\'Women\'s Empowerment\': Ambiguous Term Or Effective Call To Action?

We, the Leaders of the G7, met in Taormina and agreed to adopt this Roadmap. In line with the principles endorsed in the Taormina Declaration, this Roadmap focuses on the structural policies falling within our central governments’ jurisdiction that are likely to have the greatest impact in delivering gender equality through enabling women’s labor force participation, entrepreneurship, economic empowerment and thus their full and equal participation in society.

We note the outcomes of the previous G7 Presidencies, in particular the Elmau and Ise-Shima Leaders’ Declarations, and the relevant international frameworks, notably the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome documents of its review conferences, the global call to action of the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel for Women’s Economic Empowerment, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We also appreciate the voices heard from the third sector and civil society at the W7 Forum – Starting from Girls.

1) Increasing women’s participation and promoting equal opportunities and fair selection processes for leadership at all levels of decision-making

1a. Promote policies that enhance women’s participation and leadership in all aspects of social, economic, and political life. Concerned that, in all countries, including the G7,women’s participation in political, economic and public life remains uneven, we decide to:

- Recommend that G7 countries take action to increase the representation of women in all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life by 2022.

- Encourage the private sector to value women’s active role in private companies by developing positive actions, such as leadership trainings and gender equality labels/certifications, and promoting role models.

- Encourage a more balanced representation of women in G7 delegations, namely among Sherpas, as well as in G7 working groups and the whole staff working on G7 in respective administrations.

1b. Promote women’s entrepreneurship. Reaffirming that greater levels of female participation in entrepreneurship contributes to innovation, job creation and economic growth, we commit to:

- Consider adopting concrete sustainable measures by 2022 to promote and facilitate women entrepreneurs’ increased access to credit and equity through different means, such as, where appropriate, guarantee funds and incentives, as well as secured transaction reform, especially in the start-up stage.

- Invest in awareness campaigns aimed at informing women about existing resources, networks and other measures for the promotion of female entrepreneurship set up by Governments and other public and private stakeholders and at presenting role models for women entrepreneurs by 2020.

- Take sustainable measures at the appropriate level to provide training, mentoring and networking opportunities that specifically address the capacity-building needs of women entrepreneurs by 2020.

- Intensify our efforts and consider strengthening the mainstreaming of gender equality and women’s rights and empowerment in our external action and programs targeting economic and productive sectors, and in development cooperation policies.

2) Strengthening the foundation of women’s access to decent and quality jobs

2a. Remain committed to reducing the gap in labor force participation rates between women and men by 25% by 2025 through boosting female participation, improving the quality of employment and enhancing gender equity. Recognize the negative impact of women’s lower labor market participation on earnings, pension gaps and retirement savings as well as on their economic independence. While recognizing that women are often employed in lower paying jobs, as well as in jobs pertaining to the social sphere, and in the informal economy, we commit to:

- Making a concrete effort to promote the employment of women in high skilled and higher paying sectors, especially those in which they are underrepresented.

2b. Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work and its estimated contribution to the economy. Aware that formal sector economy often relies upon the unpaid care economy/domestic work, which is disproportionately shouldered by women and girls, we decide to:

- Bring together the contribution of many institutions (including national statistics offices, UN, OECD, IMF, WB, ILO and the European Commission) to agree on a shared methodology for measuring unpaid domestic and care work and its value. Italy’s National Statistics Institute will be tasked with the launching of such a coordination exercise. As part of the contributions to the development of the abovementioned shared methodology, we :

- Request that the OECD update and disseminate its existing national accounts estimates of unpaid household activities in G7 countries by the end of 2017, taking into account ongoing work at national and international levels on Valuing Unpaid Household Service Work and Time Use Surveys, and in line with the 19th International Conference on Labor Statisticians (ICLS) Resolution on Work Statistics.

- Request that the ILO pursue its labor force survey (LFS) pilot work program with the aim of producing guidelines to support the G7 and all countries with the implementation of the 19th ICLS Resolution on Work Statistics by 2018.

- Assess the opportunity to request that those international organizations responsible for national accounts standards make this approach more prominent inside this framework and promote the ongoing production of these figures, also in the context of measuring progress towards Sustainable Development Goals.

- Create an awareness-raising campaign to increase recognition of the overwhelming burden of care work that women and girls carry, promote the fair distribution of care responsibilities between women and men by 2020, and highlight the impact of women’s lower labor market participation on earnings, pension gaps and retirement savings.

2c. Invest in social infrastructure to support households’ care for children and other dependents. Recognizing that social infrastructure, namely the interdependent mix of facilities, places, spaces, programs, projects, services and networks that maintain and improve the standard of living and quality of life in a community and include healthcare facilities and services, education facilities, recreation grounds, as well as programs, resources, services, and community and cultural development, play an essential role in easing the burden of unpaid work and in enabling women to be part of the formal labor market, we will:

- Consider, where appropriate, mainstreaming gender equality in the process of conceiving, planning, approving, executing, monitoring, analyzing and auditing budgets, with a view to re-prioritizing social policies and infrastructures.

- Implement gender mainstreaming and take concrete actions to implement and improve gender-responsive policies, programs and regulations.

- Optimize the impact and/or increase the amount of available resources devoted to social infrastructures and services, promote public-private partnerships, and make such services more affordable for everyone, all while taking into account each country’s cyclical position and available policy space.

2d. Invest in health, well-being and nutrition to promote women’s and girls’ full economic empowerment and crucial role as agents for change. We recognize that the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is critical to women’s and girls’ social, political and economic empowerment. As such, we will:

- Raise awareness and support the adoption of good health and nutrition practices to enhance women’s economic participation, improve health literacy and education for women and adolescents, promote women’s and adolescents’ rights related to health and health care, and enhance women’s participation in decision-making at all levels as well as in policy formulation processes affecting their health and well-being.

- Support increased access to the full range of services, accurate information related to women’s and adolescents’ health and healthcare, and decision-making on their health and well-being as a means to promote gender equality and the realization of the human rights of all women and girls.

2e. Develop a new gender-sensitive and multidimensional analysis of poverty and mainstream gender equality in the development of anti-poverty strategies and all other economic, social and environmental policies. Acknowledging that a gender-sensitive multidimensional poverty measure could provide a valuable contribution to gender statistics in G7 countries by highlighting the interlinkages between gender and poverty, empowerment and inequality, and by spotlighting the main reasons for poverty and social exclusion, we decide to:

- Bring together relevant national, regional and international experts to discuss the possible conceptual framework of a new gender-sensitive multidimensional analysis of poverty including the effects of the global economic crisis on female employment. The discussions will take place during 2017 and the first results will be presented to G7 countries in 2018.

- Encourage and support international partnerships with a view to strengthening statistical capacity, data production and analysis through innovative methodologies on women’s capacity to participate in, contribute to and benefit from economic growth processes (women’s agency).

- Strengthen the availability of sex and age disaggregated data and information to acquire a detailed understanding of where and how health inequities occur, who is affected, and what barriers prevent different groups from accessing essential health services.

- Step up efforts to address the gender inequality dimension of poverty in all policies and measures to reduce poverty, through gender mainstreaming in the preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of impacts of policies on women and men.

- Foster synergies between anti-poverty strategies and other economic and social policies such as employment, taxation, family, health care and elderly care and housing policies. The multifaceted reality of poverty requires complementarity between different policies.

- Put intersecting inequalities at the forefront of the discussions on the measures and solutions out of poverty, giving particular attention to, inter alia, age, disability, race, ethnicity, religion, family composition as the factors impacting on the social status of women.

2f. Develop comprehensive work-life balance and equal pay policies and measures. Recognizing that women are often employed in precarious employment and that the abovementioned policies and measures – such as paid leave, working arrangements that are flexible over lifetimes, childcare and long-term care, and pay transparency measures – can play a critical role in enhancing the participation of parents, especially women, in the labor market, we are determined to:

- Combat precarious employment, upgrade the conditions of work and encourage private, state-owned companies and public employers to take measures to facilitate the reconciliation of work and care responsibilities for both women and men, and to increase efforts to reduce the gender pay gap.

- Encourage companies to endorse flexible working arrangements and family-friendly measures in the workplace for both women and men, for example by means of certification schemes and/or financial measures.

- Facilitate the reconciliation of work, family and private life for both women and men by promoting the equal division of care and domestic tasks among women and men, as well as girls and boys, and by seeking to enhance access for fathers and mothers to parental or family leave, where existing. Consider adopting measures that support an increased uptake by fathers of parental leave, by 2025.

- In cooperation with social partners and relevant international organizations (i.e. ILO), consider mapping the most relevant sectors where gender wage gap is more prominent in G7 countries by 2019. This information will help develop more informed and targeted public policies to boost women’s participation in the labor market and their stable and equal employment status and career progression.

2g. Promote participation by girls and women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM). Acknowledging that the area of digital, scientific and technological skills is still one in which women and girls are under-represented, that such skills are an important requirement for many decent, high-paying jobs in today’s economy, and based on the results achieved through previous G7 efforts, including the Women’s Initiative in Developing STEM Career (WINDS), we remain committed to:

- Raising awareness among young women and men, parents, teachers, educational institutions and employers about gender-stereotypical attitudes towards performances in academia and apprenticeship programs with a view to encouraging more women and girls to study STEMM and start vocational education and training as well as careers in these sectors by 2020.

- Consider developing, funding and implementing specific programs that target universities and research institutes aimed at removing barriers that generate discrimination against women in scientific or academic careers and decision-making.

- Supporting universities and research institutes, as appropriate, in the integration of the gender dimension in university courses and curricula, as well as in research and innovation contents. Strengthen the collaboration between universities, research institutes and the private sector.

3) Eliminating violence against women and girls throughout their lives

Promote and enforce appropriate measures to end violence against women and girls in public and private spheres. Stating that violence against women and girls is a violation and abuse of human rights and a clear barrier to their empowerment and sustainable development, with significant direct and indirect costs for all society, including on countries’ GDP; recognizing that a multi-sector response is crucial to stop harassment and all forms of violence – including harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation, as well as domestic and intimate partner violence and human trafficking for both sexual and labor exploitation – against women and girls, including migrants and refugees; and recognizing the importance of respecting, protecting and promoting women’s and adolescents’ health and healthcare, we, the G7 Leaders, pledge, in accordance with the national competent levels of Government, to:

Prevention

- Develop and implement a domestic strategy on violence against women and girls, supported with human and financial resources.

- Promote curricula training on gender equality for educational and school staff and students on both gender norms and stereotypes as well as on preventing violence against women and girls in schools at all levels and higher education by 2022.

- Monitor the implementation of laws and policies related to violence against women and girls, and collect, if available, and analyze relevant data on the scope and types of violence perpetrated against women and girls.

- Regularly collect and publish available sex and age disaggregated data with a view to monitoring the phenomenon, exploring its causes and consequences, and identifying vulnerable groups of potential victims as well as new emerging forms of violence.

- Consider investing resources to carry out targeted and impactful information and awareness-raising campaigns, also specifically aimed at involving men and boys as actors of change, and to increase the awareness of the negative effects of showing degrading images of women, images of violent acts perpetrated against women or inciting violence against them, in the media and entertainment.

- Consider developing cyberbullying prevention and intervention practices and promote awareness campaigns to raise awareness of the impact of cyberbullying, particularly on women and girls, and encourage the need for women and girls to speak out against cyberbullying.

Protection

- Provide adequate financial support to victims’ shelters and anti-violence women’s organizations as well as to culturally-sensitive training, including trauma-informed training for professionals working with victims and survivors, such as police, prosecutors, judges, social workers, health professionals, and relevant parts of the armed forces by 2022.

- Adopt a gender-sensitive, humanitarian and victim-centered approach in the prevention of human trafficking and the protection of its victims, including migrants and vulnerable groups of women and girls, by 2022.

- Consider optimizing the impact of and/or increasing available funds for development cooperation programs addressing all forms of violence against women and girls, including harmful practices and human trafficking by 2022, and strengthening our efforts to implement UN Resolution 1325.

Prosecution

- Consider reviewing, introducing, and/or strengthening legislation and its implementation to help ensure the effective prosecution of perpetrators of violence against women and take into consideration the possibility to carry out rehabilitation/treatment programs for such perpetrators by 2022.

- Promote and facilitate cooperation to help ensure the effective and timely prosecution of those engaged – at any level – in human trafficking and exploitation, both domestically and internationally, including cooperation among countries of origin, transit and destination and their respective law enforcement agencies.

- Carry out financial investigations, where appropriate, including the analysis of financial flows associated with trafficking in persons, especially women and girls, with a view to identifying and reporting suspicious financial activities to assist human trafficking related investigations and preventing the phenomenon in the countries of origin.

Monitoring and accountability

The G7 Working Group on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment will be responsible for monitoring progress vis-à-vis the commitments included in this G7 Roadmap for a Gender-Responsive Economic Environment.

Source : http://www.voltairenet.org/article196483.html

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