Commission on the Status of Women
E/1997/27 CSW - Report of the forty-first session
C. Matters brought to the attention of the Council
3. The attention of the Council is drawn to the text submitted by the
Chairperson of the Commission on the follow-up to agreed conclusions 1996/1
of the Economic and Social Council (see chap. II, para. 178).
1. Agreed conclusions
4. The following agreed conclusions of the Commission are also brought to
the attention of the Council:
Agreed conclusions 1997/2. Women in power and decision-making*
1. Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action15/ should be
accelerated to ensure women's full and equal participation in decision-
making at all levels.
2. Achieving the goal of equal participation of men and women in
decision-making and ensuring equal political, economic and social
participation of women in all spheres would provide the balance that is
needed to strengthen democracy.
3. Governments and bodies and agencies of the United Nations system, as
well as other international organizations, social partners and
non-governmental organizations, should collectively and individually
accelerate the implementation of strategies that promote gender balance in
political decision-making, including in conflict prevention and resolution.
They should mainstream a gender perspective, including the use of gender-
impact assessments, in all stages of policy formulation and decision-
making. They should take into account diverse decision-making styles and
organizational practices and take the necessary steps to ensure a gender-
sensitive workplace, including a workplace free of sexual harassment and
noted for its ability to recruit, promote and retain female staff.
Decision-making structures and processes should be improved to encourage
the participation of women, including women at the grass-roots level.
4. Research, including a gender-impact assessment of electoral systems to
identify measures that would counter the under-representation of women in
decision-making and reverse the downward trend of women in parliaments
worldwide, should be supported.
5. Political parties are urged to remove discriminatory practices,
incorporate gender perspectives into party platforms, and ensure women's
access to executive bodies on an equal basis with men, including access to
leadership positions as well as to appointed positions and electoral
6. Positive action, including such mechanisms as establishing a minimum
percentage of representation for both sexes and/or gender-sensitive
measures and processes, is needed to speed the achievement of gender
equality and can be an effective policy instrument to improve women's
position in sectors and levels where they are under-represented. All
responsible actors in government, the private sector, political parties and
non-governmental organizations should review the criteria and processes
used in recruitment and appointment to advisory and decision-making bodies,
including leadership structures, so as to ensure a comprehensive strategy
to achieve gender equality.
7. Governments should commit themselves to establishing the goal of
gender balance in decision-making, in administration and public
appointments at all levels and in the diplomatic services, inter alia, by
establishing specific time-bound targets.
8. Governments and civil society should promote awareness of gender
issues and call for their consistent mainstreaming in legislation and
9. Governments should examine their own communications and policies to
ensure the projection of positive images of women in politics and public
10. Use of the media both as an image-setting instrument and as a tool to
be more effectively used by women candidates should be further explored.
11. Governments, the private sector, political parties, social partners
and non-governmental organizations should review the criteria and processes
for recruitment and appointment to advisory and decision-making bodies so
as to establish the goal of gender balance. At the same time, the business
sector should take the challenge to optimize business by promoting a gender
balance in the workforce at all levels and to facilitate the reconciliation
of work and personal life.
12. Political parties should be encouraged to fund training programmes in
conducting campaigns, fund-raising and parliamentary procedures to enable
women successfully to run for, be elected to, and serve in public office
and parliament. In order to promote reconciliation of work and personal
life for women and men, structural changes are needed in the work
environment, including flexible working times and meeting arrangements.
13. Governments and the international community should ensure the economic
empowerment, education and training of women to enable them to participate
in power and decision-making.
14. Governments should promote educational programmes in which the girl
child will be prepared to participate in decision-making within the
community as a way to promote her future decision-making capacity in all
spheres of life.
15. Governments and the United Nations system should promote women's
active and equal participation as governmental and non-governmental
representatives, special rapporteurs and envoys in all of the initiatives
and activities of the system, including as mediators for peacekeeping and
16. Governments and bodies and agencies of the United Nations system, as
well as other international organizations, should actively encourage the
sustained participation and equal representation of women and civic
movements in all areas, including decision-making processes related to
conflict prevention, conflict resolution and rehabilitation, with a view to
creating an enabling environment for peace, reconciliation and
reconstruction of their communities.
17. Governments and political parties should actively encourage the
mainstreaming of a gender perspective in politics and power structures
through increasing women's representation in decision-making to a critical
mass in both quantitative and qualitative terms. Alternative approaches
and changes in institutional structures and practices can contribute
significantly to mainstreaming a gender perspective.
18. Governments, political parties and bodies and agencies of the United
Nations system, as well as other international organizations and
non-governmental organizations, should continue to collect and disseminate
data and sex-disaggregated statistics to monitor the representation of
women in government at all levels, in political parties, among social
partners, in the private sector and in non-governmental organizations at
all levels, as well as the participation of women in peace and security.
19. The Secretary-General should ensure full and urgent implementation of
the strategic plan of action for the improvement of the status of women in
the Secretariat (1995-2000) so as to achieve overall gender equality, in
particular at the Professional level and above, by the year 2000. The
Consultative Committee on Administrative Questions (Personnel and General
Administrative Questions) (CCAQ/PER) should continue to monitor and make
concrete recommendations regarding steps being taken in the United Nations
Secretariat to achieve the target of 50 per cent women in managerial and
decision-making positions by the year 2000, as well as steps to achieve
gender balance in the United Nations system as a whole. Consistent with
Article 101 of the Charter of the United Nations, the Secretary-General is
urged to increase the number of women employed in the Secretariat from
countries that are unrepresented or under-represented. The Secretary-
General should be encouraged to appoint a woman to the proposed new
position of Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations as a step in
mainstreaming women in decision-making positions throughout the United
20. International and multilateral agencies should consider ways to
communicate and exchange information throughout the United Nations system,
inter alia, through the convening of workshops and seminars, including at
the managerial level, on best practices and lessons learned for achieving
gender balance in institutions, including accountability mechanisms and
incentives, and mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and
programmes, including bilateral and multilateral assistance.
21. Member States are also encouraged to include women in their
delegations to all United Nations and other conferences, including those
dealing with security, political, economic, trade, human rights and legal
issues, as well as to ensure their representation in all organs of the
United Nations and other bodies such as the international financial
institutions, where women's participation is negligible.
22. Member States are urged to promote gender balance at all levels in
their diplomatic service, including at the ambassadorial level.
23. Representation of women from other under-represented or disadvantaged
groups should be promoted by Governments and by bodies and agencies of the
United Nations system, as well as other international organizations and
non-governmental organizations in decision-making positions and forums.
24. The attention of Governments is drawn to the general recommendation of
the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against
Women on articles 7 and 8 concerning women in public life and decision-
making, to be included in the report of the Committee on its seventeenth
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