Gender equality remains the greatest human rights challenge. Economic empowerment is a uniquely potent way for women to achieve greater control over their own lives. Inclusive growth cannot occur without their full participation.
The gap between women’s and men’s labour force participation is 26%, while women spend 2.5 times more time performing unpaid care and domestic work than men. Globally, women on average are paid 24% less than men. Moreover, 75% of women’s employment in developing regions is informal and unprotected.
With globalization, technological and digital revolution and the opportunities they bring, the growing informality of labour, unstable livelihoods and incomes, new fiscal and trade policies and environmental impacts all of which must be addressed in the context of women’s economic empowerment.
"Women's economic empowerment is a game - changer for development. We should leave no one behind for the 2030 Agenda", said United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Mukhisa Kituyi at the eve of the international women's day.
Achievement of the goals, including ending poverty, promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, reducing inequalities within and between countries, and achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, rests upon unlocking the full potential of women in the world of work.
"To get to the future with substantive change and accomplish the 2030 Agenda, we will have to drastically change the current situation and encourage for substantive equality at all levels", added Dr. Kituyi
Measures that are key to ensuring women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work must include bridging the gender pay gap, which stands at 24% globally; recognizing women’s unpaid care and domestic work and addressing the gender deficit in care work; as well as addressing the gender gaps in leadership, entrepreneurship and access to social protection; and ensuring gender-responsive economic policies for job creation, poverty reduction and sustainable, inclusive growth.
Additionally, policies must count for the overwhelming majority of women in the informal economy, promote women’s access to innovative technologies and practices, decent work and climate-resilient jobs and protect women from violence in the work place.
In July 2016, The Nairobi Maafikiano mandated UNCTAD to continue its efforts in all its work to mainstream cross-cutting issues of gender equality and the empowerment of women, recognizing that gender equality and women’s empowerment are essential to all countries to attain sustainable and equitable growth and development.