The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS
The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women will consider the theme: "The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS" at its 53rd session at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 2-13 March 2009.
As part of efforts to increase its focus on national-level implementation, the Commission will return to this theme in two to three years time to review the implementation of the policy recommendations adopted and to identify remaining gaps and challenges.
The work in the Commission will be guided by two reports of the Secretary-General on the theme: one will identify and discuss key issues in sharing of responsibilities between women and men and suggest policy recommendations; and a second will provide an overview of mainstreaming efforts related to sharing of responsibilities at national level.
In the context of its new working methods, the Commission will begin its consideration of the issue of "The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS" through three interactive activities:
The key elements in the consideration of the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men are: accelerating implementation of previous commitments at national level, including through sharing experiences, lessons learned and good practices; increasing attention to information and data needs; enhancing capacity to mainstream the issue; and identifying further key policy initiatives to move implementation forward.
Following the interactive events in the first week of the Commission, Member States will negotiate the new policy recommendations (agreed conclusions) which are required to accelerate implementation of existing commitments, including those in the Beijing Platform for Action.
As part of preparations for the Commission, the Division for the Advancement of Women will organize an Expert Group Meeting on the theme to access the latest research and practical experience on the theme. The Meeting will be attended by independent experts from all regions of the world. The experts will prepare a report with recommendations for action. The meeting will be held in Geneva at the Economic Commission for Europe from 6-9 October 2008. A number of observers, including representatives of Member States, UN entities, international organizations and NGOs will also attend. The report of the meeting and expert papers will be widely disseminated (including through the website of the Division for the Advancement of Women). The report will be made available at the Commission on the Status of Women and the findings of the Meeting will also be presented at an interactive panel during the Commission.
Prior to the Expert Group Meeting, the Division for the Advancement of Women organized an on-line discussion on the theme, from 7 July to 1 August 2008. The discussion was facilitated by an expert. A total of 1,243 participants from 145 countries registered for the discussion. A total of 340 messages were posted by 147 participants from 67 countries. A report of the discussion will be posted on the DAW website.
A parallel event was organized on the theme during the recent 52nd session of the Commission to support Member States and other stakeholders begin their preparations for the 53rd session. An issues paper, the papers prepared by the panelists, and the moderator's summary are available on the webpage for the 52nd session of the CSW.
The Commission on the Status of Women adopted agreed conclusions on "Child and dependent care, including sharing of work and family responsibilities" in 1996. In addition, the Commission has focused on the equal sharing of responsibilities for women and men and caregiving as part of many of the other priority themes since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. The 53rd session, however, provides a unique opportunity to identify and address critical issues related to sharing of responsibilities.
The large programme of parallel events or activities which will be organized outside the formal programme of the 53rd session of the Commission, provides an excellent opportunity for Member States, UN entities and NGOs to bring critical issues to the fore. The parliamentary meeting convened by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in the context of the Commission will focus on the priority theme. The Commission also provides a unique opportunity to disseminate materials on the theme - either existing materials or new materials developed specifically for this occasion.