unctad.org | Women's Economic Empowerment and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
Women's Economic Empowerment and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
 
Within the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), MDG 1 - "Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger" - includes a gender-specific target, namely "Achieve, full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people" (Target 1.B).
 
Target 1.B was included in 2005 in recognition that employment and decent work are legitimate goals in their own right and may not be achieved automatically as a result of economic growth. Decent work comprises four interrelated and mutually supportive pillars: employment, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue.
 
MDG 3 - "Promote gender equality and empower women" - includes a specific reference to women's economic empowerment. Under MDG3, the indicator on the share of women in wage employment in non-agricultural sectors assesses the extent to which women are integrated in the economy through remunerated employment in the formal sector.
 
Wage employment is linked to trade since women's integration into formal labour markets is often the result of job creation due to trade expansion. The other indicator within MDG 3 that refers to eliminating gender disparity at all levels of education is also indirectly linked to women's economic empowerment. Women who are more educated are in a better position to benefit from globalization and trade liberalization by having the skills sought by integrated markets. They are also in a better position to contribute to the economic growth of their countries.
 
MDG 8 - "Develop a global partnership for development" - promotes cooperation on development assistance and debt sustainability and the further development of trade and financial systems. Under MDG 8, the indicators that refer to ensuring market access for developing and least developed countries, especially for agricultural products, textiles and clothing, have an indirect gender component since women represent a high share of the workforce in those sectors.
 
Another indicator of MDG 8 "Access to essential drugs" affects women's access to health and greatly depends on trade arrangements and issues of intellectual property rights. Similarly, the MDG 8 indicator related to universal access to new information and communication technologies contains both gender-related and trade-related dimensions.
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