UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] announced [press release] Thursday that he is creating the first high-level panel to address women’s economic empowerment initiatives. The panel’s goal is to create a plan of action for nations and private sector businesses to implement in order to improve women’s rights by achieving economic agency for women all over the globe in accordance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development [text, PDF]. The panel comes after the UN has found that despite several studies showing the economic importance of women in sustaining a country’s viable economy, women are still at a disadvantage in most countries:
Women spend more than twice as much time on unpaid care and domestic work as men and women on average are paid 24 per cent less than men globally for the same work. Moreover, 75 per cent of women’s employment in developing regions is informal and unprotected. These gaps constrain women’s rights and hinder economic growth and productivity. Significantly scaled up actions and political will are required to ensure that governments, development organizations and others invest in the economic empowerment of women for the benefit of whole societies.
The panel plans to focus on growing opportunities for women in leadership roles, tackling pay gender gaps and creating avenues for employment.
Despite international efforts to educate communities [JURIST op-ed] and protect women’s rights to be free from discrimination, women still face inequality worldwide that is frequently due to a lack of governmental support. In September the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] stated [press release] that no country has achieved full equality between men and women and urged [JURIST report] the 47 members of the Human Rights Council to make efforts to achieve such equality. JURIST Guest Columnist Makousse Ilboudo recently noted [JURIST op-ed] that hundreds of pregnant immigrant detainees are held in centers with inadequate medical care without access to legal resources. Earlier this month Gambia’s parliament [official website] approved [JURIST report] a bill banning female genital mutilation (FGM) and setting high penalties of imprisonment and fines for offenders.