United Nations

E/1997/27 CSW

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 1997/3.  Women and the economy*

     Governments, international organizations and the private sector should
recognize the contributions women make to economic growth through their
paid and unpaid work and as employers, employees and entrepreneurs.  They
should adopt the following:

1.   Governments, international organizations, the private sector,
non-governmental organizations, social partners (employers' organizations
and labour unions) should adopt a systematic and multifaceted approach to
accelerating women's full participation in economic decision-making at all
levels and ensure the mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the
implementation of economic policies, including economic development
policies and poverty eradication programmes.  To this end, Governments are
urged to enhance the capacity of women to influence and make economic
decisions as paid workers, managers, employers, elected officials, members
of non-governmental organizations and unions, producers, household managers
and consumers.  Governments are encouraged to conduct a gender analysis of
policies and programmes that incorporates information on the full range of
women's and men's paid and unpaid economic activity.  Governments,
international organizations, particularly the International Labour
Organization (ILO), the private sector and non-governmental organizations,
should develop and share case studies and best practices of gender analysis
in policy areas that affect the economic situation of women.

2.   In order to ensure women's empowerment in the economy and their
economic advancement, adequate mobilization of resources at the national
and international levels, as well as new and additional resources to the
developing countries from all available funding mechanisms, including
multilateral, bilateral and private sources, for the advancement of women,
will also be required.

3.   Governments should promote and support the elimination of biases in
the educational system so as to counteract the gender segregation of the
labour market, enhance the employability of women, and effectively improve
women's skills and broaden women's access to career choices, in particular
in science, new technologies and other potential and innovative areas of
expansion in terms of employment.

4.   Economic policies and structural adjustment programmes, including
liberalization policies, should include privatization, financial and trade
policies, should be formulated and monitored in a gender-sensitive way,
with inputs from the women most impacted by these policies, in order to
generate positive results for women and men, drawing on research on the
gender impact of macroeconomic and micro-economic policies.  Governments
should ensure, inter alia, that macroeconomic policies, including financial
and public sector reforms, and employment generation, are gender-sensitive
and friendly to small-scale and medium-sized enterprises.  Local-level
regulations and administrative arrangements should be conducive to women
entrepreneurs.  It is the responsibility of Governments to ensure that
women are not discriminated against in times of structural change and
economic recession.

5.   Governments should ensure that women's rights, particularly those of
rural women and women living in poverty, are being promoted and implemented
through their equal access to economic resources, including land, property
rights, right to inheritance, credit and traditional savings schemes, such
as women's banks and cooperatives.

6.   The international community should actively support national efforts
for the promotion of microcredit schemes that ensure women's access to
credit, self-employment and integration into the economy.

7.   Microcredit schemes should be supported and monitored in order to
evaluate their efficiency in terms of their impact on increasing women's
economic empowerment and well-being, income-earning capacity and
integration into the economy.

8.   Governments, the private sector and those organizations in civil
society that provide training services that promote a gender balance in
terms of education and participation in economic activity, should focus on
institutional capacity-building and consciousness-raising as well as on
improving and upgrading technical skills, including business and management
skills and the use of new technologies.  Local and traditional technologies
and products based on women's knowledge should also be supported and

9.   Non-governmental organizations and women's organizations should
develop incentives for outstanding women entrepreneurs.  It is important
that Governments, financial institutions, non-governmental organizations,
civil society, women's organizations and other relevant actors promote
women's entrepreneurial and self-employed activities through technical
assistance services or programmes; information on markets; training; the
creation of networks, including those at the regional and international
levels; and adequate financial support; and where appropriate, by
developing incentives.  In order to strengthen the link between sustainable
development and poverty eradication, such encouragement and support should
extend to businesses owned by women in environmental, resource-based and
export-oriented industries.

10.  To secure a critical mass of women's participation in top decision-
making positions, Governments should implement and monitor anti-
discriminatory laws.  The public administration and the private sector
should comply with these laws and introduce changes to corporate
structures.  Positive or affirmative action can be an effective policy
instrument for improving the position of women in sectors and levels of the
economy where they are under-represented.  Governments should stimulate
employers to introduce objective and transparent procedures for
recruitment, gender-sensitive career planning, and monitoring and
accountability systems.

11.  Social partners (labour unions and employers' organizations) and
non-governmental organizations should consider monitoring and publicizing
the enterprises and organizations that take initiatives for the advancement
of women and publicizing information on the companies that violate anti-
discrimination laws.

12.  Governments should intensify their efforts to implement the actions
identified in the Beijing Platform for Action15/15/ for the elimination of
occupational segregation and all forms of employment discrimination.  In
that regard, the security of women's employment and the conditions for
their reintegration into the labour market need to be the subject of
special attention.  Due consideration should also be given to women in the
informal sector and atypical jobs.

13.  Governments, labour unions and the private sector should develop and
use analytical tools to compare wages in female and male-dominated
occupations, including measures and tools to better reflect the real value
of the skills, knowledge and experience of women developed through waged
and unwaged work, as well as the full range of the requirements and
conditions of waged work, with the aim of achieving equal pay for work of
equal value, with a particular focus on minimum wages and low-wage
industries.  Gender-sensitive monitoring is crucial in enforcing the
principle of equal pay for work of equal value.  Comprehensive policy-
making in this field should include:

     (a)  Use of analytical tools;

     (b)  Effective legislation;

     (c)  Transparency of women's and men's wages;

     (d)  Changing the gender-based division of labour and the stereotyped
choices of men and women;

     (e)  Effective guidance for employers.

14.  Governments are encouraged to develop strategies to increase the well-
being of low-waged workers, including enforcement of existing laws in
particular in those industries where the most vulnerable workers,
predominantly women, are found.

15.  Full integration of women into the formal economy and, in particular
into economic decision-making, means changing the current gender-based
division of labour into new economic structures where women and men enjoy
equal treatment, pay and power.  To this end, better sharing of paid and
unpaid work between women and men is required.  Governments should take or
encourage measures, including, where appropriate, the formulation,
promotion and implementation of legal and administrative measures to
facilitate the reconciliation of work and personal and/or family life, such
as child and dependant care, parental leave and flexible working schemes
for men and women and, where appropriate, shorter working hours.  

16.  Governments should consider ratifying the new ILO Convention on home-
based workers.

17.  Governments and employers should ensure the protection of the rights
of migrant women workers, by creating better educational and employment
opportunities, preventing and combating trafficking in women and children,
and eliminating discrimination against women in the labour market.

18.  Governments should monitor and enforce equal opportunity policies and
labour laws pertaining to the practices of all of the national and
transnational corporations operating in their countries.

19.  Women and men should identify and support women-friendly corporations
and socially responsible businesses through investments and the use of
their services or products.

20.  The unpaid work of women, such as work in agriculture, food
production, voluntary work, work in family business, and work in natural
resource management and in the household, is a considerable contribution to
the economy.  Unpaid work should be measured and valued through existing
and improved mechanisms, including by:

     (a)  Measuring, in quantitative terms, unremunerated work that is
outside national accounts, working to improve methods to assess its value,
and accurately reflecting its value in satellite or other official accounts
that are separate from but consistent with core national accounts;

     (b)  Conducting regular time-use studies to measure, in quantitative
terms, unremunerated work;

     (c)  Providing resources and technical assistance to developing
countries and countries with economies in transition, in valuing and making
visible women's unpaid work.

21.  The international community, in particular the creditor countries and
international financial institutions, including the Bretton Woods
institutions, should further pursue effective, equitable, development-
oriented and durable solutions to the external debt and debt-servicing
problems of the developing countries on the basis of existing debt relief
and reduction mechanisms, including debt reduction, grants and concessional
financial flows, in particular for the least developed countries, taking
into account the negative effect of these issues on women and women's

22.  The funds, programmes and specialized agencies of the United Nations
system, including the Bretton Woods institutions, and the World Trade
Organization, within their respective mandates, should improve coordination
and dialogue at all levels, including the field level, in order to ensure
the effectiveness of their programmes and policies to support gender

23.  Development policies should focus on the economic empowerment of
women.  The interlinkage between national policies at the macrolevel and
economic and social gender roles and relations at the microlevel should be
clear in order to make the policies more effective.  The impact on women of
liberalization policies, which include privatization, financial and trade
policies, should be assessed.

24.  Governments should commit themselves to the goal of gender balance,
with special emphasis on reaching a critical mass of women, as soon as
possible, when nominating representatives to serve on governing bodies of
the organizations of the United Nations system and intergovernmental bodies
dealing with policy-making in the areas of finance, economic development,
trade and commerce (for example, the Fifth Committee and Second Committee
of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the Trade and
Development Board, the Industrial Development Board and the General Council
of the World Trade Organization).

25.  The production and use of disaggregated statistics by sex should be
promoted as a fundamental tool for monitoring the gender division of the
labour market and the participation of women in high-level management
positions, including economic decision-making, showing the advantages of
women's participation in top management and conversely the costs of their
exclusion.  With regard to the United Nations system, a special data
section on women managers should be part of the 1998 synthesis report and
the report on the status of the world's women.  This could serve as a
special mechanism for monitoring how gender-balance goals are being

26.  Issues such as the impact on women of structural adjustment and
liberalization policies, which include privatization, financial and trade
policies, should be further examined and could be taken up in the context
of the report of the Secretary-General on the effective mobilization and
integration of women in development, to be considered by the General
Assembly at its fifty-second session.

27.  The international community, while strengthening international
cooperation, should emphasize the importance of an open, rule-based,
equitable, secure, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable
multilateral trading system that will also ensure the equal access of women
to markets and technologies and resources at both the national and
international levels.



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Date last updated: 06 December 1999 by DESA/DAW
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