Promote Women in Power and Decision-Making
6 September - 15 October 1999
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Working Group Summaries
About the Working Group
In 1995, the Fourth World Conference on Women agreed upon a Platform
for Action, which declared that "Women's equal participation in
decision-making is not only a demand for simple justice or democracy
but can also be seen as a necessary condition for women's interests to
be taken into account. Without the active participation of women and
incorporation of women's perspectives at all levels of
decision-making, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot
The Beijing Platform for Action defined two strategic objectives on
the issue of women's participation in power and decision-making:
- Ensure that women have equal access to and full participation in
structures of power and decision-making.
- Increase women's capacity to participate in decision-making and
The Beijing Conference has created a new momentum and emphasized the
importance of addressing the issue of women's participation in power
and decision-making bodies. After Beijing many countries included this
area of concern in their immediate priorities and developed national
policies and programmes.
The Promote Women In Power and Decision-making Working Group will
discuss whether these objectives of the Platform for Action have been
realized. The Working Group will focus on the following questions:
- What progress has there been since Beijing in involving women in
- What are the key social, economic, political and cultural
obstacles to women's participation in decision making?
- What actions should be taken by governments, civil society,
including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, and
women themselves, to improve their participation in decision-making
structures and processes?
- How does the participation of women in international, national,
regional or local decision-making process make a difference?
The Working Group will meet 6 September - 15 October 1999. We propose
to organize the discussion around two key themes:
- Women's equal access to and full participation in structures of
power and decision-making.
- Has there been any progress in creating gender balance in
governmental bodies and organizations?
- Are there any success stories in implementing the affirmative action
policy, introducing targets and quotas?
- What measures are being taken to promote and protect women's
- Is there is a recognition of the importance of shared work and
parental responsibilities between men and women and its relevance to
the promotion of women's increased participation in public life?
- Are there any policies and initiatives that are helping women to
reconcile family and professional responsibilities?
- Measures to increase women's capacity to participate in
decision-making and leadership.
- Has there been any progress in training women to be leaders and to
increase their self-esteem?
- Are there any outstanding examples of gender-awareness training to
promote non-discriminatory working relations and respect for diversity
in work and management styles?
- Are there any mechanisms that facilitate women's participation in
the electoral process, political activities and other leadership
- What are the future challenges?
We look forward to discussing and sharing your experiences and ideas
for promoting women in power and decision-making. We would also like
to include particularly innovative examples in UNIFEM's publication,
"Progress of the World's Women", a new biennial report examining
women's progress towards empowerment and gender equality. Join the
exchange and provide your input!
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