United Nations

E/CN.6/1997/3


Commission on the Status of Women

 Distr. GENERAL
19 February 1997
ORIGINAL: ENGLISH


COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN
Forty-first session
10-21 March 1997
Item 3 (c) of the provisional agenda*


      FOLLOW-UP TO THE FOURTH WORLD CONFERENCE ON WOMEN:
      IMPLEMENTATION OF STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES AND ACTION
               IN THE CRITICAL AREAS OF CONCERN

                  Thematic issues before the
              Commission on the Status of Women

                Report of the Secretary-General



===============================================================
                            SUMMARY

  In its resolution 1996/6, the Economic and Social Council
requested the Secretary-General to submit an analytical report to
the Commission on the Status of Women on the thematic issues to
be addressed at each session.  According to the multi-year
programme of work of the Commission, four critical areas
of concern set out in the Platform for Action have been
selected for review at the present session:  education and
training of women (chapter IV.B), women and the
economy (chapter IV.F), women in power and decision-making
(chapter IV.G) and women and the environment (chapter IV.K).

  In preparation for the Commission's consideration of
agenda item 3 (c), the Division for the Advancement of Women
convened expert group meetings on each of the critical areas of
concern, focusing on issues that had either not previously
received specific attention or that required further exploration
in the light of the Platform for Action.  The present report
addresses strategies to accelerate implementation of the
Platform for Action in the four critical areas of concern,
drawing on the recommendations of the expert group meetings.
=================================================================



  * E/CN.6/1997/1.

                           CONTENTS

                                                 
                                                 Paragraphs  Page

INTRODUCTION  .......................              1 - 7        3

I.    EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF
      WOMEN ......................                8 - 304

      A.     Recent developments and
             trends ...................          11 - 135

      B.     The link to the labour
             market ....................            14 - 17     6

      C.     Lifelong learning from a
             gender perspective ......              18 - 198

      D.     Actors responsible for
             education and training ....           20 - 25      8

      E.     Strategies to accelerate
             implementation ..........             26 -30      10

II.   WOMEN AND THE ECONOMY....................... 31 - 59     12

      A.     Women in management: 
             some trends ................          40 - 43     14

      B.     Determinants of women's
             access to management and
             policy implications..............    44 - 53      15

      C.     Strategies to accelerate
             implementation ..........              54 -59    17

III.  WOMEN IN POWER AND DECISION-MAKING .......... 60 -93    19

      A.     Participation in
             political decision-making as a
             basic human right....................63 - 75      20

         1.Women in parliaments and
           in government
           decision-making........................ 67 - 72    20

         2.Women in multilateral
           diplomacy and
           international
           organizations..................          73 -75    22

      B.     Factors contributing to
             women's participation in
             the political process................76 - 82      22

      C.     Political decision-making
             and conflict resolution ..............83 - 90     24

      D.     Strategies to accelerate
             implementation     ...............     91 - 93    25

IV.   WOMEN AND THE ENVIRONMENT..................... 94 - 126  27

      A.     Women as actors in
             relation to environmental
             issues..............................   101 -108   28

      B.     Global and local
             environmental issues:  a gender
             perspective........................... 109 -116   29

      C.     Women as environmental
             decision makers       ...........      117 - 121  31

      D.     Strategies to accelerate
             implementation ..........              122 -126   31

                         INTRODUCTION


1.  The Economic and Social Council in its resolution 1996/6
of 22 July 1996 requested the Secretary-General to submit an
analytical report annually to the Commission on the Status of
Women on the thematic issues to be addressed at each session in
connection with the implementation of strategic objectives and
action in selected critical areas of concern set out in the
Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. 1/  The four
critical areas of concern selected for review at the forty-
first session of the Commission are (1) education and training
of women (chapter IV.B), (2) women and the economy (chapter
IV.F), (3) women in power and decision-making (chapter IV.G)
and (4) women and the environment (chapter IV.K).  It was
requested that the reports on themes submitted to the
Commission include recommendations and conclusions and identify
the responsible actors, and, as far as possible, be based on
available data and information.

2.  Just over a year and a half has elapsed since the Platform
for Action was adopted.  Many Governments are still formulating
their action plans for its implementation.  Only 25 countries
have submitted their strategies or action plans for
implementation of the Beijing results to the Secretariat in
compliance with General Assembly resolution 50/203 of 22
December 1995.  Past experience, together with results from
expert group meetings and the interactive dialogues to be held
during the Commission in 1997, may serve as a basis for
identifying measures which could help to accelerate progress in
achieving equality between men and women in the critical areas
of concern identified at Beijing as crucial for eliminating
discrimination against women and enabling women around the
world to fully enjoy their human rights.

3.  During 1996, the Division for the Advancement of Women of
the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable
Development of the United Nations Secretariat convened expert
group meetings on each of the critical areas of concern to be
taken up by the Commission at its present session.  Each expert
group meeting focused on issues that had not previously
received the attention of the Commission, and/or that, in the
view of the Secretariat, required further exploration in the
light of the Platform for Action.  In the critical area of
concern "education and training of women", the focus of the
expert group meeting was on vocational training and lifelong
learning.  This focus was selected as a follow-up to an earlier
expert group meeting held in 1994 on the broader topic of
promotion of literacy, education and training for women, the
results of which were used in preparing the Platform for
Action.  In the area of women and the economy, the expert group
meeting focused on the need for more women in top management
positions.  In the critical area of concern relating to women
in power and political decision-making, the focus of the expert
group meeting was the impact of gender difference on conflict
resolution, keeping in mind that other aspects of political
decision-making had been thoroughly discussed by the Commission
in the past.  In the area of women and the environment, the
expert group meeting focused on the crucial links between
population, environment and sustainable development from a
gender perspective, emphasizing the role of women as actors in
relation to environmental issues and the need to increase their
participation in decision-making.  The aim of all four expert
group meetings held in 1996 was to identify policy measures to
accelerate the achievement of equality between men and women,
the elimination of discrimination, and women's empowerment in
the context of the Platform for Action.  The recommendations
emanating from the expert group meetings are set out
extensively in the present report.  The reports themselves are
available as background papers in one official language only.

4.  The present report highlights the importance of having
more women in decision-making positions at all levels and
identifies some of the positive measures that can be carried
out to achieve this.  In this regard, education is a
prerequisite for women's full and equal participation in
economic, social, cultural and political decision-making and as
leaders in the public sphere.  It also emphasizes
responsibilities of Governments, civil society and the United
Nations system in this regard and points out that women
themselves need to become active players and network among
themselves and with men in the movement towards equality and
empowerment.

5.  The report indicates that a rethinking of the development
approach from a gender perspective is necessary.  There is need
for a different perspective that integrates the micro and
macro, bridges the public and private domains (especially the
productive and reproductive spheres) and empowers both women
and men to take part in decision-making at all levels.  The
Platform for Action places considerable emphasis on the
importance of increasing the number of women in decision-making
in order that their voices can be heard and their needs taken
into account.

6.  The rationale for promoting women as decision makers is
elaborated in the Platform for Action, mainly in chapter IV.G
(Women in power and decision-making).  In paragraph 181, the
Platform for Action recalls that achieving the goal of equal
participation of women and men in decision-making is not only a
demand for simple justice or democracy - it will provide a
balance that more accurately reflects the composition of
society and will allow women's interests to be taken more
directly into account.

7.  The Commission's attention is particularly drawn to
sections I.E, II.C, III.D and IV.D entitled "Strategies to
accelerate implementation".


              I.  EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF WOMEN

8.  The Fourth World Conference on Women, in line with
previous world conferences, recognized the central role of
education for the advancement of women and for equality between
men and women.  It is widely acknowledged that women's
education yields numerous benefits, including higher economic
productivity, decreased maternal and infant mortality, improved
family health and nutrition, delayed marriages and lower birth
rates.  The returns on women's basic education are especially
high since they promote the personal empowerment of women, the
status of their families and the community at large.  Education
and training are prerequisites for their full and equal
participation in economic, social, cultural and political
decision-making and for becoming leaders.  Education and the
school system play an important role in the democratization
process that is taking place in many regions and in which the
gender aspects need to be fully integrated.  It also has to be
borne in mind, given the lagged effect of education, that
changes introduced have no immediate impact, but become visible
only after one generation.

9.  As noted earlier, in 1994 an Expert Group Meeting on
Gender, Education and Training examined the rationale for
female education, obstacles to it, progress achieved at all
levels of formal schooling and the complementary role of
non-formal education. 2/  The recommendations were directed
mainly at measures that would eliminate the gender gap in
education and remove bias in school materials and teacher
training.  Attention was paid to girls and women in especially
difficult circumstances, such as refugees.  The recommendations
formed the basis for the critical area of concern "education
and training of women" in chapter IV.B of the Platform for
Action.

10. Linked to this previous work, the Division for the
Advancement of Women examined two areas in education that build
on primary and secondary education and are of particular
relevance for the economic, social and political empowerment of
women.  These are technical and vocational training and
lifelong learning as a tool for capacity-building of women on a
broad scale.  It was felt that vocational training and women's
preparation for the labour market has been not adequately and
extensively considered, either in the preparatory process for
the Fourth World Conference on Women or in the Platform for
Action.  Given the fact that women are entering the labour
market in unprecedented numbers in all regions, there is an
urgent need to evaluate whether they are adequately prepared or
whether, due to their lack of preparation, they remain in
unfavourable positions and at the edge of exploitation.  In
this respect it is the quality of education that women receive
that is at stake.  Directly linked to this question is the
responsibility of the various actors in education, in
particular the role and responsibility of the Government.  In
order to explore the issues further, the Division for the
Advancement of Women organized an Expert Group Meeting on
Vocational Training and Lifelong Learning of Women, which took
place at the International Training Centre of the International
Labour Organization at Turin, Italy, from 2 to 6 December 1996. 
The present report draws extensively on the conclusions and
recommendations of the Meeting.


              A.  Recent developments and trends

11. In education and training, gender analysis is seen as a
tool to further analyse the issue and to bring about
comprehensive, innovative proposals for policy-making that take
into account the gender variable.  A gender perspective needs
to be applied to human resources development for which
education is the basis.  It is necessary to examine whether
girls and women have the same access as men and boys to formal
education, retention and equal possibilities in obtaining
school diplomas, and retraining in all fields.  Progress has
been made in the past 10 years in collecting data disaggregated
by sex on education and training, including data on access,
performance and fields of study.  Gender differences have been
analysed and educational policies developed that would remove
bias and enhance equality in education between men and women. 
However, the link between the education of women and their
integration into the economy, their role in sustainable
development and their participation in political life has yet
to be fully recognized.

12. Significant gains have been made in improving the access
of girls and women to education and the quality of their
education.  However, women continue to account for the majority
of the world's adult illiterates, whose numbers have undergone
a phenomenal expansion from 1980 to 1995.  Steadily climbing,
the proportion of women among the world's illiterates reached
63.8 per cent in 1995.  It is projected that the absolute
number would decline as from the second half of the 1990s, but
women's share could reach 64 per cent by the year 2000, if the
present trend continues.  As of today, only some 70 countries
in the world have attained gender parity in literacy.  The huge
number of illiterates, which is highest in the least developed
countries, constitute the major challenge to education.  To a
large extent, the increases in adult illiteracy in Southern
Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab States have been the net
result of literacy progress falling behind rapid population
growth.  Illiteracy remains highest among older women who have
never had the opportunity of formal or non-formal schooling. 
Female literacy levels have been improving much faster than
those for men for the age groups below 55, and for the age
groups 15-39 in particular they have been improving twice as
fast. 3/

13. In most regions, the male-female gap in enrolment at the
different levels of education is now narrowing.  However, huge
differences persist in access to primary education in some
parts of Africa, in particular sub-Saharan Africa, and in
Central Asia compared to other regions.  More than two thirds
of the children who never go to school or who drop out before
completing school are girls.  In Eastern Asia and Oceania and
Latin America and the Caribbean, the first level gross
enrolment ratios for both males and females exceed
100 per cent, indicating that both sexes are fully enrolled in
school.  In Latin America and the Caribbean and in many
developed countries, the male-female disparity in enrolment
ratios has practically disappeared.  In fact, the disparity in
enrolment in second and third levels is now in favour of
females in many countries.  This development has occurred
recently and has not been fully explained.  Among other
reasons, it is attributed to early school-leaving and migration
of boys in search of work. 4/  Another possible explanation is
that women strive for high levels of formal qualification in
response to the competition with men for limited employment
opportunities.  Women still concentrate in a few fields of
study.  Despite improvements in access to education, the
quality of education that girls receive is a source of concern
given the stereotyping and biases that persist in teaching
materials and in the delivery system, including location of
schools, subjects offered and teachers' attitudes.


               B.  The link to the labour market

14. As the quantity and quality of jobs available for men and
women is either being threatened or undergoing major changes,
employability has become the key in access to both employment
and self-employment opportunities.  Given the constraints and
unequal opportunities that women face in the labour market, it
is particularly important to develop women's employability. 
Knowledge, skills and competencies of both men and women have
become the cornerstone not only of personal growth and
employability, but also of the competitiveness of enterprises
and the economic and sustainable development of societies.  In
a competitive environment, the comparative advantages of every
individual, enterprise and country will increasingly depend on
competitive work, based on knowledge, practical skills,
innovation and technology.  Therefore, investment in the
education, training and development of all human resources to
their full potential has become more crucial than ever before.

15. As discussed in the section II below, job segregation
remains a persistent characteristic of all labour markets,
regardless of the level of economic development, female
participation and level of education, and despite efforts that
have been made to promote women professionals.  This
segregation originates in the educational choices of men and
women and the fields of study and specialization, which remain
highly polarized.  Discrimination in girls' access to education
and training persists in many areas owing to stereotyped role
models and inadequate and gender-biased teaching and
educational materials, which reduce girls' options for future
choices by underestimating or downplaying their talents and
capabilities.  The vocational training offered to girls and
women is very limited in scope and fields of specialization
compared with that available to boys and men.

16. It is acknowledged in the field of development assistance
that investment in general and basic education has to be the
first priority for public policy since it represents the most
cost-effective use of public resources for human development. 
Completion by all children of high-quality primary and lower
secondary schooling and the provision of remedial general
education to adults in developing countries, while not being
sufficient, would make a bigger contribution to equalization
than any policy measure affecting training alone.  More girls
also need to be encouraged to enter technical and scientific
fields.  A basic education, during which basic skills such as
strategic thinking have been acquired in addition to literacy
and numeracy, lays a foundation of knowledge that makes further
training and retraining effective.  Changing patterns of demand
in the labour market make a sound general education even more
important than in the past and reinforce the need for initial
acquisition of broad rather than narrow skills.  Given the
speed of technological changes and transformations in society
and in the workplace, new skills have to be acquired throughout
a life course and professional career.  In modern sector
manufacturing and services for example, broad competencies
gained through quality academic secondary education are more
significant than specific skills which could be quickly
outdated. 5/

17. The Expert Group Meeting on Vocational Training and
Lifelong Learning of Women 6/ recognized the need for a system
of skill development which was open, flexible, responsive to
change and gender-sensitive, and which catered also for
re-entrants to the workforce.  Such training schemes could also
include remedial education for adults, in particular for
illiterate adult women.  Given the increase in self-employment,
entrepreneurial skills for small business need to be further
developed and intensified.  A new approach should be taken for
training women in informal employment and self-employment as
well as in non-traditional occupations.  Any training package
for women should include training in legal literacy and
decision-making.  More women should be drawn to science and
technology and participate in the process from the design to
the application, monitoring and evaluation of new technologies.


        C.  Lifelong learning from a gender perspective

18. Due to the explosion of knowledge, the high speed of
social change and technical developments, pure factual school
knowledge is becoming increasingly obsolete.  Instead of being
confined to a fixed number of years of schooling during
childhood and youth, it is widely recognized that education is
now to be made available throughout life.  Lifelong learning
requires that individuals acquire generic skills and aptitudes,
for example, "learning to learn skills", that will enable women
to take responsibility for their development and motivate them
to learn, to seek opportunities for self-development and to be
sensitive to changes taking place in the environment and to the
options available to respond to these changes.  Learning at
various stages of life is a major key for removing obstacles to
women's active participation in all spheres of public and
private life.  Lifelong learning can bring empowerment and be
an end in itself, but the credits of lifelong learning go much
further and contribute to the economic and social development
of each society.  Lifelong learning includes knowledge and
skills gained in formal education and training as well as
learning that occurs in informal settings, a type of learning
that is of particular relevance to women.  The wider scope of
lifelong learning with regard to the upgrading of skills, and
the ongoing acquisition of knowledge beyond that accumulated
during youth need to be examined without gender blindness. 
Gender differences exist with regard to requests and needs for
lifelong learning, in delivery systems and educational
approaches.

19. Elderly women deserve special attention in the field of
continuing education.  Recent demographic trends show that
women worldwide outlive men and have a higher life expectancy. 
Elderly women are a resource of accumulated knowledge, skills
and experiences.  They need continuous training possibilities
to live a fulfilling, productive and healthy life.  Training is
a tool to increase participation in public life, to prevent
disease, maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep up activity.


       D.  Actors responsible for education and training

20. The Fourth World Conference on Women identified various
actors responsible for implementing the Platform for Action,
noting that "Governments have the primary responsibility for
implementing the Platform for Action" and to that end,
"commitment at the highest political level is essential"
(Platform for Action, para. 293).  In the fields of vocational
training, science and technology, and continuing education,
actions should be taken by Governments "in cooperation with
employers, workers and trade unions, international and
non-governmental organizations, including women's and youth
organizations, and educational institutions" (Platform for
Action, para. 82).  The main responsibility of Governments is
to "provide the required budgetary resources to the educational
sector, with reallocation within the educational sector to
ensure increased funds for basic education" (Platform for
Action, para. 84 (a)) and "to monitor the implementation of
educational reforms and measures in relevant ministries, and
establish technical assistance programmes" (Platform for
Action, para. 84 (b)).  The responsibility of each actor needs
to be scrutinized and, if possible, incentives offered that
could enhance their active role in implementing the
recommendations.

21. While implementing the recommendation of the Platform for
Action in the field of education, it is important to consider
recent developments in the field of educational policies.  In
most countries of the world, education and training systems are
undergoing reform geared to improve their relevance,
effectiveness, efficiency, equality and sustainability in
responding to the new requirements of the world of work. 
Responsibilities of Governments are clearly defined with regard
to the provision of universal primary education, but vary when
it comes to higher education or vocational training.  There is
a general understanding that it is the Government that has to
ensure standards and gender equality in higher levels of
education and in vocational training.  Today there is a trend
to redefine the role of the State and reduce its direct
involvement in the provision of vocational training, while
assigning increasing responsibilities to the private sector, in
particular enterprises and individuals.  The question is
whether Governments should take up new functions in regulating
the overall system, in which diverse public and private actors
would compete in an open market.  While these changes open up
new opportunities for lifelong learning for both men and women,
they also bring up new risks, in particular for those groups
and sectors that remain at a disadvantage in access to a
market-based training system.  Privatization, decentralization,
reduced public funding and increased dominance of enterprises
in training may diminish the possibilities for girls and women
to enhance their employability and career development through
access to good quality training.

22. Although it is recognized that the benefits from investing
in girls' and women's education are great and can be
quantified, the market fails to capture the full benefit to
society of investing in women and girls.  At this moment, it is
Governments that should take the lead where the market fails or
is absent.  Public policy can contribute, directly or
indirectly, to reducing gender inequalities - for example, by
modifying the legal and regulatory framework to ensure equal
opportunities, by redirecting public policies and public
expenditures to those investments with the highest social
returns or by adopting targeted interventions that correct for
gender inequalities at the micro level. 7/

23. Many training systems, especially in developing countries,
lack the necessary resources to adopt new technologies and
approaches and the capability to respond rapidly to labour
market demand.  They continue to provide training which may be
irrelevant to the labour market or for entrepreneurial
development.  Particular importance needs to be given to the
continuation of a process of investment in human capital
through teaching women new kinds of skills.  The demands of
changing work environments require wider profiles of the
teaching content, a higher level of education and an emphasis
on thinking skills.

24. Alliances among the various partners at the national and
international levels, including the State, the private sector,
non-governmental organizations, women's groups, trade unions,
employers' federations, cooperatives, research and higher
educational institutions, international organizations and
others, are needed to bring these prospects for training and
development of women's skills to reality.  The private sector
in particular will play an increasingly important part.

25. Whatever its role in the financing and provision of
training, the State has the responsibility for promoting
equality between men and women, through incentives,
legislation, advocacy and other measures.  This would include
ensuring that adequate value, in the sense of both status and
earnings, is given to women's work.  International
organizations also play a useful role in advocating gender
equality in vocational training.  This is an area for political
action, with women's groups and workers' organizations,
national and international, exerting pressure to capitalize on
the gains already made in this area.  There is need for the
establishment and maintenance of effective labour market
information systems that should not only provide gender-
sensitive data, qualitative as well as quantitative, but also
guide the development and delivery of training programmes and
assist women in selecting the types of training and jobs that
best fit their needs.  Finally, both national and international
structures are needed to monitor and support the implementation
of education and training programmes for women.


          E.  Strategies to accelerate implementation

26. The Platform for Action, in identifying "education and
training of women" as one of the 12 critical areas of concern,
defined six strategic objectives to achieve equality: 
(1) ensure equal access to education; (2) eradicate illiteracy
among women; (3) improve women's access to vocational training,
science and technology, and continuing education; (4) develop
non-discriminatory education and training; (5) allocate
sufficient resources for and monitor the implementation of
educational reforms; (6) promote lifelong education and
training for girls and women (chapter IV.B).

27. Education and training is one of the few critical areas of
concern where unanimous agreement was reached with regard to
benchmarks - the provision of universal access to and gender
equality in the completion of primary education for girls by
the year 2000 (Platform for Action, para. 81 (b)); the
elimination of the gender gap in basic and functional literacy,
as recommended in the World Declaration on Education for All
(Jomtien) (para. 81 (c)); the provision of universal access to
basic education and completion of primary education by at least
20 per cent of primary school-age children by the year 2000;
the closing of the gender gap in primary and secondary
education by the year 2005; the provision of universal primary
education in all countries before the year 2015 (para. 80 (b));
and reduction of the female illiteracy rate to at least half
its 1990 level, with emphasis on rural women, migrant, refugee
and internally displaced women and women with disabilities
(para. 81 (a)).

28. The Platform for Action also describes actions to be taken
in the field of vocational training under the critical areas of
concern "women and the economy" (chapter IV.F) and "the girl
child" (chapter IV.L).  The Platform for Action makes specific
reference to lifelong learning, various types of training and
continuing education in many other critical areas of concern,
in particular to human rights education and legal literacy
(paras. 58 (p), 61 (a), 124 (n), 125 (e) and 230 (f)); training
in health (paras. 107 (a), (e), (g), (k), (l), (m) and (o) and
108 (a)); training for the participation of women in public
life (paras. 195 (c) and (e)); and training for sustainable
development (para. 258 (b) (v)).  As such, the Fourth World
Conference on Women went beyond earlier recommendations in the
field of education and training.  It built on previous work but
applied a gender perspective and specified the action required
and the actors responsible for achieving gender equality. 8/

29. At this stage of the implementation process of the
Platform for Action, the Commission on the Status of Women
might wish to examine whether the strategic objectives defined
at the Fourth World Conference are being implemented and also
take into account recommendations made by the Expert Group
Meeting on Vocational Training and Lifelong Learning of Women.

30. The Expert Group Meeting concluded, inter alia, that:

    (a) Sufficient effort needs to be made by all actors
(Governments, national, regional and international bodies,
bilateral and multilateral donors and non-governmental
organizations) to meet the targets set in the Platform for
Action with regard to the eradication of illiteracy and
achievement of universal primary education;

    (b) It is imperative that education, technical training
and lifelong learning are considered as integral parts and a
continuum.  The concept of training and lifelong learning
includes the acquisition of knowledge and skills gained in
formal education, as well as learning that occurs in informal
ways and traditional knowledge, that prepares women to take an
active role in the labour market and the economic and social
development of their countries.  A holistic approach should be
adopted, ensuring that women enjoy equality throughout the
process in a new culture of learning involving individuals,
enterprises, organizations and society at large;

    (c) In the context of a changing world, science and
technology education and information services should be given
added importance.  In order to develop the skills required,
women need to have full access to vocational training and
further education at all levels of science and technology.  To
bridge the gender gap and increase the access of girls and
women to science and technology education and to vocational
training and lifelong learning, action must be taken using a
wide range of strategies and mixed modalities;

    (d) A gender balance in the teaching profession and
educational administration at all levels has to be ensured; to
this end administrative reforms to increase the number of
female principals, administrators and planners should be
undertaken;

    (e) The education, training and lifelong learning of women
should be mainstreamed in national human development plans and
policies, equal opportunity policies and industrial policies
with an emphasis on employment and employability of women. 
National machineries for the advancement of women should urge
policy makers in Government and in the private sector to ensure
that all these policies are responsive to gender concerns, and
that women and their organizations participate in the policy-
making processes;

    (f) The relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of
training should be enhanced through the establishment of
alliances among the various partners, including the public and
private sectors, non-governmental organizations, trade unions,
organizations of employers and cooperatives;

    (g) The State has a major responsibility in promoting and
facilitating such alliances by developing the regulatory
framework, the financing mechanisms, incentive schemes and
technical support.  Governments should be ultimately
responsible for filling gaps in education and training
provisions, especially for women in poverty, women in rural and
depressed areas and women with social, economic, cultural and
physical constraints;

    (h) Employers' and workers' organizations also play a
critical role in alliances and should be actively involved in
decision-making processes and the provision of training at
national and decentralized levels; 

    (i) The revision and reform of textbooks, teaching aids
and curricula as well as the removal of bias from teacher
training are prerequisites for the development of
non-discriminatory education and training;

    (j) The creation of an enabling environment for
contributions by non-governmental organizations in all fields
of education and in particular to lifelong learning is of
importance.


                  II.  WOMEN AND THE ECONOMY

31. In addressing the situation of women in the economy, the
Platform for Action, in the critical area of concern "women and
the economy" (chapter IV.F), focused on three categories of the
economically active female population:  women as employees,
women as entrepreneurs and women as economic decision makers. 
In the past, considerable attention was given by policy makers
to the first two categories, while less attention was given to
women as economic decision makers, despite the strategic
importance of womenşs access to economic decision-making
processes and structures as highlighted in the Platform for
Action (para. 150).  Further development of a framework for
action and of specific measures to be taken to enhance womenşs
position as economic decision makers is still needed.

32. The Platform for Action stressed that women are virtually
absent from or poorly represented in economic decision-making,
including the formulation of policies and strategies for the
eradication of poverty (para. 47) and decision-making with
respect to structural adjustment programmes, loans and grants
(para. 151), and that this situation limits their impact on
economic structures and policies which have a direct influence
on society and on women's and men's relative status
(para. 150).

33. As stated in the Platform for Action, "there are
considerable differences in womenşs and men's access to and
opportunities to exert power over economic structures in their
societies.  In most parts of the world, women are virtually
absent from or are poorly represented in economic decision-
making, including the formulation of financial, monetary,
commercial and other economic policies, as well as tax systems
and rules governing pay.  ... the actual development of ...
economic structures and policies has a direct impact on women's
and men's access to economic resources, their economic power
and consequently the extent of equality between them at the
individual and family levels as well as in society as a whole"
(para. 150).

34. Among the categories of decision makers in the economy,
the group of managers, especially at the highest levels of the
hierarchy of economic organizations, is among the most
strategic.  The International Labour Organization (ILO)
establishes a strong linkage between women's access to
decision-making and women's position in the labour market
through their access to management.  ILO considers that,
worldwide, a major and persistent form of discrimination
against women in the labour market is their segregation in very
few occupations.  This phenomenon, categorized as occupational
segregation, refers to women's persistent presence in a
relatively small number of "female" occupations with the
singular characteristic that women are found in occupations of
low status and pay, while occupations of higher status and pay
are dominated by men. 9/

35. As stated by ILO, although over the past decade or so
there has been a perceptible upward trend in the representation
of women in managerial and administrative categories relative
to their share in total employment, to date, women are far
under-represented and very few have reached the highest ranks
of organizations and institutions and the concept of the "glass
ceiling" (an invisible but impassable barrier that prevents
women from rising professionally regardless of their education
and experience) is widely accepted as reflecting the reality of
women's blocked upward mobility to top decision-making levels.

36. The Platform for Action emphasizes that women are
increasingly found at lower levels of management (para. 161)
and that in the private sector, including transnational and
national enterprises, women are largely absent from management
and policy levels (para. 162).

37. In strategic objective F.5, the Platform for Action calls
for the elimination of occupational segregation by promoting
the equal participation of women in highly skilled jobs and
senior management positions, and through other measures that
stimulate women's on-the-job career development and upward
mobility in the labour market, and by stimulating the
diversification of occupational choices by both women and men;
women should be encouraged to take up non-traditional jobs; and
men should be encouraged to seek employment in the social
sector (para. 178 (g)).

38. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women states in article 11 that States
Parties should take appropriate measures to ensure that women
and men have equal rights to the same employment opportunities
as well as to free choice of profession and to promotion.

LJ˜ In this regard and in order to further elaborate a
framework for action and specific measures to be taken to
enhance women's access to and impact as senior managers in
strategic economic organizations, the Division for the
Advancement of Women convened an Expert Group Meeting on Women
and Economic Decision-making in International Financial
Institutions and Transnational Corporations, which was held at
Simmons College Graduate School of Management, Boston,
Massachusetts, United States of America, from 11 to 15 March
1996.  The main recommendations 10/ arising from the Meeting are
contained in paragraph 59 below.


             A.  Women in management:  some trends

40. Over the past few decades, a major positive development
has been women's increased participation in the labour market. 
ILO reports that 41 per cent of women aged 15 years and above
are economically active in the world today.  Moreover, based on
the ILO classification of the economically active population by
occupational categories, data reveal that over the past decade
or so there has been a perceptible upward trend in the
representation of women in managerial and administrative
categories.  However, the increase is far below trends in
education and access to formal employment.  Currently, very few
women are found in the occupational category "administrative
and managerial workers"; most women work as professional,
technical and related workers (mostly as nurses and teachers),
as clerical and service workers and as sales workers. 11/

41. Data collected from various other sources confirm this
general trend and furthermore show that, despite the growth in
women's employment and the fact that women are becoming fully
committed members of the workplace, women managers are under-
represented, underutilized and their distribution among the
levels of management is skewed in all countries and in all
areas, in both the private and public sectors.  Even in the
traditionally female-dominated professions, such as education
and health, women remain largely in secondary positions
relative to men.

42. A recent study showed that in the United States of
America, where women account for 47 per cent of the work force,
they make up only 10 per cent of the officers at the largest
United States companies and an average of just 2 per cent of
the senior executive positions; and of the 978 women with
vice-president-level titles at the 500 largest companies, about
271, or 28 per cent, hold positions dealing directly with
revenue generation that are more likely to lead to the highest
jobs.  Instead, the study stressed, women clustered in staff
jobs in such areas as public relations and human resources. 12/ 
In Thailand, while the percentage of women managers increased
faster than that of men managers, women's participation reached
a mere 19 per cent in 1990 from 7.6 per cent in 1974. 13/  In
South Africa, a recent survey of 100 South African companies
showed that only 41 women occupy executive positions and that
the majority of women are at junior levels. 14/  In Latin
America and the Caribbean, despite a steady increase in the
proportion of the economically active female population in
administrative and managerial occupations, evidence shows a
sustained pattern of segregation in the higher levels of the
hierarchy, tending to cluster women managers in mid-level
administrative positions.  In Venezuela, although women
represented 54 per cent of all administrative and managerial
workers, women had a share of only 17 per cent of the highest
level posts. 15/  In the Nordic countries, a recent survey of
the 100 largest private enterprises revealed that, in all those
countries, the highest proportion for women chief executive
officers was 2.6 per cent, and for women board members,
14 per cent. 16/  A recent study on sub-Saharan Africa showed
that in most financial institutions women managers have not
been able to move to the level of assistant general manager.17/

43. The linkages between womenşs access to economic decision-
making positions at the national and international levels are
shown, inter alia, by the rate of participation of women heads
of delegation of Member States in the deliberations of the
United Nations on economic and financial questions.  The trend,
although growing, has been very slow and the levels remain very
low.  The percentage of women heads of delegation to the Second
Committee of the General Assembly reached a level of
13 per cent in 1995 compared with 3.6 per cent in 1985 and
6.0 per cent in 1975.  In the Economic and Social Council,
women heads of delegation represented 3.3 per cent of all
delegations in 1995, reflecting an increase from 1.8 in 1975. 
In 1985, however, there were no women heads of delegation.18/


B.  Determinants of women's access to management
    and policy implications                     

44. Systematic investigation of women in management is
relatively new.  Until the late 1970s, women remained virtually
invisible as managers, and their absence was generally
considered a non-issue.  Earlier studies showed that in all
countries broad societal changes (access to education and
employment, and legal changes towards equality) during recent
decades resulted in more women entering lower-level managerial
positions. 19/  In both developed and developing countries, the
expansion of banking and other financial services as well as of
the public sector also contributed to the opening of
opportunities for women in lower- and middle-level management
positions during the 1970s and 1980s.  In most countries, as
new jobs were created, women moved into management as men moved
up the hierarchy.  In all countries, however, neither the
political nor the legal changes were sufficiently powerful to
counter resistance to women entering the most senior managerial
levels.  Recently, it was recognized that the earlier
prediction of an anticipated "breakthrough" into the centres of
organizational power seems to have been premature.20/

45. This assessment led to the need to establish a distinction
between entry into management and upward mobility within
management, with their respective policy implications.

46. At the entry level into management, women's access to
tertiary education and training as well as women's expanded
career choices and access to employment are considered basic
determinants of the supply of women managers.  In this context,
legal changes and public policies seeking to remove
discrimination in education and employment play an important
role.  Moreover, affirmative action programmes have enabled
organizations to recruit and hire women managers and to place
them in managerial jobs, thus creating greater opportunities
for upward mobility.

47. However, once in a career, women may encounter structural
and behavioural barriers that restrict their vertical mobility. 
These barriers are a complex set of factors operating at
various stages of career development.  Whether in the public or
the private sector, individuals often advance to top decision-
making positions through career paths.  The absence of women in
top positions suggests that women's career paths are different
from men's, or that, in trying to follow the same path, women
encounter different or more severe obstacles, as discussed in
section III below.

48. To understand the reality faced by women managers and the
restrictions they face in their upward mobility to top
decision-making positions, four interrelated and complementary
perspectives have been developed.20/

49. The first perspective suggests that individual differences
between women and men could explain the paucity of women in
management.  The main recommendation is that women themselves
must change to "fit in" by improving their skills, increase
their self-confidence, become more strongly motivated to move
up the career ladder, and exhibit more stereotypically male
approaches to management.  Women, on their own or stimulated by
organizations, have increasingly turned to business schools,
economics programmes and special management training courses to
obtain the requisite qualifications for upward movement in
management.  Networking systems and mentoring programmes have
been promoted in many cases to complete the set of actions
initiated by women.

50. The second perspective focuses on organizations' and
employers' responsibility for women's upward mobility.  It
states that not only women but organizations themselves need to
change by eliminating barriers and providing incentives to
increase the number of women managers and support their upward
mobility.  The main derived recommendation is that
organizations should create career paths for women and men
managers with an equal probability of leading to the top. 
Mechanisms such as affirmative action programmes have enabled
organizations to hire women managers and to place them into
higher positions, thus creating greater probability for upward
mobility.

51. The third perspective stresses that discrimination is
institutionalized and built into the organizational culture. 
In order to affect organizations, discrimination as a fact
should be recognized by both women and men.  Once recognized,
the commitment of the overall organization, specially of senior
managers, is required by a process of change in the basic
assumptions about organizations.  Based on this approach,
measures such as mandated sessions to educate all managers -
senior and junior - about the patterns of implicit and explicit
discrimination and training in new non-discriminatory
behaviours have been implemented.

52. The fourth perspective suggests that the interests of the
organizations' most powerful members play a role in limiting
women's access to top decision-making positions.  Consequently,
it is recommended stressing to senior executives the benefits
of including more women executives and the costs of excluding
them.  This perspective emphasizes that it is important for
women's upward mobility to convince organizations that women
employees must be viewed as a competitive advantage instead of
a legislated necessity.  In some countries, organizations
promoting equal opportunity for senior-level women - such as
Catalyst in the United States of America and the Federation of
Business and Professional Women in South Africa - provide firms
with prestige incentives, such as awards, for advancing women
into senior management.

53. Global competition and the need for top quality managers
are making women's promotion into management a business issue,
rather than strictly an issue of equality.  For success, it is
recognized that continued changes are needed at the individual
level among both women and men, and at the organizational and
societal levels.

          C.  Strategies to accelerate implementation

54. The Platform for Action assessed the rationale for
increasing women's participation as economic decision makers. 
It stressed that women's contributions, concerns and needs
should be incorporated in the definition of economic policies
and structures because these play a determining role in women's
relative status and power in society.  Then, by being part of
the decision makers, women will be able to express their
interests, needs and concerns and make their contributions
recognized.

55. In strategic objective F.5, the Platform for Action
highlighted the need to eliminate occupational segregation and,
in this regard, urged Governments, employers, employees, trade
unions and women's organizations, to promote the equal
participation of women in highly skilled jobs and senior
management positions.

56. The Platform for Action, in the general context of women's
access to decision-making, calls on, among others, Governments,
the private sector, employers' organizations, subregional and
regional bodies as well as international organizations to take
positive action to build a critical mass of women leaders,
executives and managers in strategic decision-making positions
(para. 192 (a)).

57. Moreover, ILO recommends that policy makers seize the
opportunities currently offered by the restructuring of
employment that is taking place in many countries, to challenge
the inefficiencies and inequities inherent in the gender
segregation of the labour force, including occupational
segregation.21/

58. In order to accelerate the implementation of strategic
objective F.5, specifically referring to occupational
segregation and women's access to top managerial positions, the
Commission might wish to consider the conclusions and
recommendations of the 1996 Expert Group Meeting on Women and
Economic Decision-making in International Financial
Institutions and Transnational Corporations and suggest
tangible measures for different actors to undertake on a
priority basis.

59. The Expert Group Meeting concluded, inter alia, that:

    (a) Women have made significant progress in terms of
education, participation in economic activity and social
status.  However, they have a long way to go as far as
advancement to top decision-making positions is concerned; 

    (b) There is ample evidence that increasing the
representation of women in decision-making is good for
business, not just for equality:

    (i) For corporations, exclusion of women from decision-
        making translates into losses and costs:  costs of
        staff turnover and loss of talent; loss of real and
        potential market share due to overlooking the needs of
        major consumer bases; and loss of shareholder value. 
        It translates into loss of half the potential talent
        if companies are not seen by women as attractive
        employers;

  (ii)  For organizations, the need to rationalize shrinking
        resources and to have a lasting effect calls for new
        approaches.  To develop these new approaches
        organizations need to include the most qualified staff
        - women and men - in decision-making; to increase the
        diversity of views; to better reflect the composition
        of the client population; and to demonstrate through
        their own staffing that they are committed to the
        advancement of women;

    (c) The full and sustainable empowerment of women requires
that a critical mass of women be represented at all levels in
the decision-making process.  This is essential to ensuring
that institutional barriers to the advancement of women are
eliminated and that a continuous pool of qualified women is
available for future advancement.  Critical mass, which is
defined as at least one third representation, provides a
support level that can mitigate perceived tokenism;

    (d) It was suggested that transnational corporations
appoint a critical mass of women to their boards; develop and
adopt policies and practices to increase the level of
recruitment; recognize the strategic dimension of human
resources; develop specific, measurable, achievable and time-
bound plans for promoting women to senior positions; appoint
women to international assignments; ensure balanced
representation of women and men on external advisory councils
and regional boards; and develop best practices to enhance and
support the development of women through organizations such as
chambers of commerce, business and professional clubs and
associations, boards of trade, and industry associations;

    (e) It was recommended that international financial
institutions adopt the goal of having a critical mass of women
in decision-making and management throughout the institutions,
including boards and staff positions; encourage Member States
to establish a pool of and appoint qualified women to serve as
board members and in management; include balanced staffing
mixes to review the gender dimension of all programmes and
projects; assess executing agencies for their ability to
implement gender-sensitive projects; require senior managers to
involve women in decision-making and to develop indicators and
monitoring mechanisms; review conventional methods of
recruitment and modify selection profiles; encourage women to
move into management; develop practical interventions to
address dual career issues for women and men; hold managers
accountable for developing action plans and link this to
performance evaluation and rewards; and encourage the growth of
support systems, such as mentoring and coaching.  The Meeting
strongly stressed the need for commitment on the part of the
presidents of these institutions, as well as on the part of
human resources directors and managers;

    (f) The role of Governments was considered a determining
factor in achieving the goal of achieving a critical mass of
women in economic decision-making positions.  Governments were
recommended to develop policies, programmes and practices to
ensure gender balance at all levels of decision-making in the
government, intergovernmental bodies, and regional and
international financial institutions; create, develop, monitor
and enforce employment policies in both the public and private
sectors; incorporate provisions into bilateral treaties and
other agreements that facilitate spousal employment in host
countries; remove obstacles restrictive to the formation of
women's non-governmental organizations; establish or expand
mechanisms that facilitate interaction between, and mobility
among managers/executives in profit, non-profit and public
sectors; and establish partnership with other actors;

    (g) The United Nations system was recommended to take a
lead in ensuring that a critical mass of women are represented
in top levels of management in its own agencies and in Member
States.  It was proposed that United Nations agencies should
support Governments, transnational corporations, international
financial institutions and organizations in general in their
efforts to promote women to top positions; encourage Member
States to appoint more women to the boards and secretariats of
United Nations bodies and to United Nations committees dealing
with economic, financial and budgetary issues; and increase
collaboration and exchange information;

    (h) The Meeting considered that non-governmental
organizations could act as both advocacy groups and catalysts
for change.  Non-governmental organizations were recommended to
partner with transnational corporations, Governments,
international financial institutions, other non-governmental
organizations, and other actors; identify and recommend
potential employees and board members; monitor and publicize
best and/or worst practices; provide reward and recognition for
transnational corporations, international financial
institutions, Governments and other actors; report the progress
to the Commission on the Status of Women; and improve their
interventions in promoting women in economic decision-making
through training, technical assistance and governmental
support.


           III.  WOMEN IN POWER AND DECISION-MAKING

60. Under the critical area of concern "women in power and
decision-making" (chapter IV.G), the Platform for Action
affirms that women have the equal right to participate in
governance and that the empowerment, autonomy and full
citizenship of women are essential for their advancement in
other spheres of life and for more transparent and accountable
governance (para. 181).  It further proposes numerous actions
to be taken to achieve quickly a major breakthrough towards
equality in power sharing and decision-making and gender
balanced composition in all decision-making bodies at the
national and international levels.  Suggested measures include
reform of electoral systems (para. 190 (d)), increase in
women's participation and roles in political parties (para.
191), changes in recruitment and career development procedures
in the civil service (paras. 192 and 195 (b)), and achievement
of a "critical mass of women leaders" (para. 192 (a)).

61. The Platform for Action further emphasizes the importance
of mainstreaming a gender perspective for the achievement of
these goals, stating that "women in politics and decision-
making positions in Governments and legislative bodies
contribute to redefining political priorities, placing new
items on the political agenda that reflect and address women's
gender-specific concerns, values and experiences, and providing
new perspectives on mainstream political issues (para. 182).

62. Owing to the particularly gross under-representation of
women in decision-making in the areas of peace, security and
conflict resolution, the Platform for Action points to the need
to "strengthen the role of women and ensure equal
representation of women at all decision-making levels in
national and international institutions which may make or
influence policy with regard to matters related to peace-
keeping, preventive diplomacy and related activities and in all
stages of peace mediation and negotiations" (para. 144 (c)) and
to "integrate a gender perspective in the resolution of armed
or other conflicts" (para. 142 (b)).


                  A.  Participation in political decision-
making
                      as a basic human right

63. The principle of equality between men and women in public
life is affirmed by the Charter of the United Nations
(Preamble; Article 8), the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights (General Assembly resolution 217 A (III)) and a number
of other international treaties, including the Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,
to which 154 States are parties.

64. At the international level, women's right to equal
participation in politics and Government has been advocated for
the past 50 years by the Commission on the Status of Women. 
The Commission has called for equal participation of women and
men in Government and the exercise by women of all rights of
citizenship, irrespective of race, language or religion,
including the right to vote, to be elected and to hold public
office.22/

65. Less prominent in the international discussion of women's
role in decision-making has been their potential contribution
to decision-making in areas such as peace, security and
conflict resolution.  Yet, women in particular have suffered as
victims of wars and other conflicts and mass rape, and today
constitute a majority of refugees.  Their participation in
preventive diplomacy or in resolving conflicts, however,
continues to be extremely limited.

66. Moreover, despite long-standing recognition
internationally of the fundamental right of women and men to
participate in political life, and the recognition of this
right in most national constitutions, in practice, the gap
between the de jure and de facto equality of women in the area
of decision-making remains wide.  Whereas in almost all
countries of the world, with the exception of two, women have
the legal right to vote and to hold public office on an equal
basis with men, in practice relatively few women have been
elected to national legislatures, and even fewer occupy key
decision-making positions, including in international
organizations such as the United Nations.


  1.  Women in parliaments and in government decision-making

67. No major changes in data and trends related to the
representation of women in parliaments and Governments have
been identified since the Fourth World Conference on Women. 
Thus, the information on the topic contained in the Secretary-
General's report on the participation of women in political
life and decision-making (E/CN.6/1995/12), submitted to the
Commission at its thirty-ninth session, in 1995, is still
relevant.  There are, however, a few observations that can be
made in this respect.

68. The downward trend in women's representation in
parliaments continues.  The results of recent Inter-
Parliamentary Union studies indicate that the average number of
women in parliaments, which had declined globally from
14.8 per cent in 1988 to 11.3 per cent in 1995, further
decreased to 10.5 per cent in 1996. 23/  The low number of women
in parliaments indicates that despite decades of women's
suffrage in most countries, women have not yet used their vote
as a means of demanding an equal share of power and
participation in political decision-making.

69. Regional and subregional trends also prevailed; for
example, in Scandinavia in 1996 the record of women in
parliament continued to be impressive, ranging from 33 per cent
to 40.4 per cent.  In a number of countries that gained full
adult suffrage more recently, when the right to vote and
participate in political life had become more widely accepted
(Mozambique, the Seychelles and South Africa), women quickly
achieved higher-than-average representation in parliaments,
above 20 per cent.

70. In Eastern Europe, with recent moves toward
democratization and the introduction of free elections and of
multi-party systems, a sharp decline in the number of female
parliamentarians over the previous record continued, although
the figures have improved with each consecutive election.  In
some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, during the transition
from one-party rule to multi-party systems, there was a decline
in women in parliaments.23

71. Analysis by the Division for the Advancement of Women
shows slow progress in women's representation in government
decision-making positions at all levels globally (including
minister, deputy minister, permanent secretary and head of
department or the equivalent).  Women made up only 6.8 per cent
of cabinet ministers worldwide in 1996 and remained heavily
concentrated in such areas as social affairs, education, health
and women and the family.  A significant improvement has been
noted in Latin America and the Caribbean, where the rate of
progress has accelerated to approach the levels of women's
representation in the "Europe and others" region (i.e., Europe,
Canada and the United States of America), which had
traditionally led in almost all areas.  In 1996, women in
governmental decision-making at all levels in Latin America and
the Caribbean reached 14 per cent, compared with 15 per cent in
the "Europe and others" region.  The positive change in the
region should be further studied, as its experiences can be
useful in other parts of the world.

72. Generally, however, it should be noted that there is an
apparent glass ceiling for women in government administration
and that women are concentrated in the more "social"
ministries.


                  2.  Women in multilateral diplomacy and
                      international organizations

73. It appears that administrative restrictions and
discriminatory practices that affect women more severely than
men are even more prevalent in the diplomatic services than in
other areas, at least in some countries.

74. Women are noticeably absent from decision-making in
international organizations.  In the United Nations, the
percentage of women Professional staff reached 35 per cent in
1996. 24/  The percentage of women at the senior managerial
level (D-1 level and above) amounted to only 17.9 per cent in
1996.  Their distribution, however, was uneven.  For example,
in 1996, the Department of Political Affairs had 22.2 per cent
women at senior managerial levels, the Department of
Peacekeeping Operations, 6.7 per cent, and the Department of
Public Information, 28 per cent.  The Department of
Humanitarian Affairs had no women at the upper levels (D-1 and
above).  At the level of Assistant Secretary-General, the
proportion of women declined from 14.3 per cent (four women) in
1986 to 6.7 per cent (one woman) in 1996, while at the level of
Under-Secretary-General, the proportion of women increased from
0 per cent to 4.8 per cent (one woman). 25/  Throughout the
history of United Nations peacekeeping and electoral support
there have been only two women in charge of United Nations
missions.  In 51 years, only two women have presided over the
General Assembly.

75. Generally, it can be noted that little progress has been
achieved in the past 50 years; that only a small number of
women took an active part in political life; and that there is
a high degree of social and political tolerance for such a
situation.


             B.  Factors contributing to women's participation
                 in the political process

76. The factors that contribute to greater numbers of women in
public decision-making - whether through the national political
process, that is the electoral process or political
appointment, or through professional careers in the civil
service - need to be further explored.  Preliminary research by
the Division for the Advancement of Women has indicated,
however, that where the female electorate has emerged as a
force to be reckoned with, the competition for votes has led
many political parties to promote more women within their ranks
and nominate them as candidates in order to secure women's
votes and to include in their platforms issues which are
particularly important to women.  This has been done by, for
example, the Social Democratic Parties of Austria, Germany,
Poland and the Scandinavian countries.  This strategy on the
part of some parties has forced other parties to join in the
competition for votes by placing women in more visible
positions and by becoming more gender-sensitive.

77. Where women have demonstrated a clear preference for those
parties and candidates that are gender-sensitive and supportive
of women's interests, especially with regard to reproductive
rights, social services, participation in decision-making,
elimination of violence against women and environmental
protection, close parliamentary or presidential contests have
been influenced or the outcome determined by the female voters
and their preferences.  This has occurred in such diverse
countries and areas as Argentina, Austria, Germany, Poland, the
Russian Federation, South Africa, Uganda, the United States of
America and Scandinavia.

78. Women's participation in political decision-making is
believed to be linked to such factors as women's education and
female literacy; women's participation in the labour force;
availability of childcare; women's health status; female
entrepreneurship; strong women's organizations and movements;
gender-sensitive legislation, and changes in the judicial
system towards eradicating violence against women.  It also
tends to be higher in countries with a high level of legal
literacy, where women's issues and concerns constitute part of
public debate and where women's non-governmental organizations,
advocacy groups and networks have been able to play a visible
role.26/

79. Special measures and policies aimed directly at
accelerating de facto equality between men and women in
decision-making have also promoted more women in political
decision-making.  They have been applied in some countries in
order to ensure a certain percentage of women in political
parties, parliaments and/or public boards.  For example, in
certain countries some leading political parties have
established quotas for women, including in their governing
bodies (Austria, Botswana, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland,
Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden,
Venezuela).  Other countries, for example, Argentina and the
United Republic of Tanzania, have implemented quotas reserving
a minimum number of seats in parliaments for women.  A similar
practice is being legislated in India at all levels of
government.  In Bangladesh and India, special measures have
been taken to introduce a female quota in local bodies.  In the
Nordic countries, quotas of 40 to 60 per cent for each sex are
applied to all public boards and committees.  The effectiveness
of such measures differs from country to country and remains a
subject of debate.

80. On the other hand, the number of women in political
decision-making continues to be affected negatively by numerous
obstacles, already identified in previous reports, 27/ such as
an unequal division of household duties; women's lack of
economic independence or financial means; custom and tradition
that define the public sphere as the male domain while
relegating women to the private domestic sphere; prevailing
negative attitudes towards women's political participation; a
lack of confidence in and support for female candidates by the
electorate, including women, and political parties; media
stereotyping and more demanding criteria for women politicians
than for men.

81. In pursuing civil service careers at both the national and
international levels women are particularly affected by the
prevalence of "closed" recruitment and promotion systems, often
based on patronage or "old boys' networks", without clear
requirements for entry or promotion and without transparency in
the process; bias in job evaluation and classification;
insufficient appeal mechanisms and a general absence of women
from appeal bodies and selection, appointment and promotion
panels; unequal opportunities for career and training
development; the marginalization of women in some areas of the
civil service traditionally considered as related to women and
their systematic exclusion from others (e.g., foreign affairs,
defence, the interior, central banks, economic affairs), or
their relegation to positions to implement affirmative action
policies rather than mainstream substantive issues.

82. Although most of these obstacles have been known for a
long time, no adequate measures have been developed to address
them efficiently.


     C.  Political decision-making and conflict resolution

83. The idea that women would make a difference in political
decision-making and that societies and decision makers can take
advantage of this difference needs to be further investigated. 
Not enough evidence seems as yet to be available to generalize
about the particular contributions of women to political
decision-making.  The theory of a "critical mass" argues that
women can make a difference in the political process if they
achieve a "critical mass" of at least 30-35 per cent and act as
a group. 28/  The absence of a critical mass, of women from
decision-making, it has been argued, deprives society of the
"gender difference" in terms of the distinct issues,
experiences, perspectives and approaches that women may bring
to the process.

84. The recognition of the importance of gender differences
and the mainstreaming of a gender perspective into political
decision-making and conflict resolution processes was
emphasized by the Expert Group Meeting on Political Decision-
making and Conflict Resolution:  The Impact of Gender
Difference, organized jointly by the United Nations Division
for the Advancement of Women and the International Peace
Research Institute, Oslo, in cooperation with the International
Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women
and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization, held in the Dominican Republic from 7 to
11 October 1996. 29/

85. The Meeting, which was attended by both mainstream experts
in conflict resolution and feminist scholars and activists,
provided an example of gender mainstreaming in practice.  The
conclusions reached despite differences of opinion and approach
suggested that:

    (a) Significant differences in women's and men's
behaviour, attitudes, and styles result from different social
constructions of female and male identities and roles and from
different social positions;

    (b) Bringing a gender perspective to bear on decision-
making, including conflict resolution, means recognizing that
women and men are differently involved in political processes. 
Much of politics and social research has been conducted in a
way that is blind to gender difference, and this has meant that
men and their male norms have been taken to represent the norm
for all human beings.  This has resulted in making women
invisible as well as excluding them;

    (c) Recognition of a gender perspective means fostering a
better understanding of gender roles in specific contexts.  As
a broad range of research and experience indicates, women
appear to have different definitions, for example, of peace and
security, and different attitudes towards conflict resolution
from those of men.  Thus, a gender perspective might help to
develop a fuller understanding of decision-making and conflict-
resolution processes which could change the present
conceptualization of political discourse and culture,
redrafting political agendas and priorities and broadening the
view of conflict resolution and politics generally.

86. The Expert Group Meeting concluded that applying a gender
perspective might bring about, inter alia, the following
changes:  the present conception of politics might be altered;
political discourse and the political culture might change;
there might well be changes in the political agenda and in the
way issues already on the political agenda are treated; the
reaction to women politicians is likely to change, leading to
less discrimination; there might be an increase in the
participation of women in political decision-making, leading to
the creation of women's new role models.

87. The Meeting stated that a gender perspective should be
applied in all areas of public decision-making, including peace
processes, responses to armed conflict, and training and
capacity-building.  The consistent application of a gender
perspective would facilitate more rapid implementation of
United Nations norms and principles, as well as encourage new,
more participatory and inclusive ways of governance.

88. The Meeting reaffirmed the recommendation contained in
paragraph 144 (c) of the Platform for Action to strengthen the
role of women and ensure equal representation of women at all
decision-making levels in national and international
institutions which may make or influence policy with regard to
matters related to peacekeeping, preventive diplomacy and
related activities and in all stages of peace mediation and
negotiations, taking note of the specific recommendations of
the Secretary-General in his strategic plan of action for the
improvement of the status of women in the Secretariat (1995-
2000) (A/49/587, sect. IV).

89. Experts stressed that United Nations bodies should take
into consideration the integrated follow-up to recommendations
of the world conferences and summits of the 1990s, the link
with conflict resolution, especially in terms of addressing
violence, and promoting the mainstreaming of a gender
perspective.  The target of 50 per cent women in decision-
making in the United Nations by the year 2000 should be pursued
with concrete special measures.

90. The Meeting also built on the 1994 Expert Group Meeting on
Gender and the Agenda for Peace, organized by the Division for
the Advancement of Women, which concluded that those United
Nations peace and security missions that had a greater gender
balance in their mission staff appeared to have been
particularly effective.  Such missions were those to Namibia,
in which 60 per cent of the Professional civilian staff were
women, and South Africa, in which 53 per cent of the staff
serving in civilian jobs during the first 16 months were women. 
It also pointed to some effects which have been observed when
women form a critical mass in United Nations peacekeeping
missions - so far largely in civilian jobs.30/


          D.  Strategies to accelerate implementation

91. There remains in the post-Beijing period, an urgent need
to promote gender-balance in decision-making in parliaments,
government administration, diplomacy and international
organizations and, perhaps more important, an awareness of
gender issues and their consistent application to legislation
and policy-making.  Otherwise, gender equality will remain an
elusive goal and humanity will be limited to male perspectives
in its efforts for development.  But the question arises how
best to ensure gender-balance in decision-making at all levels
within the shortest possible time-frame.

92. The Platform for Action proposed a number of ways to
increase women's role in power and decision-making.  The
Commission may wish to examine some of them:

    (a) With regard to political parties, their structures and
procedures, attention should be given to ways and means which
are required to remove discriminatory practices; gender issues
should be incorporated in political agendas and ensure women's
access to leadership positions on an equal basis with men
should be assured, as should their participation in appointive
and electoral nominating processes;

    (b) In terms of electoral systems, attention should be
given to the impact of various types of electoral systems on
women's representation.  Suggestions for subsequent changes and
reforms of electoral systems towards gender-balanced
representation should be made;

    (c) Efforts need to be made by all actors in Governments,
the private sector, political parties and non-governmental
organizations to review the criteria used in recruitment and
appointment to advisory and decision-making bodies and
promotion to senior positions and ensure that they do not
discriminate against women.  Recruitment and career development
programmes should be restructured accordingly to ensure a
gender-balanced composition of decision-making bodies and the
transparency of criteria for recruitment and promotion;

    (d) Comprehensive action to ensure a critical mass of
women leaders in all areas and at all levels of decision-making
should be undertaken by Governments, international
organizations and civil society.  The mechanisms to monitor
women's access to decision-making positions should be created
or strengthened;

    (e) The existence of comprehensive databases disaggregated
by sex is essential to demonstrating the extent to which women
do or do not participate in government and in other political
arenas.  Therefore, further improvement of existing databases
is essential for strengthening policies and programmes aimed at
gender equality in decision-making;

    (f) Commitment to the measures aimed at increased
participation of women in decision-making between now and the
year 2000 by countries where women's participation in public
life is lagging could lead to a major shift in women's role. 
It would bring the voice of women more directly into the
political process and in so doing, fulfil an important
objective of the Platform for Action, empowering women to
participate equally in power and decision-making.

93. The Commission may wish to reinforce these proposals and
suggest concrete and tangible measures which would result in
the gender-balanced distribution of decision-making positions
between now and the year 2000.


                IV.  WOMEN AND THE ENVIRONMENT

94. The agreements reached in the past decade at the series of
global conferences and summits organized by the United Nations
have sought to frame the development challenges in an era of
rapid social, economic and political change.  Notably, results
of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
in Rio de Janeiro, the International Conference on Population
and Development in Cairo and the Fourth World Conference on
Women in Beijing, have reflected an evolving understanding
within the international community of the interlinkage between
women, environment, population and sustainable development.

95. Agenda 21, 31/ adopted at the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development recognized that women had a
critical role to play in achieving sustainable development and
put the issue of women and the environment on the world agenda. 
Chapter 24 of Agenda 21 (Global action for women towards
sustainable and equitable development) called for "analysis of
the structural linkages between gender relations, environment
and development" (para. 24.8 (d)).  However, by referring to
women as a major group along with children, youth and
indigenous people, chapter 24 implies that mainstream
development is essentially a male domain.

96. This concept of women as a special group was superseded in
Cairo and Beijing.  In Cairo it was emphasized that there could
be no sustainable development without the full participation of
women in mainstream activities.  The focus was on the
importance of women's economic and political empowerment and on
establishing a broadened approach to reproductive health and
rights.

97. The Beijing Platform for Action reaffirmed the advances
made in Cairo and also went beyond the traditional integration
of women into the existing development agenda by emphasizing
the need for a gender perspective at the outset in order to
shape the development agenda.  This commitment to a gender
perspective has been since reiterated by, for example, the
General Assembly in its resolutions 50/203 and 51/69.

98. The Platform for Action provided an extensive discussion
of women and the environment in the context of sustainable
development, examining women's role and contribution to
conservation and management of natural resources and to
safeguarding the environment, particularly at the local level. 
The Platform called for more participation of women at all
levels of decision-making and advocacy in natural resources and
environmental management, conservation, protection and
rehabilitation.  It emphasized that sustainable development
would be "an elusive goal unless women's contribution to
environmental management is recognized and supported".  It
called on Governments and other actors to "promote an active
and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective in all
policies and programmes, including, as appropriate, an analysis
of the effects on women and men, respectively, before decisions
are taken" (paras. 250-252).

99. Notably, as a result of recent global conferences,
Governments have committed themselves to creating a new
development paradigm that integrates environmental
sustainability with gender equality and justice within and
between generations (para. 248).  However, an analysis of the
25 national plans for action received by the Division for the
Advancement of Women suggests that there are few with national
strategies for carrying out the strategic objectives and
actions on women and environment agreed at Beijing.

100.    These findings were confirmed by the Expert Group
Meeting on Women, Population and Sustainable Development:  The
Road from Rio, Cairo and Beijing, organized jointly by the
Division for the Advancement of Women, the Division for
Sustainable Development, the United Nations Population Fund
(UNFPA) and the International Research and Training Institute
for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), 32/ which took place in
the Dominican Republic from 18 to 22 November 1996.  Experts
noted that the link between women and environment as spelled
out in the Platform for Action had yet to be translated into
policies and programmes in most countries.


    A.  Women as actors in relation to environmental issues

101.    One set of advocates in the developmental debate
tended to focus on women as either victims or saviours of the
environment.  They emphasized the impact of environmental
degradation on poor women, which is seen to increase women's
burden of work, making it more difficult for them to gather
fuel, find clean water and otherwise exploit natural resources
for their subsistence and that of their families.

102.    The implicit assumption is also that, because many of
the world's women are consumers of primary resources, they are
responsible for the depletion of these resources.  At best,
this approach places great responsibility on rural women in
particular.  Not only must they cope with managing scarce
resources under difficult conditions of poverty, they must find
a way of doing so while conserving these resources.  At worst,
this approach blames the poor, and poor women in particular,
for environmental degradation.  Notably, it is often the
poorest households that are exposed to environmental risk as
they manage resources.  The poorer households tend to be rural
dwellers, migrants from rural areas or female headed
households.

103.    Such an approach tends to focus on women, primarily in
their reproductive roles, and the impact of an expanding
population on the environment.  This approach tends to hold
women responsible for population growth which, in turn, is seen
to be responsible for resource depletion and
non-sustainability.  By targeting women through family planning
programmes, the proponents of this point of view see women as
potential conservers of the environment should they reduce
their fertility.  Moreover, women are seen as nurturers with a
natural affinity for nature and, therefore, are perceived to be
a potentially powerful force for environmental protection. 
However, this assumption that there should be an emphasis on a
special relation between women and nature has been refuted by
another point of view.33/

104.    A growing recognition of the role of gender in
relation to environmental issues has resulted in a more refined
analysis of women's as well as men's roles.  In that respect,
the relationship between women and the environment should be
seen within the overall system of gender relations, keeping in
mind that gender refers to the socially constructed roles
played by women and men that are ascribed to them on the basis
of their sex, and that gender roles are usually contingent on
the social and economic context, and can both vary according to
the specific context and change over time.34/

105.    The Platform for Action called for a gender analysis
of how men and women interact with the environment and natural
resources.  It called for consideration of what the division of
labour between women and men is, and what their roles and
responsibilities are in this respect.  Attention was drawn to
the link between women's subordination in general and the
obstacles they face in order to be effective managers of
natural resources.

106.    The Platform for Action called for Governments to
"develop a strategy for change to eliminate all obstacles to
women's full and equal participation in sustainable development
and equal access to and control over resources"
(para. 256 (g)).  It stressed the importance of examining
women's access to and control over resources, rights and
ownership, capacity-building through education and training,
reform of legal systems to recognize women's rights as human
rights, and their participation in decision-making on
environment and sustainable development.

107.    The emphasis in the Platform for Action was on women's
potential as environmental managers and actors in various
domains of life:  productive, reproductive, social, cultural
and political.  In this regard, the Expert Group Meeting
emphasized that the responsibility for environmental damage
that is assigned to women cannot be separated from the system
of which they are a part.  The main cause of forest depletion,
for instance, can hardly be attributed only to women, though in
many places they are responsible for gathering wood.  The bulk
of wood cutting is done by multinational or large enterprises
responding to external market demands, or by local
entrepreneurs responding to local market demands.  Moreover, in
some cultures men have taken the role of fetching wood after
nearby forests have been cut down and distances and danger have
increased.

108.    The Platform also stated that the major cause of the
continued deterioration of the global environment was the
unsustainable pattern of overall consumption and production,
particularly in industrialized countries (para. 246).  In other
words, the patterns of consumption and production are important
factors in understanding both the extent of ecological
degradation as well as possibilities of sustaining development. 
Gender analysis might also provide better understanding of the
patterns of consumption and production.


                B.  Global and local environmental issues:
                    a gender perspective

109.    Beijing reaffirmed the agreements achieved in Rio and
Cairo by emphasizing that addressing the problem of
deterioration of environment should include a systematic
reflection of interlinkages between global and local issues of
sustainable development with a gender perspective.

110.    What is required fundamentally is a different
perspective that integrates the micro and macro, bridges the
public and private domains (especially the productive and
reproductive spheres) and empowers different sectors of
society, including both women and men to be effective in
environmental decision-making.  A gender perspective is
essential to establishing the cross-sectoral links as women
play a mediating role in all spheres of society.

111.    Global issues of sustainable development, including
globalization of the economy, frequently manifest themselves at
the local level.  However, while some issues can be resolved at
the local level, with social and economic costs and benefits
accruing within the community or locality (for example, certain
water and air pollution), some global issues can only be
resolved at the macro level.

112.    The sources or causes of many environmental problems
experienced in both rural and urban areas originate from
outside the boundaries of the household or community. 
Solutions therefore depend on external support.  As a result of
globalization, even in communities where women are having a
positive impact on natural resource management and
sustainability at the local level, this might be negated by
global economic forces.

113.    Results from case studies undertaken in Latin American
peri-urban and rural communities as presented to the Expert
Group Meeting 35/ confirmed that while women are often the first
line of defence in protecting the health and well-being of
their families and communities, their ability to do so is often
diminished by decisions made and environmental degradation that
takes place outside their community or locality.  In many
situations, women may bear the brunt of the costs at the local
level and are forced to work longer hours with fewer resources
for lower rewards.

114.    Women are often left to try to mitigate the cost of
environmental degradation.  Unfortunately, the magnitude of
environmental problems exceeds their ability to mitigate the
health and economic effects of environmental degradation, as
does the lack of resources available to them.

115.    Such situations also exist in much of the Africa
region.  There, despite the global environmental problems and
impact of globalized economic systems, including structural
adjustment programmes, the relationship of women to the
environment as important producers, managers and consumers
remains a visible constant, but is tempered by limits to access
and control over resources, including land.

116.    The conclusions reached at the Meeting suggested that
sustainable development requires local level interventions in
agriculture, fisheries, forest programmes and so forth, which
are integrated and environmentally sensitive and take into
account the needs and interests of both men and women.  It also
requires examination of macro level policies and programmes
through a gender lens and introduction of the appropriate
institutional mechanisms and regulations.  This, in turn,
implies a supportive political milieu which weighs the relative
social, economic and environmental costs and benefits of
development from a gender perspective.  It also calls for a
socio-political environment in which both men and women can
have a voice to state their priorities and highlight the
mechanisms for ending poverty, ecological degradation and
stabilizing population.


          C.  Women as environmental decision makers

117.    Women as well as men have a vested interest in
sustainable development.  Women's empowerment and increased
role in decision-making are a necessary prerequisite for
achieving sustainable development.  The Platform for Action
called for Governments at all levels to ensure opportunities
for women, including indigenous women, to participate in
environmental decision-making (para. 253).  The participation
of women in decision-making, it has been argued, alters the
style of decision-making, particularly if there is a critical
mass of women in a position to influence decisions.

118.    It has been well-documented, in all regions of the
world that at the local level, because of the way in which
women's productive and reproductive roles link them to
resources central to sustainable development, that their
presence in decision-making does result in different decisions
related to sustainable development.
 
119.    At the local level, women who are empowered and in
decision-making roles have generally had an important positive
influence on the involvement of other women in decision-making
processes.  Women in decision-making, and the involvement of
women in decision-making processes, is also related to women's
sense of ownership of the processes and of the systems and
resources that decisions will have an impact on.  In that
respect, the participation of women and their empowerment can
bring positive changes in gender relations which will benefit
society.

120.    Women's empowerment is crucial for them to have the
capacity to deal more effectively with the effects of
environmental degradation.  Economic and political empowerment
of women, combined with the local knowledge of women about the
environment, is a basic building-block for development policies
which should be sustainable and empowering.

121.    However, the focus on women's empowerment and
participation in decision-making should not divert attention
from the fact that the task of averting and managing
environmental crises and of population stabilization should be
a responsibility shared with men.  Economic and political
empowerment of women does not mean that they alone should take
on the additional challenge of environmental protection.


          D.  Strategies to accelerate implementation

122.    The Beijing Platform for Action highlighted three
strategic objectives in the critical area of concern on women
and the environment:  involve women actively in environmental
decision-making at all levels; integrate gender concerns and
perspectives in policies and programmes for sustainable
development; strengthen or establish mechanisms at the
national, regional and international levels to assess the
impact of development and environmental policies on women.

123.    To achieve these objectives, a wide range of actions
have been outlined by the Expert Group Meeting and by others. 
As a result of Beijing, a new emphasis has been placed on
enabling women to be active decision makers, planners and
designers of projects for sustainable development, particularly
at the local level; improving access of women to skills through
expansion of extension services and training in science,
technology and economics and developing gender-sensitive
databases and integrating traditional knowledge of women into
resource management programmes.

124.    The Platform for Action contributed to a better
understanding of sustainability from a gender perceptive.  It
has also made a critical contribution to awareness-creation, on
a worldwide basis, concerning the particular burdens placed on
women in the environmental domain and of the important role
which women can play.  Women are correctly seen as valuable
actors and partners in better environmental management.

125.    In order to accelerate the implementation of the
strategic objectives in the critical area of concern relating
to women and the environment, the Commission might wish to
consider the conclusions and recommendations of the Expert
Group Meeting on Women, Population and Sustainable Development
and suggest tangible measures for different actors to undertake
on a priority basis.

126.    The Expert Group Meeting concluded, inter alia, that:

    (a) Women's environmental roles are to be considered in
the context of their other roles or responsibilities in both
the reproductive and productive spheres.  In order to elaborate
gender-sensitive policies, women should not be seen as one-
dimensional - as the primary victims or primary conservers of
the environment or as a homogenous group.  Such factors as age,
race and socio-economic status are equally significant and
needed in policy analysis and programmes;

    (b) The consideration of environmental issues should not
be focused exclusively on women.  Men and their roles are
essential to a balanced analysis.  Qualitative and quantitative
indicators need to be developed and used in the measurements of
the impacts of gender mainstreaming;

    (c) Understanding the gender differences provides scope
for identifying whether joint or targeted programmes and
projects are necessary.  Due to the existing inequalities and
lower socio-economic status of women, the projects that target
women should be continued, but they should go along with
mainstream projects which take women's needs and interests into
account;

    (d) In line with recommendations and agreements made at
the international level regarding the levels of financial and
technical support necessary to achieve population stabilization
and sustainable development in the context of individual human
rights and the empowerment of women, Governments and
international agencies should increase funding and reassign
budget allocations for gender-sensitive population and
sustainable development programmes;

    (e) Development and cooperation agencies should ensure
that all projects incorporate gender mainstreaming as an
essential component.  The allocations of resources for gender
mainstreaming should be made from within budgets for population
and sustainable development activities.  Separate and earmarked
funds for women's programmes, where they exist, should not bear
the burden of resource allocation for gender mainstreaming;

    (f) The environmental problems require effective action at
both the international and national levels, taking a gender
perspective into account.  A gender-sensitive connection should
be made between macroeconomic and political processes: 
overconsumption of natural resources by the few in the North
and poverty of the many in the South.  The implications of the
ongoing process of globalization should be considered through a
gender lens;

    (g) In policies and programmes related to sustainable
development, particular attention should be given to
understanding gender differences in local or global
environmental impacts.  Of equal importance is that the costs
and benefits, including non-monetary measurements, of
addressing environmental problems be disaggregated by gender
and assessed at local and supra-local levels;

    (h) Women should be able to exercise their rights and be
involved in decision-making process at the local, national,
regional and international levels.  Their perspectives should
be included in designing and implementing policies and
programmes in the area of sustainable development;

    (i) Given that the empowerment of women is an issue of
human rights and is essential to achieving sustainable and
equitable development, and given the critical role played by
women's organizations in the move towards more sustainable
development, the United Nations and other multilateral and
bilateral donors should enhance their procedures for support to
women's organizations, in all their diversity.  In line with
agreements reached in Rio, Cairo and Beijing, financial and in-
kind assistance to women's organizations should be increased in
all areas of empowerment, including support to local women to
relieve their burden of multiple roles;

    (j) The implementation of the Beijing recommendations
should be undertaken along with the implementation of Agenda 21
and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on
Population and Development, as well as of other agreements of
United Nations conferences and summits, in an integrated way. 
The issue of mainstreaming a gender perspective into all
policies and programmes in the area of sustainable development
should be a focus of the review of the implementation of Agenda
21 to be carried out by the General Assembly at its special
session in 1997;

    (k) Before planning is undertaken and policy formulated,
Governments should establish consultative mechanisms within all
sectors of government in order to mainstream a gender
perspective, promote equality and equity, and implement, in an
integrated way, the recommendations of United Nations
conferences;

    (l) Training and education on issues of population and
sustainable development should be provided to programmes and
units within international institutions, national machineries
and non-governmental organizations that work on gender;

    (m) Advocacy campaigns based on valid and reliable
research findings should be developed in order to help overcome
resistance towards innovative gender mainstreaming in
population and sustainable development policies and programmes.


                             Notes

1/ Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing,
4-15 September 1995 (A/CONF.177/20 and Add.1), chap. I,
resolution 1, annexes I and II.

2/ Report of the Secretary-General on the promotion of
literacy, education and training, including technological
skills (E/CN.6/1995/11), annex.

3/ United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization, Compendium of Statistics on Illiteracy, 1995
edition, Statistical Reports and Studies, No. 35.

4/ United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization, World Education Report, 1995.

5/ World Bank, Vocational and Technical Education and Training,
a World Bank Policy Paper (Washington, D.C., 1991).

6/ Report of the Expert Group Meeting on Vocational Training
and Lifelong Learning of Women (EGM/VOCA/1996/1).

7/ World Bank, Toward Gender Equality:  The Role of Public
Policy (Washington, D.C., 1995).

8/ See, in particular, the World Declaration on Education for
All and the Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs,
adopted by the World Conference on Education for All (Jomtien,
Thailand, 1990).

9/ International Labour Organization, Women Workers in a
Changing Global Environment:  Framework for Discussion (Geneva,
International Labour Office, 1994).

10/ Report of the Expert Group Meeting on Women and Economic
Decision-making in International Financial Institutions and
Transnational Corporations (EDM/IFI-TNC/1996/1).

11/ International Labour Organization, 261st session of the
Governing Body, "Changing role of women in the economy: 
employment and social issues" (GB.261/ESP/2/2), Geneva, 1994.

12/ The Wall Street Journal, 18 October 1996.

13/ Sunanta Siengthai, "Women and economic decision-making in
international financial institutions and transnational
corporations in Thailand", paper presented at the Expert Group
Meeting on Women and Economic Decision-making in International
Financial Institutions and Transnational Corporations
(EDM/IFI-TNC/1996/WP.3).

14/ Dawn Mokhobo, "Shattering the glass ceiling:  the South
African reality", paper presented at the Expert Group Meeting
on Women and Economic Decision-making in International
Financial Institutions and Transnational Corporations
(EDM/IFI-TNC/1996/WP.4).

15/ Sonia de Avelar, "Women in economic decision-making in
Brazil:  a glass ceiling report", paper presented at the Expert
Group Meeting on Women and Economic Decision-making
(EDM/1994/WP.8).

16/ Nordic Council of Ministers, Women in Leading Positions,
1996.

17/ Apollonia Kerenge, "Women and decision-making in
international financial institutions:  the African
perspective", paper presented at the Expert Group Meeting on
Women and Economic Decision-making in International Financial
Institutions and Transnational Corporations
(EDM/IFI-TNC/1996/WP.2).

18/ "Women and economic decision-making:  experience of the
United Nations", paper prepared by the Division for the
Advancement of Women for the Expert Group Meeting on Women and
Economic Decision-making in International Financial
Institutions and Transnational Corporations
(EDM/IFI-TNC/1996/BP.1).

19/ Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Men and Women of the Corporation (New
York, Basic Books, 1977); and Gary Powell, Women and Men in
Management (Beverly Hills, California, Sage, 1988).

20/ Nancy Adler, Competitive Frontiers:  Women Managers in a
Global Economy (Blackwell, 1994).

21/ Lin Lean Lim, More and Better Jobs for Women:  An Action
Guide (Geneva, International Labour Office, 1996).

22/ See the terms of reference set out in the report of the
Commission on the Status of Women (E/281/Rev.1).

23/ Inter-Parliamentary Union, Women in Parliaments, 1945-1995: 
A World Statistical Survey, Series "Reports and Documents", No.
23 (Geneva, 1995) and Press Releases of 27 August 1995 and
20 October 1996.

24/ Report of the Secretary-General entitled "Human resources
management:  composition of the Secretariat" (A/51/421 and
Corr.1), table E.

25/ Report of the Secretary-General on the improvement of the
status of women in the Secretariat (A/51/304 and Corr.1), table
3.

26/ See, inter alia, indicators used to construct the Human
Development Index and the Gender-related Development Index, in
United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report,
1996 (New York and Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1996); and
Women in Politics and Decision-Making in the Late Twentieth
Century:  A United Nations Study (United Nations publication,
Sales No. E.91.IV.3).

27/ Report of the Secretary-General on equality in political
participation and decision-making (E/CN.6/1990/2 and Corr.1).

28/ The concept of critical mass was proposed by Drude Dahlerup,
a Danish scholar.  See her article, "From a small to a large
minority:  women in Scandinavian politics", Scandinavian
Political Studies, vol. 11, No. 4 (1988).

29/ "Report of the Expert Group Meeting on Political Decision-
making and Conflict Resolution:  The Impact of Gender
Difference" (EGM/PDCR/1996/1).

30/ See Report of the Expert Group Meeting on Gender and the
Agenda for Peace (GAP.1994/1); Report of the Secretary-General
on the participation of women in political decision-making
(E/CN.6/1995/12); and Division for the Advancement of Women,
"The role of women in United Nations peacekeeping", Women 2000,
No. 1 (December 1995).

31/ Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development, Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992, vol. I,
Resolutions Adopted by the Conference (United Nations
publication, Sales No. E.93.I.8 and corrigendum), resolution 1,
annex II.

32/ Report of the Expert Group Meeting on Women, Population and
Sustainable Development:  The Road from Rio, Cairo and Beijing
(EGM/WPSD/1996/1).

33/ See also B. Agarwal, "Engendering the environment debate: 
lessons from the Indian subcontinent", Centre for Advanced
Study of International Development (CASID) Distinguished
Speaker Series, No. 8, Michigan State University;
E. W. Cecelski, "From Rio to Beijing:  engendering the energy
debate", Energy Policy, vol. 23, No. 6 (1995), pp. 561-575;
C. Jackson, "Environmental reproduction and gender in the Third
World"; and M. Leah, "Gender and the environment:  traps and
opportunities", Development in Practice, vol. 2,
1 November 1992.

34/ Report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the
outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women (A/51/322),
para. 9.

35/ M. Paolisso and S. Gammage, Women's Responses to
Environmental Degradation - Poverty and Demographic
Constraints:  Case Studies from Latin America (Washington,
D.C., International Center for Research on Women, 1996).


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