Commission on the Status of Women
As the largest annual UN gathering on gender equality and women’s empowerment, the Commission on the Status of Women in 2017 showcased growing global support for breaking the barriers to gender equality. It sent the world a powerful unified message on the theme of women in the workplace and the broader economy: the right to work and all rights at work must be upheld. Widely diverse participants came from 162 UN Member States, with 89 representatives at the ministerial level. Nearly 4,000 civil society representatives attended from 138 countries.
The Commission’s Agreed Conclusions outline a global plan of action with a series of strategic enablers to tear down obstacles to women’s economic empowerment, which will otherwise impede progress towards the global goals.
Member States pledged to implement equal pay policies and use measures such as collective bargaining and gender pay audits. With new employment options emerging through rapid technological change, they underscored the need to extend relevant education and training to women. Member States also emphasized the need for women’s full access to economic and productive resources as measures to overcome occupational segregation. They called for both women and men to have access to paid parental leave, and for legal and policy frameworks to take a strong stand on ending workplace sexual harassment.
For the first time, the Commission held substantive discussions on the transition of informal and domestic workers into the formal economy, with agreement on promoting decent work and paid care, increasing social protection, providing wages that guarantee an adequate standard of living, and ensuring safe working conditions. Stressing recognition of the rights and contributions of all women, the Commission emphasized policies to promote the empowerment of specific groups of women, such as migrant, indigenous and rural women, and women with disabilities.