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More powerful together: Alone in gender is no solution

“More Powerful Together”, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day on 8 March recognised the important roles we all play to advance gender equality. A number of Platform members’ activities focused on exactly that: working in collaboration and creating a world where women and girls everywhere have equal rights and opportunities. Undoubtedly, closing gender gaps is a key step to achieving many of the SDGs. Find out more in the following spotlights.

CSW 63: Concrete recommendations to move forward with gender equality and women’s rights

copyright: UN Women/Ryan Brown

The sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 11 to 22 March 2019. As the single largest forum on gender equality and women’s rights for UN Member States, civil society organizations, and other international actors, this year’s CSW saw a record number of attendances. Participants included more than 5,000 representatives from civil society organizations around the world, nearly 2,000 Member State delegates, and 86 ministers.

CSW63 concluded with a strong commitment by UN Member States to safeguard and improve women’s and girls’ access to social protection systems, public services, and sustainable infrastructure, ensuring that their design and delivery is transformed to prevent discrimination and create a ‘level playing field’ for women and girls.

Key recommendations from the Agreed Conclusions include the following:

  • Invest in social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure to support the productivity of women’s work, including within the informal economy;
  • Ensure that progress in women’s access to social protection, public services, and sustainable infrastructure is not undermined by budget cuts and austerity measures, and levels of protection previously achieved are not reversed;
  • Build on multilateral commitments to gender equality, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the ILO Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202), to strengthen access to social protection, public services and infrastructure for all women and girls;
  • Recognize, reduce and redistribute unpaid care and domestic work by ensuring access to social protection for unpaid caregivers of all ages, including coverage for health care and pensions;
  • Scale up investment in quality public care services that are affordable and gender-responsive;
  • Identify and remove barriers to women’s and girls’ access to public services, such as physical distance, lack of information and decision-making power, stigma and discrimination;
  • Guarantee the availability of safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation, including for menstrual hygiene, in homes, schools, refugee camps and other public places;
  • Ensure that transport policies and planning are sustainable, accessible, affordable, safe and gender-responsive, taking into account the different needs of women and men, and adapted to be used by persons with disabilities and older persons;
  • Promote the full and equal participation and leadership of women and women’s organizations in policy dialogues and decision-making relating to social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure;
  • Strongly condemn the impunity and lack of accountability rooted in historical and structural inequality that accompanies pervasive violence against women.

IISD Policy Briefing: The farmer and her husband: Legal innovations for women in contract farming

A new policy briefing by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) looks at the changing role of women in contract farming. With this latest publication, the Thinktank based in Canada intends to contribute to the discussion on how to use contracts to address gender-related imbalances in farming relationships, along with ensuring better outcomes for women.

The policy briefing is part of a series devoted to “investment in agriculture” and is supported by Platform member the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). “Contract farming has the potential to reshape the relationships between buyers and farmers, helping rectify long-standing power imbalances while creating economic gains for both parties”, the authors say, who have also observed a worrisome trend. Although women are responsible for the bulk of farm-related work, these contracts typically do not factor in women’s interests, needs, or perspectives. The authors present a set of legal provisions that can help make these contractual relationships more gender-sensitive. These provisions can either be incorporated into new legislation governing contract law or can be used as contractual terms by responsible buyers when they negotiate contracts with farmers.

ADB: More knowledge resources on gender

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced that it has bundled up its knowledge resources on gender. The Bank is boosting its efforts to accelerate progress in gender equality and is aiming for 75% of its investments to include proactive gender designs by 2030. Over the past few years, it has produced an array of knowledge resources on the challenges and opportunities for closing the gender gap in Asia and the Pacific. These include country assessments, analyses on how to boost women’s entrepreneurship, technical studies on gender measurement methodologies, and much more. The virtual library currently holds 201 publications related to gender.

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