strategy

Improving status of women

Synonyms:
Advancing situation of women
Enhancing role of women
Recognizing participation of women in society
Building capacity for advancement of women
Women's liberation
Advancing status of women
Improving women's status
Emancipating women
Liberating women
Description:

Freeing females from the social, institutional and personal domination of males. Promoting the rights and status of women through political and economic empowerment and legal protection against abuse.

Context:

There are significant differences in terms of the involvement of women and men in family life, the tasks they perform and the responsibilities they assume. When women are assigned a lower status than men, they may have less access to education, training, employment and ultimately, less income earning capacity. A woman's contribution as unpaid caregiver and home-maker may not be as highly valued as that of her male partner as a paid employee, yet women and fils are frequently required to take full responsibility for child car and household work, which may restrict their access to education and paid employment. In many parts of the world, women continue to bear most of the responsibility for the upbringing of children caring for other family members and carrying out household work, even when they engage in gainful employment. In addition, men generally fare better in almost every socio-economic indicator: women and girls work longer hours than men; their nutritional and health status is lower because they receive less food and medical care; and they get less than their fair share of the family's income and have limited control or none at all over income property or assets.

Implementation:

This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.

The 1984 International Conference on Population resolved that, "Institutional, economic and cultural barriers must be removed, and broad and swift action taken to assist women in attaining full equality with men in the social, political and economic life of their communities". The Conference particularly urged governments to formulate and implement concrete policies which would enhance the status and role of women.

The 30th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women of the UN Economic and Social Council, Vienna, February 1984, reviewed and appraised strategies which included the following: Developing a comprehensive policy regarding the concerns of women; expanding technical cooperation activities which ensure women's full and equal participation as agents and as beneficiaries; enhancing the entrepreneurial and technological capacity of women, particularly in cooperative and non-traditional sectors and in developing countries; promoting attention to women's needs on a multisectoral and interdisciplinary basis at the planning stages of overall national economic and social development; formulating appropriate projects or project additions and otherwise engaging in special activities in response to particular opportunities and needs related to the integration of women in development; special training arrangements for women built around existing project training and future employment opportunities; assistance in institutional changes to enhance the participation of women in decision-making; improving statistics and indicators on the situation of women; strengthening national capabilities through training and institutional change; drawing attention to specific results of activities related to women, especially in terms of their linkages and contributions to overall development. Three categories of activity are suggested to further these strategies: seminars on matters related to their work programmes; fellowships for women involved in activities designed for the advancement of women; advisory services of experts, particularly to follow-up results of work programmes.

In 1988 ECOSOC affirmed the interrelationship of the objectives of the UN Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace as regards the advancement of women and their full integration in political, economic, social and cultural development and that the objectives of the Decade, in conformity with the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, should remain in effect in the operational strategies for the advancement of women to the year 2000. A system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of women was initiated for the period 1996-2001.

The role, status and participation of women will not be enhanced without concerted and committed efforts in education, employment and social and economic activities. The following set of interrelated measures was recommended for the 1990s in a report of the United Nations Population Fund, 1989: reducing female illiteracy, which averages almost 50 per cent in the developing countries as a whole; expanding girls' enrollment in schools and keeping them in the school system; raising the age at first marriage for females; providing income-generating opportunities for women; securing women's legal and social rights to free marriage, land ownership, and paid employment; and securing easy access to methods of birth spacing and fertility limitation.

Claim:

Women are at a disadvantage with regard to the enjoyment of their rights, despite the whole-hearted acknowledgement of non-discrimination, sometimes actually written into national legislatures. There are still legal provisions in some cases which are unfavourable to women, and there is still a wide gap between de jure and de facto equality. Improving the status of women and enhancing their role in society and development, are not only important goals in themselves, but also because of their positive influence on family life, family size and demographic transition. Political commitment and community participation are essential to promote the full integration and participation of women into all phases and functions of the development process.

Counter Claim:

Males depend upon women in a secondary position for security and services.

Constrains:
Subjugating women
Subjects:
Women
Participation
Construction
Reform
Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies