The Gender & Development Network has been calling on governments to take action to promote women's economic empowerment, both in the context of the High Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment and the forthcoming Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61).
Within this framework, we have released two new briefings on this topic:
- Stepping up: How governments can contribute to women’s economic empowerment
- Sharing the load: Unpaid care work and women’s economic empowerment
Government economic policy shapes women’s lives, and could be a force for equality, yet too often this potential is not realised. In Stepping up, we argue that governments must play a central role in achieving women’s economic empowerment; that their priority should be to tackle the underlying barriers to economic empowerment, particularly those faced by marginalised women; and that it is in the area of economic policy that government action will have most transformative impact.
We briefly examine the CSW61 theme of the changing world of work, then consider macroeconomic policy, decent work, unpaid care, corporate accountability and women's voices in decision making. Our report concludes with specific recommendations that governments can take - at CSW in March or beyond - to promote the economic empowerment of all women.
The recommendations are also available to view separately.
Unpaid care work, performed mostly by women around the world, is a key piece of the empowerment puzzle: it entrenches the subordination of women in society but, at the same time, it is indispensable for economic growth and human wellbeing. In Sharing the load, we outline key recommendations to governments around unpaid care work:
- Include unpaid care work in national accounts and in the calculation of GDP.
- Commission gender impact assessments of macroeconomic policies and budgets.
- Invest in time- and labour-saving technologies in care and domestic work as appropriate for the most marginalised women in urban and rural areas.
- Invest in gender-responsive infrastructure like public transportation, roads, home electricity and water, and well-lit public spaces.
- Increase the provision of publically funded education, health and care services.
- Provide comprehensive universal social protection regardless of employment status.
- Challenge social norms that portray unpaid care work as “women’s work”.
- Include carers in economic decision-making and policy design.
Both briefings are part of GADN's Gender Equality and Macroeconomics Project.