Enacting Gender Equality Legislation

 

 

The event was hosted by the IPU and UN Women to highlight the important role of parliamentarians in ending discriminatory laws and implementing legislations that promote gender equality within countries. Recalling both the 1995 Beijing world conference and the ratification by 189 states of the CEDAW, importance was placed upon the urgency of finally realizing gender equality. As Ms. Mensah-Williams noted, it is time that parliaments ensure that women empowerment is both protected as well as promoted throughout their legislation. Parliaments must become gender-sensitive entities. “Let us complete the unfinished business of women empowerment. It can no longer be business as usual.”

Mr. Glemarec noted that only through the attainment of gender equality can a sustainable future be reached. Parliaments can ease this process through passing/reforming legislation, voicing concerns of their constituents, ensuring that gender laws are adequately financed, and holding their governments accountable.

Mr. Claros explained that the World Bank has surveyed through constitutions to examine how countries use their laws to discriminate against women. Of the 173 countries surveyed, only 18 of them had laws across all areas that did not discriminate in some way. Ms. Duncan, shared the launching of a new UN Women database that lists gender equality provisions in constitutions across 195 countries: constitutions.unwomen.org/en.

Ms. Emaase said that KEWOPA has managed to pass and repeal legislation in a male-dominant parliament through lobbying, advocacy, and collaboration. Through the creation of the 2010 Kenyan constitution, KEWOPA has also gained greater voice in parliament.

Mr. Chauvel further highlighted the importance of supervising the gathering of data and statistics at the national level. In achieving the SDGs, it must be ensured that no one is left behind in data reporting. He urged that the economic situation of women be considered holistically and not be compartmentalized.

Meeting: “The Power of Legislation for Women’s Empowerment and Sustainable Development.”

Date/Location: Tuesday, March 15, 2016; 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.; ECOSOC Chamber

Speakers: Ms. M. Mensah-Williams, President of the IPU Coordinating Committee of Women Parliamentarians; Mr. Y. Glemarec, UN Assistant Secretary-General, Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Programme, UN Women; Ms. Y. Hayashi, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women; Mr. A. Lopez Claros, Director, Global Indicators Group, Development Economics, World Bank Group; Ms. Y. Hassan, Global Executive Director, Equality Now; Ms. B. Duncan, Justice and Constitutional Advisor, Leadership and Governance, UN Women; Ms. M.O. Emaase, Member of the National Assembly (Kenya); Mr. C. Chauvel, Team Leader, Inclusive Political Processes, Bureau for Policy and Programmes Support, UNDP

Written By: WIT Representative Emilie Broek

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Planet 50-50, Women’s Empowerment, and the SDGs

This meeting was about the importance of women’s economic empowerment and how they are directly tied with the SDGs. The first speaker, Ms. Susan Shabangu, explained that in order to address gender equality and improve the economy, the South African government is currently focusing on five critical areas: education, outcome and performance, labor markets, property and credits, and changes in poverty inequality. One example she gave of the discrimination that is still very present in South Africa was the marital laws. In South Africa, the banks require the husband’s signature for approval if a woman tries to request a loan. The minister also explained that the president of South Africa, who recently issued a directive to create more jobs for women, also translates this emphasis on the empowerment of women. She concluded with the remark that for gender equality to become a reality, it must be mainstream.

The second speaker was Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. She said that the SDGs are all about the notion of leaving no one behind. Therefore, we need to start with those who are most likely to be left behind, and in most countries they are women. The most crucial thing that women are not able to participate in is finance, so, accordingly, the SDGs are about ensuring that business is done differently, and that we value people differently. She explained that the participation of women is crucial for the economy: there is currently over $28 trillion in the global economy that is being sacrificed because of the challenges that women are currently facing. She also discusses the issue of the wage gap between men and women. The global average is 24 percent, but in some countries it’s as high as 75 percent. After the two speakers, the floor was open for questions.

Meeting: Women’s economic empowerment and the link with the Sustainable Development Goals

Date/Location: Wednesday March 16, 2016, 15:00 –16:15; ECOSOC Chamber

Speakers: Ms. Susan Shabangu, Minister of Women in the Presidency of South Africa; Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Executive Director of UN Women

Written By: WIT Representative Kangho (Paul) Jung

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: Gender Justice (Zambia)

Connecting Young Women Toward a Sustainable Africa

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The Ghana Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa hosted today’s meeting. Established in 2004 as a Women’s Initiative for Empowerment and Leadership Development (WIELD) Foundation, it is a non-profit organization that pursues proactive strategies to develop and empower young women to take on leadership roles in their communities. Despite the increasing potential in Africa, the majority of women still lack access to equal opportunities and resources for leadership development. Ms.Adwoa Bame, the program director and founding member of Moremi Initiative, spoke briefly about the organization’s goals in the future. She stated that the investment in young women’s leadership will provide double dividends to make the world a better place for all, and that the strategies that seek to improve the lives of young women significantly affect the population. In 2009, Moremi Initiative started the process of having young women across the continent come together and meet, to become young women leaders and discuss pertinent issues. This program is known as the Milead fellowship.

After Ms. Bame spoke about the organization, she introduced various young members of Milead Fellowship, who spoke about their passions, goals, and experiences in their countries. The first member was Ms. Hadeye Maiga from Mali, and she discussed her experience as an engineer, and the need for more women engineers. She explained that although engineering work does take a lot of time, she has a strong passion for the field. Another member was Ms. Baba Jackson from Ghana, and she mentioned the importance of support, and encouraging more programs like Milead Fellowship where young women can meet. She noted that the only way we can richer definition of feminism is when we meet new people and experience different perspectives. After various members of the fellowship spoke about their experiences, Ms. Bame gave a closing statement.

Meeting: Enhancing Young Women’s Voices for Women’s Empowerment and Sustainable Development: A Multi-generational Dialogue with Emerging African Women Leaders

Date/Location: Wednesday March 16, 2016, 10:00 –11:15; Conference Room 1

Speakers: Ms. Adwoa Bame, Program Director and Founding Member of Ghana Moremi Initiative; Ms. Hadeye Maiga, Milead Fellowship member from Mali; Ms. Baba Jackson, Milead fellowship member from Ghana; Milead Fellowship member from Botswana; Milead Fellowship member from Kenya; Milead Fellowship member from Uganda; Milead Fellowship from Benin

Written By: WIT Representative Kangho (Paul) Jung

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: Youth Independent

The Introduction of Planet 50-50

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Today, Ms. Falk introduced the agenda for the event concerning making gender equality a reality by 2030, as well as, Ms. Amor, who sang “I Am a Girl.” Then, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon spoke of the need to end harmful practices against women, which was reinforced by H.E. Mr. Lykketoft and Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, who added that concrete steps aiming at further integrating women in politics and in the workforce need to be explored. H.E. Mr. Patriota stressed that CSW needs to work harder to implement gender equality as no country has yet achieved it.  H.E. Ms. Nusseibeh mentioned that central to UAE’s development policy has been focusing on integrating women into politics and urging girls to follow careers in STEM fields.  Next, Ms. Adams spoke of the need to tackle obstacles in financing gender equality, which was reinforced by Ms. Nathan, who mentioned the importance of public-private partnerships in this area.  Then Ms. Ptacek spoke of the need for better education for girls, while Ms. Singh gave her account of being an acid attack survivor.

In the second part of the event, H.E. Ms. Hamamoto mentioned the Gender Champions Initiative, to which over 100 heads of institutions in Geneva have signed gender parity pledges for. Next, Ms. Wainaina, Mr. Drennan, and Ms. Gallach mentioned that their reasons for being advocates for gender equality were rooted in their individual observations of the traditional roles of women in their childhood, in the criminal justice system, and in the field of journalism. Then, Ms. Terada and Dr. Dahlerup respectively spoke of the need to have greater instruments for monitoring the hiring processes at workplaces. Lastly, Ms. Fleming and Ms. Montgomery performed “How Can I Keep From Singing,” which was followed by Ms. Dora, Ms. Greene, Ms. Hardon, Ms. Frasier, and Messrs. Blake’s performance of “One Woman.”

Meeting: International Women’s Day Special Event: “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”

Date/Time/Location: Tuesday, March 8, 2016; 10:00-12:45; Trusteeship Council Chamber

Speakers: Ms. Pamela Falk, Mistress of Ceremonies (MC), United Nations (UN) Resident Correspondent, and CBS News, TV, and Radio Correspondent; Ms. Tennille Amor, Singer; Secretary-General (SG) Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General (SG) of the United Nations (UN); His Excellency (H.E.) Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA); Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women); His Excellency (H.E.) Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations (UN) and Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW); Her Excellency (H.E.) Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the United Nations (UN); Ms. Barbara Adams, Chair of the Board of the Global Policy Forum (GPF); Ms. Tara Nathan, Executive Vice President for Public-Private Partnerships at MasterCard; Ms. Fátima Ptacek, Youth Activist and the Voice of “Dora the Explorer”; Ms. Monica Singh, Activist and Acid Attack Survivor; Ms. Renée Fleming, Opera Singer; Ms. Jessie Montgomery, Violinist, Music Composer, and Educator at the Albany Symphony Orchestra; Her Excellency (H.E.) Pamela Hamamoto, Permanent Representative of the United States (U.S.) to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva; Ms. Carole Wainaina, the United Nations (UN) Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Human Resources (HR); Mr. Peter Thomas Drennan, United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General  (USG) for Safety and Security; Ms. Cristina Gallach, United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Communications and Public Information; Ms. Saori Terada, Adviser for Gender Integration to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); Dr. Drude Dahlerup, Professor of Political Science at Stockholm University; Ms Andrea Dora, Ms. Alexa Greene, Ms. Imari Hardon, Ms. Ann Frasier, Mr. Thomas Blake, and Mr. William Blake (Broadway Singers)

Written By: WIT Representative Shubhangi Shukla

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: 50/50 x 2020

 

Mind The Gap: Bridging Gender Pay Divides

Ms Dininage’s opening discussion focused on what business can do to ensure there’s no gender pay gap, which is the percentage in difference between male and female average earnings. Mckinsey estimates 0.6 trillion pounds extra in UK’s GDP if that pay gap could be bridged. Women often end up in occupations that are narrow in scope – too many hairdressers, not enough engineers – so the key is getting girls into these high-paid sectors. Businesses also need to make sure they have programs in place to retrain and keep maternity leave workers, and to get away from this “culture of presenteeism”, where people are judged by how many hours they are at their desk rather than the work they do. The UK aims to eliminate gender pay gap within a generation, and so will require greater efforts of transparency. Businesses with over 250 employees will be required to publish their pay and bonus gap data. 30 hours of free childcare per week will also be mandated.

Ms. Kiviniemi offered a presentation showing that there are more working women in OECD countries than at any point in history. The price of motherhood is often too high, due to childcare, work interruptions, and lower wages. The Average pay gap is 22% in families with one children, compared with 7% in couples with no children. Unequal sharing of family responsibilities, wage-sharing policies and union coverage, and discrimination are factors that affect the pay gap to some degree. OECD recommends employment-protected well-paid maternity leave to working parents (especially fathers), more access to food, and affordable childcare and long-term care, as the lack of these frequently reduces the amount of time women are available to work. We must encourage women towards leadership roles.

Meeting: The Gender Pay Gap: What is it, why does it still exist and how do we get rid of it?

Date/Time/Location: Tuesday, March 15, 2016; 10:00 – 11:30; Conference Room B

Speakers: Ms. Helene Reardon Bond, Deputy Director Head of Gender Equality, Government Equalities Office; Ms. Caroline Dininage, Prime Minister for Women in the United Kingdom Government; Ms. Louise McSorley, Head, Office for Women, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Australia;  Ms. Mari Kiviniemi, Deputy Secretary-General of OECD; Ms. Emer Timmons, President, British Telecom (BT) Global Services, UK

Written By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick