The Breakthrough Voice 10th March, 2017

Women In The Workspace: How Violence Curbs Economic Empowerment.

Census data, government surveys, news reports have all been reporting how the number of working women in India has been on a steady decline in the last few years. What could be the reasons for this decline? If economic empowerment is essential for achieving gender equality, how do we understand this trend of decline?

In 2015, world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals which placed gender equality and empowerment at the center of the 2030 agenda of sustainable development. It was acknowledged that no goal is an end in itself and that all the goals need to be addressed for fully realising the potential of each one of them. This implies that we possibly cannot imagine ending poverty without addressing other goals such as inclusive and sustainable economic growth, gender equality and empowerment etc.

Following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) now contributes to the follow-up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development so as to accelerate the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women. The CSW is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The theme for this year’s CSW is ‘women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work’. The workforce globally has been impacted by multiple factors. While with globalisation, liberalisation, the information and communication technology revolution, a lot of diverse employment opportunities have propped up, there have been other implications too such as a shrinking formal sector and informality of labour, environmental degradation etc. CSW aims to address all these issues at its 61st conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Breakthrough will be at the conference attending the various events and also conducting a session with our partner panelists, Gender at work and Azad foundation. The session is on 15 March 2017 at United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), #CSW61 around the theme ‘Women in the workspace: How violence curbs economic empowerment.’

Women face discrimination and violence at multiple levels. If we address the realm of work, the first question is about how unpaid care work is not recognised as work. Throughout history, women’s work has been invisibilised, devalued and appropriated. Within the workforce, there are certain jobs which are segregated as jobs for women specifically. Women constantly live under the threat of being subjected to sexual violence. The list of challenges which prevent women from fully realising their potential and treading on the path of economic empowerment is a long one.

Keeping this context in mind, Breakthrough works towards creating inclusive workplace intervention, supported by community component to promote gender justice. With an aim to ensure women’s full participation and equal opportunity in economic life, Breakthrough has adopted a three tier approach of working with management, workers and their families and the community at large.

Breakthrough will be at CSW61 talking about all of this and more and emphasising on the need for gender just spaces, be it the public or private sphere. For those who are in New York, we would love to have you attend our session! Click on the link to register for free. See you all on 15th March, 2:30 – 4:00 PM ET.

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