represented in
consultative bodies.

F.  Insufficient statistical systems databases and methodologies
to inform policies and legislation and to secure equal treatment
                        of women and men.

65.  Most national statistical systems do not yet reflect the increasing
concern for collecting, analyzing, disseminating and updating data
disaggregated by sex. This leads inter alia to an underestimation of women's
participation in the labour force and in other spheres of society, to a lack
of visibility of their domestic, household, informal and related activities as
well as to a lack of measurement of the disparities between their input and
the outcome they can benefit from, as full beneficiaries. Statistics should be
compiled in such a way as to help in the evaluation of the present economic
situation of women.

66.  National, regional and international statistical institutions still have
insufficient knowledge of how to present the issues related to equal treatment
of women and men in the economic and social spheres. In particular, there is
insufficient use of existing databases and methodologies in the important
sphere of decision-making. This hampers the development and fostering of
innovative policies for the advancement of women and does not allow for a
consistent and continuous monitoring process of existing policies.

G. Insufficient intra- and interregional networking and cooperation
                   on the advancement of women

67.  In an increasingly global economy, partnership and exchange of
experience demand global solidarity and commitment to improving women's
position in all regions.

68.  Regional cooperation and assistance have not yet sufficiently integrated
gender concerns into the planning and implementation stages of development
programmes. Gender-specific programmes directed at the most affected groups of
women in countries with economies in transition, for instance, have not yet
been developed.

69.  There is still an overall lack of awareness of gender concerns both
inside and outside the region. Both international trade and development
cooperation policies can have a negative impact on the status of women in
other regions. Women still do not take part in decision-making on these
international policies on an equal footing with men. The need to support
institution-building of representative women's organizations and of national
machineries responsible for gender issues in partner countries has not been
adequately addressed.

70.  Support for local activities initiated be and for women in countries in
transition has not been sufficiently forthcoming, either from governmental or
non-governmental sources

    IV. STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES DERIVED FROM THE CRITICAL AREAS
               OF CONCERN, AND ACTION TO BE TAKEN


      A. Promote. achieve and protect the full realization
                   of all women's human rights

71.  Governments should give priority to promoting and protecting the full
and equal enjoyment by women and men of all human rights and fundamental
freedoms without distinction of any kind such as race, colour, sex, language,
religion, political or other opinions, national or social origins, property,
birth or other status. Governments should make education and information on
women's human rights widely available and should publicize the existence of
national regional and international mechanisms for seeking redress when these
rights are violated.

72.  Governments are called upon, if they have not yet done so, to ratify -
preferably before the Fourth World Conference on Women but at least by the
year 2000 - all relevant international human rights treaties, particularly the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,
and to implement the recommendations made in the Declaration on the
Elimination of Violence against Women. Governments are urged to withdraw
recent actions that are contrary to the object and purpose of the Convention
or that are otherwise incompatible with international treaty law and formulate
any reservations as precisely and narrowly as possible. The treaty-monitoring
bodies should continue their work of examining and finding more effective
means to address the question of reservations of that kind. As called for in
the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference
on Human Rights the Commission on the Status of Women and the Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) should quickly examine the
possibility of introducing the right to petition through the preparation of an
optional protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women. Steps should be taken to ensure that CEDAW has
adequate meeting time and the necessary resources to perform its functions
under the Convention.

73.  Governments are urged to implement fully all international human rights
obligations and ensure women's equality before the law by adopting measures
that ensure gender equality and the elimination of gender bias in law and in
practice, inter alia by providing an effective legal framework to support
claims to equal rights. Measures should be taken by Governments or other
competent bodies to ensure that (a) public officials at international,
national and local levels receive training on women's human rights; (b)
women's access to the justice system is improved by providing legal
assistance; (c) judicial personnel, police. and public officials at the
community level receive training throughout their professional careers
enabling them to identify and appropriately address violations of women's
human rights. In this connection, gender-sensitive educational curricula are
essential for boys and girls at every level of the educational process to
ensure that they develop in an environment marked by respect for equality and
equal opportunities. Special attention should be paid to the eradication of
women's illiteracy.

74.  Governments should guarantee the full enjoyment of all rights, as set
forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights by women activists and nongovernmental
organizations working peacefully for the promotion of women's human rights.

75.  Governments should take urgent action to combat and eliminate all forms
of violence against women in public and private life, perpetrated by the State
or by private persons, including sexual violence and sexual harassment, sexual
exploitation and trafficking of girls, adolescents and women, and government-
and state-sponsored human rights violations and violence against women such as
torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, extrajudicial killings, and
disappearances of women. Governments should take steps to eliminate gender
bias In the administration of justice. Governments should promote increased
awareness of the links between violence against women, the lack of equality
between individual women and men as well as between women and men in general
in society. Governments are urged to observe the Declaration on the
Elimination of Violence against Women and all other human rights. Instruments
addressing these issues by reviewing existing legislation and taking effective
measures, including measures directed at the perpetrators. Governments should
also promote education and training for relevant personnel within the
judiciary, the health and medical sectors and for social workers. More
accurate age- and gender-specific data on all forms of violence against women,
as defined in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women, are urgently needed.

76.  Governments should actively support the work; of the Special Rapporteur
on Violence against Women appointed by the Commission on Human Rights and
ensure that the position is adequately funded. They should also cooperate with
the mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights to ensure that the rights of
women are taken into account. These include the special rapporteurs on
torture, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, religious intolerance
and racism; the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution
and child pornography; the Secretary-General's Special Representative on the
internally displaced; the working groups on disappearances and arbitrary
detention; and the special rapporteurs appointed on particular countries.
Governments should include full information on the situation of women and the
girl child in response to enquiries from any of these mechanisms.

77.  Violence against women and violation of the human rights of women in
situations of armed conflicts and foreign occupation, such as murder,
rape.,sexual abuse-including sexual slavery and forced pregnancy-torture,
cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, disappearances and arbitrary
detentions, requires particularly effective and urgent reactions by all
concerned at the national, regional and international levels. Particular
attention should be paid to sexual violence against uprooted women and girls
employed as a method of persecution in systematic campaigns of terror and
intimidation, and forcing members of a particular ethnic, cultural or
religious group to flee their homes. Governments are urged to uphold standards
set out in international humanitarian and human rights law and to prevent all
forms of violence. Perpetrators of such crimes should be punished and such
practices and violations immediately stopped.

78.  National, regional and international mechanisms of accountability should
focus particular attention on violations of women's rights and should exert
every effort to ensure that all those individuals involved in the perpetration
of such violations arc brought to justice in accordance with internationally
recognized principles of due process. All these mechanisms, and especially
those which address massive, systematic or profound violations of women's
rights, such as the United Nations Ad Hoc War Crime Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia, are encouraged to employ individual is with experience in
prosecuting gender-specific crimes and to ensure that all investigative and
prosecutorial personnel are trained in issues specific to such crimes. In this
context the Meeting welcomes efforts to establish an international criminal
court.

79.  Education in international human rights and humanitarian law should be
given to members of national and international armed forces on a routine and
continuing basis. They should also be reminded of, and sensitized to the fact
that rape is a crime and that the should respect the rights and dignity of all
women, at all times, both on and off duty.

80.  Governments should take urgent action to combat and eliminate violence
against women resulting from harmful traditional or customary practices,
cultural prejudices and/or religious extremism. They are also urged to
prohibit female genital mutilation wherever it exists and to
give vigourous support to efforts among non-governmental and community
organizations and religious institutions to eliminate such practices.

81.  Governments are encouraged to implement the recommendations contained in
the United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for
Persons with Disabilities. Special attention needs to be paid to ensuring
non-discrimination and the equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental
freedoms by women and girls with disabilities, including their access to
information and services in the field of violence against women as well as
their active participation in and economic contribution to all aspects of
society.

82.  Governments should take measures aimed at promoting and protecting the
rights of refugee and displaced women. These measures should include the
ratification of, accession to and implementation of all relevant international
instruments. They should also disseminate and implement the Guidelines on the
Protection of Refugee Women and the Guidelines on Evaluation and Care of
Victims of Trauma and Violence or similar guidance in close cooperation with
refugee women, in all sectors of refugee programmes. Procedures for the
processing of asylum applications for women asylum seekers should be
developed, recognizing that women and men often experience persecution
differently. The procedures should ensure particular sensitivity to those
claimants who might have been subjected to sexual violence.

83.  Special measures must bc taken to end violence against and exploitation
of migrant women. Particular attention should be paid to violence against
female migrant workers as well as women, adolescents and children affected by
the trafficking of persons, especially for purposes of prostitution, other
commercial sex work and domestic labour.

84.  Special measures should be adopted to eliminate trafficking in women and
to assist women and children victims of sex trade, sexual violence, forced
prostitution and forced labour, with special attention to migrant women.
Countries of origin and recipient countries should enforce existing
legislation in order to protect the rights of women and girl victims and to
sanction the offenders. Specific actions should be developed at the
intergovernmental level to prevent further abuse, including the dismantling of
international networks of trafficking. Special measures for the social,
medical and psychological care of these victims should be designed based on
cooperation between Governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

85.  Governments should comply with human rights standards and communicate
with non-governmental organizations and the relevant United Nations
institutions and mechanisms for the adoption, application and monitoring of
conventions, norms and standards aimed at promoting and safeguarding the full
and equal enjoyment by women of their human rights.

86.  Governments and non-governmental organisations should, as appropriate,
promote equal relationships between women and men in matters of sexual
relations and reproduction. Governments should ensure the implementation of
the right of all human persons to full respect of the physical integrity of
the human body. In this respect, Governments should take action to ensure that
women's reproductive rights 2/ and sexual rights are fully recognized and
respected.

          B. Promote the eradication of women's poverty

87.  Governments should identify those groups of women which are most
affected by poverty and institute measures to address that problem Programmes
to alleviate, reduce and eliminate poverty must achieve a number of objectives
access to productive assets, basic public services and social assistance at
the relevant minimum income level where appropriate, as well as the provision
of goods and services to the most disadvantaged groups who cannot provide for
themselves. Anti-poverty and employment programmes should establish, where
appropriate, food-market policies to improve the access of women headed and
women-maintained households to food supplies.
 
88.  Women as heads of households and families must be especially supported
economically in order to reduce the large number of poor women.

89.  Structural adjustment policies should take into account the effect of
their implementation on women and also directly respond to the role of women
in the economy. Gender impact analysis should be undertaken in the course of
implementing such policies. Where the gender impact analysis reveals that the
policies may have a differential negative impact on women, the policies should
be adjusted to address that impact, or supplementary programmes should be
established adequately to alleviate the burden imposed on women. When
developing structural adjustment policies, the provisions of the Commonwealth
Ottawa Declaration on Women and Structural Adjustment and the findings of the
OECD Expert Group Report entitled "Shaping Structural Change: The Role of
Women" may be useful as guidelines.

90.  Governments, through their representatives on the governing boards of
international financial institutions, should promote the application of gender
impact analysis in the lending activities of these agencies Governments are
encouraged to ensure representation of women on the boards of directors of
these institutions.

91.  International financial institutions should make an overall commitment
to gender equity through their policy instruments, operations and programmes.
They should be encouraged to promote gender equity through staffing, skills,
training and representation of women at all levels of these institutions.

92.  Concrete measures for development cooperation should be formulated to
improve the political, economic and social position of women within
international development aid programmes. Women should be given more
attention, or at least treated equally with men, in development assistance.

93.  To improve the political, economic and social position of women,
development cooperation policies and programmes within the ECE region and with
other regions, should be gender-sensitive and include a larger number of women
in the decision-making process. They should increase women's economic and
social security and their access to such resources as credit, land and basic
social services. Specific focus should be placed on vulnerable groups in rural
and urban areas, particularly women living in poverty.

94.  Gender analysis, including statistics, should be used systematically to
identify the gender-specific impact and implications of economic, political
and social reforms and policies, including international trade agreements. In
many instances the gender analysis should be further broken down into
age-specific categories and the outcome of the gender analysis incorporated in
decision-making processes. A systematic gender analysis of the causes and
consequences of poverty should be developed to identify those categories of
women that are most affected. Efficient systems are needed for monitoring
potentially harmful impacts so that policies can be redesigned as required.
These should be developed with the active participation of Governments and
non-governmental organizations.

95.  Governments should develop policy measures to integrate or reintegrate
poor women and socially marginalized women into productive employment and the
economic mainstream, including women who do not qualify for retirement or
unemployment benefits or child care because of the non-standard nature of
their former work. Such measures might include counselling, job training,
appropriate education and re-education, placement and supportive services

96.  A set of coherent nationwide policies needs to be promoted by
Governments to address the various factors which prevent the most
disadvantaged groups of women who live in poverty from enjoying their basic
economic, social and human rights. Such policies should be aimed at improving
the situation faced inter alia by rural and elderly women, adolescent women,
teenage mothers, street youth, migrants, refugee and displaced women, women
belonging to ethnic minorities, women heads of households in extreme poverty,
persecuted women, women with disabilities, women with HIV infection and women
affected by drug or alcohol abuse.

97.  Governments should direct special efforts to the needs of women
displaced by natural and manmade disasters.

98.  Governments should pay particular attention to refugee and displaced
women fleeing persecution and armed conflict. Equitable access to and
participation with men in decision-making on durable solutions (repatriation,
integration and resettlement) should be provided. Programmes recognizing the
specific reception and integration needs of female refugees, as well as the
reception needs of asylum seekers also need to be promoted, along with
gender-sensitive training of assistance personnel at all levels.

99.  Governments should take measures to recognize the foreign qualifications
of immigrant and refugee women to enable their full integration into the
labour force.

100. All parties involved in the development process, including academic
institutions and nongovernmental organizations, must be mobilized to improve
the effectiveness of anti-poverty programmes directed towards the poorest and
most disadvantaged groups of women. Women themselves should be involved at all
stages of the preparation, implementation and evaluation of such programmes.
However, Governments should not abrogate their responsibility for providing
for social well-being by sharing social responsibility to non-governmental
organizations and women.

      C. Strengthen and promote the recognition of women's
          full contribution to their national economies
                 and to sustainable development

101. In order to fully realize equality between women and men in their
contribution to the economies of the ECE region, active efforts are required
for recognizing equal appreciation and influence in society of the work,
experience, knowledge and values of both women and men.

102. Governments should:

       (a) Where necessary, undertake legislative and administrative reforms
to give women full and equal rights with men to economic resources, including
access to credit, title to property, asset holdings, inheritance and equal
access to natural and economic resources and to labour and zoning laws;

       (b) Promote increased awareness and recognition of women's and men's
unequal access to economic resources and their different possibilities for
exerting power in economic decision-making. They should, where appropriate,
undertake studies and analyses of the number of women and men taking part in
economic decision-making as well as women's and men's access to economic
resources. They should also promote the integration of a gender perspective in
all economic decision-making;

       (c) Review national income taxation systems, as well as social security
systems, with a view to placing individual women and men on an equal footing;

       (d) Make visible the unremunerated contributions of women to the
economy and, where appropriate, take them into account in the formulation and
implementation of economic and social policies as well as in the data on which
such policies are based;

       (e) Recognize that society has a collective responsibility for the care
of children in partnership with parents and-provide sufficient support in the
area of child care;

       (f) Ensure adequate research to assess how and to what extent women are
particularly susceptible or exposed to environmental hazards. In some cases,
this may include research and data collection on specific groups of women,
particularly low-income and minority women;

       (g) Ensure that women have access to information and education,
including in the environmental sciences and technology, thus providing an
adequate basis for participation in environmental decisions affecting their
health, food security and safety;

       (h) Act to reduce risks to women from identified environmental hazards
in the home, at work and in other environments, including through appropriate
applications of clean technologies and by exercising the precautionary
principle as agreed to in the Rio Declaration;

       (i) Facilitate opportunities for women to participate in environmental
decision-making at all levels;

       (j) Take measures to integrate women's concerns and a gender
perspective in the design and implementation of, inter alia, environmentally
sound and sustainable energy ant resource management mechanisms, protection
techniques, consumption patterns and infrastructure development in rural and
urban areas;

       (k) Acknowledge the valuable contribution to sustainable development
that women of the region make through their daily consumer decisions and fully
involve women in all aspects of policies designed to research ant promote
sustainable consumption and production patterns.

103. Measures to include women in the promotion of sustainable development
should be taken both in the private sector and at the policy level in public
administration. Special attention should be paid to low-income, ethnic
minority and indigenous women and economic sectors where women predominate,
including many small-scale production activities.

104. Women should be ensured equal opportunities of access and exercise of
new jobs resulting from new structures and new technology as well as jobs
developed within the health, day-care, elder-care and other sectors in order
to improve women's living conditions.

105. Particular attention and recognition should be given to the role and
special situation of women living in rural areas and those working in the
agricultural sector. Positive action should be taken to provide them with
appropriate training thus enabling them to increase their participation in the
sustainable development and modernization of this sector. Women, especially
women heads of small and medium-sized enterprises in the agricultural sectors
should be provided equal access to land, productive resources, credit,
development programmes and cooperative structures.

    D. Promote equal treatment between women and men workers
   and the harmonization of work and family responsibilities.

                   1. Employment and earnings

106. Rethinking employment policies is necessary in order to integrate the
gender perspective and to draw attention to a wider range of opportunities as
well as to address any negative gender implications of current patterns of
work and employment. Major shifts in employment policies need to:

       (a) Ensure that all macro- and micro-economic policies are subjected to
a gender impact analysis and that results of the analysis are recognized and
acted upon;

       (b) Attach high priority to the formulation of economic policies which
have a positive impact on the employment of women workers;

       (c) Broaden the range of employment opportunities for women, including
support of entrepreneurial activities and non-traditional occupations;

       (d) Encourage and assist the creation of a greater number of jobs in
all sectors of activity without gender segregation and with an appropriate and
equitable valuation of such jobs;

       (e) Reconsider the concept of a threefold division of the life cycle,
i.e., education, work and retirement, taking into account the
interrelationships among them as well as domestic, parental, elder-care and
family responsibilities of workers of both sexes;

       (f) Fully integrate the principle of non-discrimination between women
and men in their equal access to and utilization of social security;

107. Efforts should be made jointly by States, employers, employees'
organizations and women's organizations, according to their respective
responsibilities, to eliminate occupational segregation through, for instance,
increased access of women to highly skilled jobs and senior managerial
positions. Efforts should be increased to provide on-the-job career
development and, with regard to traditionally female-dominated professions, to
upgrade salaries, improve working conditions and enhance career development
and career opportunities.

108. Special measures need to be adopted to provide young women with
professional opportunities, in particular to widen such opportunities and
training, and to promote non-traditional careers for women.

109. Governments should take the necessary measures, such as implementing and
enforcing legislation, to ensure that gender discrimination is removed from
working life, particularly concerning the hiring, training and promoting of
employees, the terms and benefits of employment, sexual and racial harassment,
the direction of work and the termination of employment. Special measures need
to be implemented to deal with the multiple discriminations faced by women
belonging to racial and ethnic minorities and by disabled, indigenous and
migrant women.

110. Full- and part-time work should be freely chosen by women and men on an
equal basis. It is important to ensure appropriate protection for atypical
workers in terms of access to employment, working conditions and social
security.

111. Legislation and regulations related to labour rights and protection may
need to be examined and amended - including wages and working hours, social
benefits and other terms and conditions - to ensure that they apply as
appropriate to part-time and other non-standard workers, and also to ensure
that women and men have access to the same kind of benefits, especially women
working in the informal sector and in rural areas.

112. Social policy schemes should also be amended to take into account
demographic changes ageing of the population, the changing age distribution in
birth rates. the increase in single-parent families and the increase of
reconstituted families - which have a significant impact on the changing roles
of mothers and fathers.

113. Governments, as well as employers' and employees' associations and
women's organizations, should increase their efforts to close the gap between
women's and men's pay and take steps to implement the principle of equal pay
for equal work and work of equal value, in particular through strengthening
legislation, including compliance with international labour standards such as
International Labour Organisation (ILO) No 100 (1951) in this respect, and
through clear and effective corresponding enforcement methods. Job evaluation
schemes that include criteria typical of women's work should be encouraged.
Precise corresponding enforcement methods have to ensure proper access to
justice for women who have been discriminated against in the labour market

         2. Working conditions of women in the workplace

114. Given that working conditions in the labour market are to a certain
extent adapted to the needs of men, measures should be taken to end
discrimination in the workplace, thereby ensuring equality of working
conditions between women and men, especially regarding age, marital status,
health and safety. Particular attention should be paid to pregnant and
lactating women at the workplace.

115. It is essential that protection of women's reproductive health not be
used as a basis or justification for discriminatory treatment. Health and
safety standards must be adapted to protect pregnant women and women's and
men's reproductive systems.

116. Effective measures should be taken to ensure pregnant women and women on
maternity leave equal treatment in the labour market.

117. Measures should be taken by governments, employees, trade unions and
other relevant parties to eliminate sexual and racial harassment and all forms
of violence in the workplace. Public awareness has to be raised and further
legislation and enforcement measures should be adopted in this respect.

118. Union's officials elected to represent women need to be given job
protection in connection with the discharge of their functions.

               3. Education and training for women

119. Education and training are important keys to achieving gender equality
and women's economic independence and must be priority concerns when
distributing resources. Governments, educational authorities, other
educational and academic institutions and the social partners should take
measures to integrate a gender perspective in all education and training.
including in curricula, tuitional methods, teacher training and educational
material in order to encourage and support women, men, girls and boys to make
informed educational and vocational choices that are based on individual
capabilities, interests and concerns and not on gender-biased traditions.

120. Governments, in cooperation with employers, other social partners and
relevant parties such as women's organizations, should develop education and
training and retraining policies to ensure that women can acquire a wide range
of skills to meet new demands. In particular, policies are needed to ensure
basic education, to diversify vocational and technical training for women and
to increase women's access to education in science, mathematics engineering,
information technology and high technology, as well as management training.

121. Information training and-retraining systems, academic education and
support schemes directly targeted to women and girls, taking into
consideration the special needs, they might have, need to be established to
ensure that they can benefit from the new job opportunities opened by economic
restructuring, particularly in the financial and services sectors, new
technologies and in enterprise development through the creation of small and
medium-sized enterprises.

122. Measures should be taken to ensure equal access of women to ongoing
training in the workplace so as to upgrade skills and promote career
development. Special regard should be given to the training of single parents
as well as to women re-entering the labour market after an extended temporary
exit from employment owing to family responsibilities, using the experience
and skills acquired outside their professional life as a basis for developing
additional professional and academic qualifications. Women who have been
displaced by new forms of production or by retrenchment should also have
access to retraining facilities in order to maximize their ability to re-enter
the labour market. Such training and retraining schemes should take into
consideration such issues as the development of issues motivation and
self-confidence.

123. Government should ensure access to education and training at all proper
levels for adult women with little or no education and for migrant, refugee
and displaced women to improve their work opportunities. Women and girls with
disabilities should be given equal opportunities to the same education and
training as others in accordance with the Standard Rules on the Equalization
of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.

124. Gender stereotypes with regard to professional activity should be
eradicated through appropriate curricula and teaching material in education
and training and media efforts. Women's studies, teaching and gender research
should be supported and developed in higher education and integrated in
curricula and teachers training.

125. Girls should be encouraged to pursue a vigorous academic and technical
curriculum in order to widen their future opportunities. To this end,
professional school counselling, free of gender stereotypes, should be made
available.

126. School curricula should reflect the contributions and role of women in
society and include basic information on legal and media literacy, women's
human rights, women's sexuality, sex education and family planning measures
and other aspects related to the reproductive health of women.

127. Within the framework of regional cooperation, adequate attention should
be given to providing technical assistance and advisory services and training
and retraining connected with the transition to the market economy for women
in countries in transition.

             4. Access of women to entrepreneurship

128. Women's self-employment and development of small enterprises should be
promoted and supported. Women's right of access to credit on appropriate terms
should be equal to that of men and should be strengthened through the
scaling-up of institutions dedicated to promoting women's entrepreneurship,
including non-traditional and mutual credit schemes as well as innovative
linkages with financial institutions.

129. Government should consider measures to support women entrepreneurs, such
as the provision of maternity leave and/or other benefits.

130. Governments should also ensure that policies and regulations do not
discriminate against small enterprises run by women.

131. Governments, both at the national and local levels, should enhance rural
women's income-generating potential by facilitating their access to and
control over productive resources, land property rights and development
programmes.

132. Governments and community organizations should be encouraged to
establish loan pools for women entrepreneurs, drawing on successful
small-scale cooperative models.

133. NGOs should increase their efforts to provide networking arrangements
for entrepreneurial women, including opportunities for the monitoring of
inexperienced women by the more experienced.

      5. Reconciliation of work and family responsibilities

134. Governments should develop programmes, policies and other initiatives
aimed at creating conditions favorable to the establishment of a new gender
contract with a view to changing attitudes, practices and structures regarding
work and family care responsibilities.

135. Responsible governmental bodies should develop policies for the
provision of affordable and accessible quality care for children and other
dependants, taking into account the needs of all workers - women as well as
men:  full-time, part-time, shift workers, etc.

136. Measures should be taken to encourage men to assume full responsibility
as equal partners in the work with home, children ant elder care.

137. Through appropriate legislation, incentives and/or encouragement,
Governments should ensure adequate opportunities for women and men to take
parental leave and receive parental benefits.

138. The organization of work should enable women and men to combine work and
domestic, parental, elder care and family responsibilities.

139. Temporary exits from employment, the provision of transferable
employment benefits and arrangements for modifying working hours without
sacrificing employees' prospects of development and advancement at work and in
careers should be made possible through appropriate measures involving
relevant governmental bodies and employers' and employees' associations.

140. Other key measures to reconcile work and family life are changes in tax
and social security systems: provision of adequate child care services - child
minders, cre`ches, kindergartens, after-school programmes, school canteens:
appropriate organization of timetables, safe transportation for children, 
provisions for mothers to breastfeed: parental leave and leave for other
reasons and organization of care for the elderly and other dependent adults.
These measures can be designed and implemented through various innovative
forms of cooperation between the State (central and local Governments), the
private sector and local communities.

141. Increased sharing of roles and responsibilities within the family should
be promoted through innovative media campaigns and school and community
education programmes which emphasize gender equality and non-stereotyped
gender roles of women and men within the family so that women may participate
in public spheres and activities.

142. A set of complementary training schemes oriented towards the access of
women to employment and entrepreneurship, including reintegration into work
after maternity or parental leave or loss of jobs, should be designed. The
schemes should include on-the-job training for upgrading skills, in-house and
vocational training, retraining for acquiring specific skills or for combining
generic technical and social skills, access to higher education and training
for older women, and granting of educational credit for prior learning.

143. Governments should seek to enhance the self-reliance of special groups
of women, such as young women, disabled women, elderly women and women
belonging to racial and ethnic minorities, and to facilitate their continuing
participation in society. Appropriate measures should be implemented to secure
economic support for all women in particular elderly women going through
divorce and whose earning abilities are reduced as a result of the division of
labour during the marriage. To the extent possible, working conditions should
be adjusted to suit the needs of disabled women and these women should be
guaranteed legal protection against ungrounded job loss on account of their
disabilities.

                    6. Health needs of women

144. Women's health situation is critical to their general well-being. The
pursuit of women's health does not only and primarily benefit women
themselves, but serves the interests of society at large, including the
promotion of equal treatment between women and men workers and the
reconciliation of work and family responsibilities. Governments at the
national, and where appropriate, local levels should therefore:

       (a) Develop accessible, acceptable and affordable gender-sensitive
health services for women and girls, without discrimination against any group
and with due attention to disadvantaged groups including disabled women, with
age-appropriate acute, chronic and long-term care services for physical,
mental and addictive disorders;

       (b) Provide prevention, screening and early intervention services for
women and girls, including counselling and education, that may offer better
protection from, and earlier detection of, chronic diseases affecting women
that develop during the lifecycle, particularly reproductive health problems
but also cardiovascular diseases, various forms of cancer, sexually
transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS and osteoporosis;

       (c) Develop measures to reduce environmental and occupational hazards
that may affect women's health and infant and maternal mortality and
morbidity;

       (d) Increase research on women's health problems linked to their
employment in traditional and non-traditional fields and take measures, along
with the social partners to prevent work-related hazards and to improve
treatment in order to alleviate women's work-related health problems;

       (e) Take steps to eliminate violence against women and address its
emotional, mental and physical health consequences throughout their lives, and
seek also to eradicate harmful traditional practices, such as female genital
mutilation;

       (f) Based on the Programme of Action adopted by the International
Conference on Population and Development, it is the right of women and men to
be informed about and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and
acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, as well as to other
methods of their choice for regulation of fertility which are not against the
law, and access to appropriate health-care services that enable women to go
safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best
chance of having a healthy infant. These rights rest on the recognition of the
basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly on
the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information
and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and
reproductive health. These rights also include the right of all to make
decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and
violence, as expressed in human rights documents.

       The high incidence of induced abortions in many countries of the ECE
region testifies to a lack of quality family planning services. Women who
suffer from complications arising from unsafe abortion should have access to
quality services. Post-abortion counselling, education and family planning
services should be offered promptly, which will also help to avoid repeat
abortion;

       (g) Ensure that all women and girls have access to high quality health
information and education related to sexual and reproductive health, safe
motherhood and breastfeeding, diet, substance abuse, environmental hazards and
other areas that may affect their lifelong health and well-being. This
information and education should not be dependent on any commercial interest;

       (h) Increase support for:

       (i) the research, development and introduction of reproductive health
technologies, in partnership with research institutions;

       (ii) biomedical, behavioural, epidemiological and health service
research into diseases and conditions that affect women specifically or
differently, such as breast cancer and infections of the reproductive tract,
sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS;

       (i) Assure that women are full participants in all phases of research
design and implementation, and that all research results and findings are
reported desegregated by age, gender and socio-economic status as well as by
other subcategories as appropriate to the topic;

       (j) Increase participation of women in professional and managerial
positions in health institutions through training and supportive action;

       (k) Train all health-care professionals to respond appropriately to
women's health issues, not only physical but also mental;

       (l) Recognizing the rights, duties and responsibilities of parents and
other persons legally responsible for adolescents, provide, in a manner
consistent with the evolving capacities of adolescents, appropriate direction
and guidance in sexual and reproductive matters. Countries must ensure that
the programmes and attitude of health-care providers do not restrict the
access of adolescents to the appropriate services and information they need,
including on sexually transmitted diseases and sexual abuse. In doing so, and
in order inter alia to address sexual abuse, these services must safeguard the
rights of adolescents to privacy, confidentiality, respect and informed
consent, respecting cultural values and religious beliefs. In this context,
countries should, where appropriate, remove legal, regulatory and social
barriers to reproductive health information and care for adolescents.

      E. Promote full Participation of women in public life

145. Any society claiming to be democratic must take care that it provides
equal opportunities for all Its members. It must respect the right of all,
women and men alike to self-expression and self-realization. One of the
requirements of democracy must be the participation, on an equal footing, of
women and men in all walks of life. Thus the promotion of women's
participation, including at the highest levels, in party politics and in
decision-making processes is needed in order to strengthen democracy for both
women and men. Women in politics and decision-making positions in Governments
and legislative bodies contribute to redefining political priorities; placing
new items on the political agenda which reflect and address women's
gender-specific concerns, values and experiences; and providing new
perspectives on mainstream political issues. Therefore measures should be
taken by all sectors of society, particularly Governments, non-governmental
organizations, political parties and the social partners, to promote the full
and equal participation of women in public and political life.

146. Political parties should be encouraged to take the necessary measures to
ensure that women's participation and empowerment is assured and that women
have the same opportunities as men to participate in the activities of
political parties, such as scheduling meetings at convenient times and in
places providing child care. Political parties should be encouraged to provide
training on equal opportunities for all their members, male and female, to
enable them to have access to responsibility in the decision-making bodies of
these parties.

147. Political parties should be encouraged to ensure a balance between the
number of men and women candidates running for office and take measures to
give equally qualified men and women equal opportunities to belong to
decision-making bodies at all levels of the parts's structure. On a strictly
interim basis, these measures may include affirmative action measures to be
decided by the parties themselves and with the encouragement of other actors.
including Governments. Wherever the temporary special measure chosen is a
quota system, it is proposed that the quota should not target women but that,
in a spirit of equity, it may be established that neither sex may occupy a
proportion of seats inferior to a given percentage and that women should have
equal access to eligible places on electoral lists.

148. Women should be offered political training, including training in
leadership and decision-making, public speaking and self-assertion courses, as
well as in political campaigning starting at the local community level.

149. All Governments of the region should establish the goal of gender
balance in governmental bodies and committees, as well as in administrative
entities. Women should not be confined to those sectors where women are
traditionally found, such as education, health and welfare, but should have
access to the full range of government and other public appointments. For this
purpose, Governments should consider setting specific targets and implement
measures to increase the proportion of women in government positions, as well
as women in high positions in public administration, with a view to applying
the principle of equal opportunity.

150. Governments should promote equal rights legislation and positive action
which facilitate the hiring, promotion and training of women so that women are
offered equal career opportunities to enter and advance within the public
sector and private labour market.

151. Governments should take steps to monitor and evaluate progress in the
representation of women by, for example, encouraging the collection and
dissemination of statistics on the number of women and men. in particular at
higher levels, in various decision-making bodies from the local to the
international levels. This information should bc made available to the public.
Governments should also develop ways and means of having the views of the most
relevant women's organizations before taking decisions that are especially
important to women.

152. Governments should guarantee the right of women to be members of trade
unions. Trade unions and employers' associations should be encouraged to make
efforts and take measures to increase and improve equality of opportunity in
their ranks, as well as women's representation in their decision-making bodies
and in negotiations in all areas and at all levels.

153. Sport and sport-related organizations should be encouraged to develop
policies and programmes that increase the number of women coaches, decision
makers, officials and sports personnel at all levels, particularly when the
organization receives funds from the Government. Similar incentives should be
taken in the fields of art and culture.

154. NGOs, youth organizations and other groups taking initiatives for
promoting the advancement of women through grassroots activities, networking
and advocacy should receive encouragement and all forms of support and access
to information from Governments at the central, provincial and local levels.

155. The mass media have a powerful influence on forming public opinion and
reflecting societies. It should be kept in mind that they have a particularly
strong influence on children and young adults. The media, both public and
private. should make special efforts to contribute effectively to the
empowerment of women and to promote equality between women and men.

156. Guidelines for sender equality in the media, in employment and training
policies, as well as programming, should be developed and implemented.
National machineries should carefully focus their continued attention on the
action of the media in this respect, with a view to increasing public
awareness of these issues.

157. The media, both public and private, should promote women's access to
high-level positions, with a view to influencing policies and programmes in
this sector.

158. The media should be made aware of current stereotyping in order to avoid
stereotyped portrayal of women and men through self-regulation. The media
industry should be encouraged to develop, monitor and enforce standards of
conduct to avoid stereotypical, demeaning and degrading portrayals of women,
especially of violence against women. Women should be encouraged and given
means to express their opinions about such stereotyping and to demonstrate
their role in economic and social life.

159. Monitoring and change of the image of women, need also to be promoted
through research into women's activities and the findings should be discussed
in both political and public debates. Furthermore research and findings on
women and the media should be shared internationally to support concerted
action in an increasingly global sector.

160. The United Nations system should set an example for the recruitment and
promotion of women to decision-making positions by steadily improving gender
balance at all levels and in all areas of the secretariat structure. The
targets established by the United Nations in this regard, including in
particular the achievement of gender balance by the sear 2005, should be met
and present efforts to do so should be increased. In addition, international
financial institutions should ensure gender balance and representation of
diversity in decision-making positions.

161. Closely linked to the promotion of women to decision-making positions,
as well as to the objective of eliminating violence against women, is the need
for Governments to take action to ensure gender balance in peace negotiations,
peace-keeping and conflict resolution, which are primarily male domains in
most countries of the region. Guidelines can be drawn from the United Nations
declaration on the participation of women in promoting international peace and
cooperation. Governments should draw on the experience of non-governmental
women's peace organizations in promoting peace.

162. Governments should develop mechanisms for the advancement of women as
well as promote the mainstreaming of women's concerns in all areas of
decision-making, if necessary by reallocating resources.

    F. Develop more gender-specific statistical systems, data
                       and gender research

163. Gender research and women's studies should be used as a crucial
analytical tool for work on gender equality and be given adequate resources.

164. As part of their ongoing programmes. statistical services should
collect, maintain and improve data, including economic and financial data
desegregated by sex, including improvement in the concepts and methodologies
used to assess and monitor women's contributions to the economy and society.
They should analyse these data and provide other timely, reliable statistics
on the situation of women and men in order to eliminate gender stereotypes,
raise the awareness of policy makers, provide an unbiased basis for policies
and measures, promote and provide ideas for change, and monitor and evaluate
the impact of the implementation of policies and measures on women and men.

165. In order to accord greater visibility to, and promote greater
understanding of, the relative economic contributions of women and men through
paid and unpaid work, Governments should encourage the improvement of methods
for measuring work, especially unpaid work in areas such as agriculture. food
production and household work. In this respect Governments should encourage
the regular production and dissemination of time-use studies and other related
approaches. Advancing these analytical methods is important to improve the
understanding of women's and men's full contribution to the economy and thus
constitutes a more comprehensive basis for government and other policies at
all levels.

166. In order to monitor and reduce the magnitude of such practices,
statistical services should also collect data desegregated by age, sex and
ethnic group, to measure the extent of children's and adolescents labour
exploitation and make more visible the economic gain of educating girls.

167. Methodologies for establishing appropriate national indicators should be
developed and monitored so as to reflect the effect of inflation and all
relevant economic changes on the economic status and quality of life.

168. Statistical and qualitative studies on and monitoring of the number of
women and men in senior positions. including at a high level in economic
decision-making in the public and private sector. are needed.

169. Improved and age-specific data on all forms of violence against women,
such as sexual harassment, incidence of rape, incest and sexual abuse, and on
trafficking in women are needed. Such data should note any family relationship
between the perpetrator and complainant.

170. Improved and age-specific data on health and environmental risks are
needed.

171. New concepts, definitions and standards, together with corresponding
targets, should be developed in close connection with the users of statistical
data, reflecting the situation of women and men in today's society. This
includes, for example, concepts related to household, family and individual
income as well as paid and unpaid work. In order to ensure continuity, a
special unit or focal point in the national statistical offices, and staff
with gender expertise, should be considered.

172. Statistics based on the individual must be produced in order to follow
the living conditions and earnings through a lifetime.

173. The results of gender research and women's studies should be made
available for decision makers, the media, women's organizations and others
concerned. Systems producing prognoses aimed at facilitating the
decision-making process in society should be designed in such a way as to
counterbalance the different impact of proposed policies on women and men.
Gender impact assessment must be integrated into all policy and planning.

174. Governments are called upon to produce gender- and age-specific
statistics regularly the could be widely distributed and easily understood,
including fact sheets, brief reports and press releases, illustrating and
explaining the major trends in the evolution of the status of women a all
stages of their lives.

175. Regional technical cooperation aimed at supporting countries in
transition to develop and strengthen their national statistical systems,
particularly as they relate to the above-mentioned issues, needs to be
encouraged.

176. Governments should seek to develop gender impact analysis of all
sectoral policies and development programmes, national budgets and development
plans, and international trade agreements.

177. Women are still a minority in senior positions in universities and
research institutions. Measures should be developed to promote women's
participation in science and technology in such a way as to allow for the
reconciliation of the demands of scientific work, the development of relevant
qualifications and child-care responsibilities. Women's science, research and
studies should be an integrated element of the different sections of
universities and research institutions.

 G. Promote intra- and inter-regional solidarity and cooperation
                  for the empowerment of women

178. Governments, the social partners and NGOs should explore and implement
ways and means of strengthening cooperation among themselves in order to
promote the empowerment of women everywhere in the ECE region, with emphasis
on the demands and needs of women in countries in transition, refugee and
displaced women, and other disadvantaged women.

179. Regional and subregional intergovernmental organizations, such as CSCE,
the Council of Europe and ECE are called upon to strengthen their contribution
to such cooperation within their respective area of competence, including
analytical and statistical work, the application of international and
subregional standards exchange of experiences and operational programmes, as
well as dissemination of results.

180. International financial institutions have an important role to play in
ensuring that the funding they provide is used in ways that respect
international labour standards and promote gender equality.

181. Mainstreaming of the gender perspective should be applied to cooperation
programmes aimed at developing the private sector of the economy in the
countries in transition. Western establishments and joint ventures should be
stimulated through these programmes to apply and promote non-discrimination
and affirmative action measures.

182. In the socio-economic arena, corporations, social partners, the media
and NGOs, should develop various forms of cooperation and networking across
all countries of the ECE region and with other regions.

183. Within the framework of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, support
should be given to the education and training of girls and women in other
regions of the world and to building-up networks for this purpose.

184. Governments should reaffirm their commitment made with the adoption of
the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies, to international solidarity to support
women in this region as well as in all regions of the world. This commitment
should be realized by mainstreaming the gender perspective in all development
policies and programmes and by recognizing the importance of special actions
to support the empowerment of women. The specific training needs of countries
with economies in transition should be given special attention, and support to
the efforts of less developed regions should be promoted.


   V. MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION AND FOLLOW-UP IN THE ECE REGION

185. In deciding how best to implement the strategic objectives derived from
the identified critical areas of concern, full account needs to be taken of
the specific characteristics of each area and the elements common to all. Most
policies and actions are both sectoral and cross-sectoral. They should address
issues that have many dimensions - financial. legal, institutional and
societal and cultural. Equally; the implementation of recommended action for
the advancement of women requires interaction among many parties.

186. National Governments have a central role to play in implementing the
strategic objectives for the advancement of women. Equally, local NGOs and
grass-roots organizations have a special role to play in creating a social and
intellectual climate responsive to women's quests and aspirations. Women
representing different needs and perspectives including disabled, older and
young women, lesbians, women of colour and indigenous women, and low-income
women should be actively involved at all stages and levels of design,
development and implementation.

187. Governments and international organizations should recognize that
non-governmental organizations and their members play an important role in the
advancement of women by formulating recommendations and implementing decisions
made at United Nations World Conferences on Women, Preparatory Committee
meetings and other meetings concerning the advancement of women. It is
therefore important that measures be taken to provide NGOs with opportunities
to make their input known.

            A. National implementation and follow-up

188. Governments should (a) commit themselves at the highest political level
to achieving the goals and objectives contained in this Regional Platform for
Action and (b) take a leading role in coordinating the implementation,
monitoring and evaluation of follow-up action.

189. All countries should establish appropriate national follow-up,
accountability and monitoring mechanisms, in partnership with non-governmental
organizations, community groups and the academic community as well as with the
support of parliamentarians.

190. To reflect the priorities of action for the equality between men and
women related to the strategic objectives, Governments should consider sets of
national strategies for the advancement of women. Governments should consult
women's NGOs regarding the development of legislation and in the preparation
of national strategies and when dealing with issues related to the labour
market the national social partners.

191. Within the framework of such strategies, each country should develop and
implement comprehensive policies aimed at its specific priorities and identify
policies and measures expected to have a high impact on the empowerment of
women.

192. Strategies for equality between men and women should also include
national targets within a time-frame and a mechanism for regular review,
revision and enforcement. Targets should define problems more precisely to
lend transparency to government policies and ensure accountability.

193. Governments, NGOs and other partners in development cooperation should
develop strategies and specific measures, as well as monitoring mechanisms, to
ensure effective mainstreaming of gender aspects and empowerment of women
through development efforts, within the region as well as in other regions of
the world.

194. Strategies should clearly assign responsibilities to the main actors
responsible for their further development and implementation. Specific
programmes need to be conceived and implemented at national, provincial and
local levels.

195. In order to promote equality between men and women and the empowerment
of women, including in decision-making processes, Governments should commit
themselves to the goal of gender equality and gender balance in
decision-making, inter alia by assigning the political responsibility of the
coordination of gender equality policies to a Cabinet Minister.

196. Governments that have not already done so should establish national
machineries for the advancement or women, i.e. bodies or mechanisms that are
designated by the Governments as the central policy coordinating unit to
promote gender equality. Governments should also support NGOs dealing with
women's issues, especially women's youth organizations. The national
machineries should be encouraged to disseminate information on national and
international mechanisms and strategies established and decisions made to
NGOs.

197. Such central policy units should fall under the authority of the
Government and be located within the government structure, at the highest
level, allowing it to have a direct effect on government policy. To carry out
their task continuously and efficiently, they should be sufficiently financed
from special allocations in the national budget and should employ sufficiently
large numbers of professional staff.

198. Notwithstanding the institutional arrangements, established mechanisms
or bodies for the equal opportunity for women should be attached to or report
to the highest possible level, such as the office of the President or Prime
Minister, and periodically to their parliament. They should be provided with
the financial resources and authority to implement and monitor the national
strategy for the advancement of women.

199. Supplementing the establishment of special mechanisms for the
advancement of women and gender equality, routine procedures could be
established in all areas and at all levels of policy-making to assure
gender-sensitivity in decision-making and public planning. Policy makers in
sectoral ministries should be trained in gender analysis. This would allow
gender-related issues and targets of a sectoral nature to be taken up by line
ministers and/or sectoral institutions.

200. Monitoring, and evaluation of national strategies and targets should be
primarily done at national level: exchanges at the political, professional,
academic and non-governmental, including grass-roots levels, should be
stimulated in an open manner in which public authorities would organize
discussions on the implementation of the Platform for Action, both regional
and global. Proper information material has to be provided for that purpose.
The process would also facilitate the preparations of national reports of
State parties required by CEDAW and other reports relating to existing,
international conventions and other instruments of international law.

201. On the national level, it is necessary that Governments recognize the
role of NGOs, enable them to finance their activities and ensure that their
status is recognized and respected at all levels.

B. Subregional regional and inter-regional cooperation and follow-up

202. Within the framework of intra and interregional approaches and
multilateral arrangements specific consultation mechanisms should be
developed, primarily within the existing regional organizations and, if
necessary, new mechanisms should be established within existing resources to
ensure the participation of all countries and all partners concerned in the
preparation, implementation and monitoring of programmes corresponding to the
strategic objectives.

203. Regional or subregional groupings are thus encouraged to provide an
opportunity for increasing cooperation for the advancement of women, and
members of such organizations, especially countries in transition, are to be
invited to explore new possibilities for opening cooperation to support the
advancement of women in the economic, social and political as in the peace and
security fields.

204. International and regional financial institutions such as the World
Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and the
regional development banks should promote and support economic and social
policies that comply with and further international human rights commitments,
and, specifically, commitments to women's equality.

205. Monitoring the implementation of the Regional Platform for Action should
be carried out primarily through the existing regional organizations. such as
the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), the Council of Europe. the
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Conference
on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) as well as by the European Union,
and by the sub-regional bodies, in line with their competence. Exchange of
experiences from various national monitoring exercises should be facilitated.
e.g. by organizing regional meetings. Such initial meetings should be jointly
organized by major regional organizations according to their respective
priority areas and budgetary resources.

206. In addition to regional cooperation among Governments, institutions such
as trade unions, professional and trade associations, academic and
non-governmental organizations should be encouraged to launch similar
cooperation processes at the regional level.

207. Advancement of women offers immense possibilities for increased
transparency, accountability, equity and networking focused on the Regional
Platform for Action and based on well-defined strategies and targets.

208. At the regional level intergovernmental organizations should develop
specialized units working with women's NGOs; formulate specific NGO
cooperation programmes, and integrate an NGO dimension into their training
projects.

        C. The regional role of the United Nations system

209. The new trend in the United Nations system to integrate economic and
social issues and programmes could be strengthened by the rich experience of
women-related activities which need to be mainstreamed. For this purpose, the
United Nations system should play a significant role in organizing debates and
exchange of experiences on specific aspects of the implementation of strategic
objectives, in close cooperation with other global and regional organizations.
Accordingly, within existing resources, reporting systems and mechanisms
should be strengthened within the United Nations system and its specialized
agencies as a whole to facilitate an integrated approach to both the
implementation and the monitoring of such strategic objectives, preferably
through joint programming of specific activities. In this spirit, the
follow-up to the Regional Platform for Action could contribute to the
following:

       (a) Intergovernmental discussions on economic and social trends and
policies, at both macro and sectoral levels, should be conducted with due
consideration given to the major guidelines provided by the Platform for
Action;

       (b) Regional office of the specialized United Nations bodies and
agencies should as appropriate, develop and publicize a plan of action for
implementing the Platform for Action, including the identification of
time-frames and resources;

       (c) ECE should mainstream women's issues and gender perspective within
its existing mandate and activities, inter alia statistics and economic
analysis. ECE should, at its next annual session consider the establishment of
mechanisms and processes to ensure the implementation and monitoring of the
Regional Platform for Action;

       (d) Technical assistance and operational activities at the regional
level should establish well-identified targets for the advancement of women.
To this end, regular consultations should be convened within the context of
regular meetings among United Nations bodies and agencies;

       (e) An international centre for NGOs in countries in transition might
be established and located in central or eastern Europe. Such a centre should
coordinate and facilitate contacts between NGOs, the United Nations s stem and
Governments, and serve as a focal point for promoting  building and exchanging
information on statistical data and ongoing research in order to assist those
countries where such data and research are insufficient or non-existent. Such
a centre could also serve as a coordinating centre for monitoring, promoting
and assisting in the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies
and the 1995 Platform for Action.


       VI. MOBILIZING FINANCIAL RESOURCES FOR IMPLEMENTING
                    THE STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

210. Strategies for the advancement of women, which must be based on their
full participation, will require adequate funding

211. The economic and social benefits of investing in women substantially
outweigh the costs. In order to ensure the necessary financial means for, and
realize the returns from, the advancement of women in ECE countries, adequate
resources should be made available for priority actions and/or special
projects for equality between men and women. Moreover, the goal of achieving
equality should be integrated in all relevant policy areas and budgetary
decisions. Methodologies of gender impact analysis should be developed and
implemented to investigate and, where appropriate, correct the gender
differentiated effects of policy measures.

212. With regard to development assistance, and assistance to countries in
transition, adequate attention and resources must also be directed to the goal
of women's advancement through a combination of special programmes and
mainstreaming.

213. The establishment of global goals for resource mobilization has been
used in promoting implementation in many areas of regional and international
concern such as agriculture, education and population (at the International
Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo in September 1994).
Establishing such goals with regard to the empowerment of women may be an
important means of supporting the strategies and actions set forth in this
document, and the platforms for action being prepared by other regions in
preparation for the Fourth World Conference on Women to be held at Beijing.

       Such goals should be realistic, and should represent best efforts to
define or focus on the fundamental elements of what might constitute an
effective core programme for women's empowerment while in no way undermining
the importance of mainstreaming for the advancement of women. This will entail
addressing a number of challenging methodological difficulties. Efforts to do
so are now underway in a number of national and international organizations.
These efforts should be supported. This Meeting requests that this issue be
put on the agenda of the March 1995 session of the Commission on the Status of
Women, and urges the General Assembly to request that, within existing
resources, the Secretary-General report to that session on the state of the
art in this field and on the feasibility of convening an Expert Group Meeting
on this issue, consisting of government and other experts and relevant United
Nations agencies.

214. For economies in transition. domestic targets should be supported by
increased flows of international assistance, including financial assistance. A
significant contribution in mobilizing resources for these purposes could be
made by bilateral md multilateral donors and by global and regional
institutions of the United Nations system, as well as by the European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development and other international organizations and
financial institutions.

215. Given the likely magnitude of the financial resource needs, the ECE
countries should explore innovative financing, including new ways of
generating public and private financing for both domestic and development
assistance programmes. The private sector, including NGOs, can also contribute
to mobilizing resources for the implementation of strategies for the
advancement of women for example, in such areas as housing,
health-care,child-care, environmental protection, training, and other social
benefits. Governments should encourage and facilitate the private sector to do
so by the various means at their disposal.

216. International and national financial institutions, and bilateral
assistance programmes, should be encouraged to provide financial services to
women, including saving opportunities and credit for all levels of
entrepreneurial activities.

217. At the regional level the significant role that could be played in
mobilizing resources by the concerned global and regional institutions of the
United Nations system, as well as by the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development, should be recognized and encouraged. ECE member States should
also seek ways and means of supporting efforts in less developed regions of
the world.

218. Governments and other partners in development cooperation should examine
their spending priorities to ensure that sufficient resources are made
available for the implementation and follow-up of the recommendations for the
empowerment of women in this and other regions, made by the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development, the World Conference on Human
Rights, the International Conference on Population and Development as well as
the recommendations of the ECE High-level Regional Preparatory Meeting for the
Fourth World Conference on Women. ECE countries should also strive to reach
the agreed target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product for overall
official development assistance and endeavour to increase the share of
development assistance funding for programmes to support women's empowerment.

219. Countries should give every consideration to increasing their support to
UNIFEM.

220. Efforts to create synergies between the regional United Nations entities
and other regional or subregional groupings, as well as between NGOs and
research institutions, need to be developed for fostering solidarity related
to the implementation of the strategic objectives and targets.


                              Notes

1/   Based on the Programme of Action adopted by the international Conference
on Population and Development (Cairo, September 1994).

2/   Based on the Programme of Action adopted by the International Conference
on Population and Development (Cairo, September 1994)


                              -----

 


This document has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Date last updated: 06 December 1999 by DESA/DAW
Copyright 1999 United Nations