Gender equality implies equal rights and opportunities regardless of gender. It involves changing how the sexes relate to each other and bringing about a redistribution of power, resources and caregiver responsibilities between men and women. Gender equality is based on respect for human rights and the inherent value of all individuals.
Gender equality is not only a human right, but also “smart economics”, because it can enhance economic efficiency. The contribution of both women and men to development must be acknowledged and be able to take part in societal decision-making and socio-economic development on the same footing. Inequalities between women and men violate fundamental rights. They also impose a heavy toll on the economy and result in underutilization of talent. On the other hand, economic and business benefits can be gained from enhancing gender equality
The protection and promotion of women’s and girls’ rights and gender equality is vita policy priority and essential pre-conditions for equitable and inclusive sustainable development, and important values and objectives in themselves. They are also a pre-condition for peace and security and help to counter radicalization and extremism, which denigrate women and violate their rights and dignity.
ICPC remains fully committed to the promotion, protection and fulfillment of all human rights and to the full and effective implementation of obligations and commitments to women’s rights in all national and international fora in particular the Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women under the United Nations Beijing Platform for Action, the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and Sustainable Development Goals.
Women’s and girls’ rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are at the core of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, both as a stand-alone objective and as a cross-cutting issue integrated into the targets and indicators of all the Sustainable Development Goals. These should also be essential considerations in the use of financial and non-financial means of implementing, and in the review, monitoring and accountability mechanisms of, the 2030 Agenda. Given that the Agenda applies universally to all countries, it is essential to ensure coherence, coordination and enforcement of policies at all levels.
Agenda 2030 and the SDGs have the potential to make a real difference for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Among the seventeen SDGs are goals seeking to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality significantly, and promote peace, security, good governance, and the rule of law. Gender equality is asserted as a fundamental human right, and as a driver of progress across all development goals. Reflecting this, it is both the sole focus of one of the goals - Goal 5 - and is also integrated into the other goals.
The SDGs address important structural drivers of gender inequality. They include targets on eliminating gender-based violence, child marriage, and female genital mutilation; and calls for equal rights to economic resources, including access to land and property; equal leadership opportunities; and a more prominent role for women in peace and state building.
Focusing efforts on gender equality and equity in governance and economic development is at the heart of reducing economic, social and political inequalities. This programme will contribute to the advancement of gender equality and the full recognition and exercise of sexual and reproductive rights. It will promote greater acceptance of women’s rights and gender equality, and will increase understanding of the importance of women’s rights and gender equality for economic inclusive growth and sustainable development.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls) and Resolution 1325 have created opportunities to implement a new paradigm of women’s economic empowerment while removing the barriers that continue to impede advancement. SDGs provide framework for women’s increased access to, control over, and ownership of resources; increased agency, voice, and choice; and improved well-being and dignity.
Addressing gender equality and equity in governancechallenges not only calls for targeted, gender-focused programmes, but also requires that all development efforts take the experiences, needs, and contributions of women into account. With the integration of gender equality throughout the SDGs, the 2030 Agenda provides ambitious roadmap to do just that. In particular, to make progress towards the targets of the SDGs there is a need for:
- Getting more women into decision-making positions. Today, women comprise only 22.7 per cent of the world’s parliamentarians – a level well below parity. In some regions, the average is much lower, and some countries still have no elected women members of Parliament. A gender imbalance is also widespread in other forums for decision-making in many countries, from the executive branch of government to the judiciary, the private sector, and beyond.
Increasing the proportion of women in decision-making is not just a matter of equity – a critical mass of women decision-makers also makes a difference in bringing forward issues which previously went unaddressed.
- Investing in women and girls as active agents of change: investments in gender equality and women’s empowerment not only improve the lives of individual women, but also bring multiple dividends to families and societies.
- Removing structural barriers to women’s economic empowerment: women with equal rights as basic as being able to own and inherit land and property, access credit, and open bank accounts can play an even greater role in the development of their societies. The same is true of ensuring women’s access to decent work and equal pay. One of the most significant structural barriers to women’s economic empowerment is the disproportionate burden of unpaid work carried by women, which impacts on their ability to pursue paid work and/or education. This also has implications for economies as a whole economy.
- Building strong partnerships across all segments of society, including civil society and the private sector. Here the vital role of civil society organizations cannot be overstated.
The programme will promote equality between women and men in decision-making; reducing the persisting gender pay gaps, and thereby inequality in access to financial resources and economic opportunities, and combating gender-based violence and protecting and supporting victims. Advocacy for protection of sexual and reproductive rights and fortress capacities of civil society organizations for the full implementation of gender equity and sexual rights and reproductive rights will be very cetral ot the programme.
a. Provide high quality research and data to support better informed and evidence based advocacy and decision-making by policymakers and other key stakeholders working to achieve gender equality and sexuality rights for both men and women
b. Conduct regularly assessments surreys to collect, analyze and disseminate data on the representation of women and men in high decision-making positions both in private and public sectors
c. Establish gender equality knowledge center for gender equality measurement index, monitoring mechanism and gender statistics and information database. The date center will support the measurement of whether, or to what extent, gender equality is being achieved in practice. It will also act as a reliable resource for the formulation and monitoring of policies that are beneficial for both women and men and will facilitate more informed decision-making towards the advancement of gender equality. It facilitates gender analysis through access to statistics that show whether women and men allocate their time differently between paid employment and unpaid work such as caring or have unequal access to education, health or economic resources
d. Convene and champion ‘Make Women’s Voices Count’ Advocacy platform
e. Set ICT new informational processes and practices that disrupt traditional power structures to create new pathways for women engaging with the governance policy deficit