Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Guidelines for preventing and combating sexism: measures for implementation 2/5


Appendix to Recommendation CM/Rec(2019)1

Guidelines for preventing and combating sexism: measures for implementation

Definition

For the purpose of this Recommendation, sexism is:

Any act, gesture, visual representation, spoken or written words, practice or behaviour based upon the idea that a person or a group of persons is inferior because of their sex, which occurs in the public or private sphere, whether online or offline, with the purpose or effect of:

i. violating the inherent dignity or rights of a person or a group of persons; or ii. resulting in physical, sexual, psychological or socio-economic harm or suffering to a person or a group of persons; or iii. creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment; or iv. constituting a barrier to the autonomy and full realisation of human rights by a person or a group of persons; or v. maintaining and reinforcing gender stereotypes. 2

Context

The need to tackle sexism, sexist norms and behaviour and sexist speech is implicit in a number of international and regional instruments. Both the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (CETS No. 210, Istanbul Convention) and the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) recognise a continuum between gender stereotypes, gender inequality, sexism and violence against women and girls. In this way, acts of “everyday” sexism in the form of apparently inconsequential or minor sexist behaviour, comments and jokes are at one end of the continuum. However, these acts are often humiliating and contribute to a social climate where women are demeaned, their self-regard lowered and their activities and choices restricted, including at work, in the private, public or online sphere. Sexist behaviour such as, in particular, sexist hate speech, may escalate to or incite overtly offensive and threatening acts, including sexual abuse or violence, rape or potentially lethal action. Other consequences may include loss of resources, self-harm or suicide. Tackling sexism is thus part of States’ positive obligation to guarantee human rights, gender equality and to prevent violence against women and girls in accordance with international human rights law and, for States Parties, the Istanbul Convention.

Sexism and sexist behaviour result in physical, sexual, psychological or socio-economic harm and impact different sectors of the population differently. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by such behaviour. Sexism and sexist behaviour constitute a barrier to the empowerment and advancement of women and girls; the elimination of sexism and sexist behaviour would benefit everyone: women, girls, men and boys.

Sexism and sexist behaviour occur across the full range of human activity, including in cyberspace (internet and social media). They can be experienced individually or collectively by a person or a group of persons, even if neither the individual nor the group has been directly targeted, for example through sexist advertising, or posting of pictures of naked women in the workplace. The three levels of perpetuating and experiencing sexism are: individual, institutional (for example family, work or education environment), and structural (for example through societal gender inequalities, social norms and behaviour). Sexism is silencing when individuals and groups fail to report or complain about sexist behaviour for fear of not being taken seriously, of being ostracised or even held responsible. 

The internet has provided a new dimension for the expression and transmission of sexism, especially of sexist hate speech, to a large audience, even though the roots of sexism do not lie in technology but in persistent gender inequalities. Additionally, social phenomena such as the #MeToo campaign and the series of actions and policy measures that it has triggered in different parts of the world (from 2017 onwards), including in Council of Europe member States, have helped shed light on the ubiquity of sexism and on the need for stronger measures to combat it.

Sexism and sexist behaviour are rooted in and reinforce gender stereotypes. The European Court of Human Rights has considered that “the issue with stereotyping of a certain group in society lies in the fact that it prohibits the individualised evaluation of their capacity and needs”3.  Gender stereotypes reinforce unequal social power structures and impact resource allocation between women and men negatively. The persistent gender pay gap and the pension gap in member States are cases in point. Gender stereotypes are thus social constructions of the “appropriate” roles for women and men, which are determined by cultural prejudices, customs, traditions, and in many instances, interpretations of religious beliefs and practices. Women who challenge or deviate from what is regarded as their “proper” place in society can be confronted with sexism and misogyny and men who challenge dominant perceptions of masculinity may be confronted with sexism.

Intersectionality, situational vulnerabilities and aggravating circumstances

Women and men may be confronted with different and intersecting forms of sexism, based on a range of other factors including but not limited to ethnicity, minority or indigenous status, age, religion, refugee or migrant status, disability, marital status, social origin, gender identity, sexual orientation or sexuality. They may be in more vulnerable situations or be targeted by different acts of sexism in different settings, such as young women and women active in predominantly male environments, for instance business, finance, the military or politics. Women in positions of power or authority, including public figures, are also particular targets for sexism as they are perceived to have deviated from social gender norms that exclude women from public spaces or authority. Intersex and trans persons also face additional and/or enhanced challenges with regard to sexism.

Some circumstances can add to the seriousness or impact of sexist behaviour, or can affect the capacity of the victim to react. Such aggravating circumstances exist where sexist acts or words take place within a hierarchical or dependent relationship, in particular at work, in an educational or medical setting, in the framework of (public) services, or within commercial relationships. Sexism is especially damaging when the author is in a position of power, authority or influence such as a politician, an opinion maker or a business leader. Another aggravating factor is where the reach, or potential reach, of the sexist words or acts is extensive, including the means of transmission, use of social or mainstream media and the degree of repetition.

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Monday, April 22, 2019

Recommendation CM/Rec(2019)1 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on preventing and combating sexism 1 /5

The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 15.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe,

Recalling that gender equality is central to the protection of human rights, the functioning of democracy and good governance, respect for the rule of law and the promotion of well-being for all, that it entails equal rights for women and men, girls and boys, as well as the same visibility, empowerment, responsibility and participation in all spheres of public and private life, and that it implies equal access to and distribution of resources between women and men, as set out in the Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy 20182023;

Recalling that discrimination on the grounds of sex and/or gender constitutes a violation of human rights and an impediment to the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as recognised by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in its General Recommendation No. 28 on the core obligations of States parties under Article 2 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women;

Recalling that sexism is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between women and men, which leads to discrimination and prevents the full advancement of women in society;

Noting that sexism is widespread and prevalent in all sectors and all societies;

Affirming that sexism is reinforced by gender stereotypes affecting women and men, girls and boys, and runs counter to achieving gender equality and inclusive societies;

Noting that sexism constitutes a barrier to the empowerment of women and girls, who are disproportionately affected by sexist behaviour; and further noting that gender stereotypes and inherent biases shape the norms, behaviour and expectations of men and boys, and therefore lead to sexist acts;

Concerned that sexism is linked to violence against women and girls, whereby acts of “everyday” sexism are part of a continuum of violence creating a climate of intimidation, fear, discrimination, exclusion and insecurity which limits opportunities and freedom; 

Noting that women and girls can be subject to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and may face sexism combined with other norms or behaviour which are discriminatory, hateful or harmful;

Aware that sexism and sexist behaviour are perpetrated at the individual, institutional and structural levels, and experienced with detrimental effect at all three levels, and that measures to prevent and combat sexism should therefore be taken at all levels;

Recalling the 1979 United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which requires States parties to take all appropriate measures “to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women”;

Bearing in mind the objectives set forward in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted by the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women (1995), and in particular the Report of the Beijing+20 Regional Review Meeting for Europe, organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in 2014, which indicated that “discriminatory stereotypes remain widespread, and affect women’s education and participation in the economy and in public life”;

Bearing in mind the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including Sustainable Development Goal 5 (“Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”), Sustainable Development Goal 16 (“Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”) and Sustainable Development Goal 4 (“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”), which are of universal application;

Taking account of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and its prohibition of discrimination based on the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s sex;

Recalling the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ETS No. 5) and its prohibition of discrimination in the enjoyment of human rights;

Recalling that combating gender stereotypes and sexism and ensuring the integration of a gender equality perspective in all policies and measures are priority objectives in the Council of Europe gender equality strategy documents and recommendations;

Recalling that the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (CETS No. 210, Istanbul Convention) requires parties “to promote changes in the social and cultural patterns of behaviour of women and men with a view to eradicating prejudices, customs, traditions and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority of women or on stereotyped roles for women and men”, and that the Istanbul Convention also requires that parties criminalise stalking and take the necessary measures to ensure that sexual harassment is subject to criminal or other legal sanctions;

Taking account of the European Social Charter (ETS No. 35, ETS No. 163 [revised]) and its provisions on equal opportunities, non-discrimination and the right to dignity at work;

Recalling that the European Court of Human Rights in its case law has reiterated that the advancement of gender equality is today a major goal in the member States of the Council of Europe and that reference to traditions, general assumptions or prevailing social attitudes are insufficient justification for a difference in treatment on grounds of sex. Furthermore, the Court has indicated that gender stereotypes, such as the perception of women as primary child-carers and men as primary breadwinners, cannot of themselves justify a difference in treatment;

Recalling the following recommendations of the Committee of Ministers to member States: CM/Rec(2007)13 on gender mainstreaming in education; CM/Rec(2007)17 on gender equality standards and mechanisms; CM/Rec(2013)1 on gender equality and media; and CM/Rec(2017)9 on gender equality in the audiovisual sector;

Referring to General Policy Recommendation No. 15 on combating hate speech, adopted by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) in December 2015, which includes sexist hate speech;

Taking account of the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2016-2021), which stresses the need to fight discrimination and violence, particularly sexual violence and the need to promote equality between girls and boys including by continuing to address stereotypes, sexism and over-sexualisation, notably in the media and education;

Taking account of the Council of Europe Internet Governance Strategy 2016-2019 and its call for monitoring action to protect everyone, in particular women and children, from online abuse, including cyberstalking, sexism and threats of sexual violence;

Recalling Resolutions 2119 (2016), 2144 (2017) and 2177 (2017) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, respectively on “Fighting the over-sexualisation of children”, “Ending cyberdiscrimination and online hate” and “Putting an end to sexual violence and harassment of women in public space”;

Drawing on the outcomes of implementing the above-mentioned instruments and documents at international, national, regional and local levels, including achievements and challenges;

Mindful that, despite the existence of standards at international, national and regional levels guaranteeing the principle of gender equality, a gap still persists between standards and practice, between de jure and de facto gender equality;

Acknowledging that the prevalence of different manifestations of sexism is closely linked to the persistent difficulties in achieving gender equality, and desirous to tackle sexism as a critical cause and consequence of gender inequality;

Noting the lack of an internationally agreed definition of “sexism” and of a dedicated legal instrument to tackle it;

Aspiring to create a Europe free from sexism and its manifestations,

Recommends that the governments of member States:

1. Take measures to prevent and combat sexism and its manifestations in the public and private spheres, and encourage relevant stakeholders to implement appropriate legislation, policies and programmes, drawing on the definition and guidelines appended to this Recommendation;

2. Monitor progress in the implementation of this Recommendation and inform the competent Council of Europe steering committee(s) of the measures undertaken and the progress achieved in this field;

3. Ensure that this Recommendation, including its appendix, is translated and disseminated (in accessible formats) to relevant authorities and stakeholders.

https://rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?documentId=090000168093b26a

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Commission on the Status of Women Sixty-third session 11 – 22 March 2019 Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls Agreed conclusions 10 /10


48. The Commission recognizes its primary role for the follow-up to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, in which its work is grounded, and stresses that it is critical to address and integrate gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls throughout national, regional and global reviews of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and to ensure synergies between the follow-up to the Beijing Platform for Action and the gender-responsive follow-up to the 2030 Agenda.

49. The Commission calls upon the United Nations system entities, within their respective mandates, and other relevant international financial institutions and multi-stakeholder platforms to support Member States, upon their request, in their efforts to enhance social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.


50. The Commission recalls General Assembly resolution 72/181 of 19 December 2017 and encourages the secretariat to continue its consideration of how to enhance the participation, including at the sixty-fourth session of the Commission, of national human rights institutions that are fully compliant with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles), where they exist, in compliance with the rules of procedure of the Economic and Social Council.

51. The Commission calls upon the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) to continue to play a central role in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and in supporting Governments and national women’s machineries, upon their request, in coordinating the United Nations system and in mobilizing civil society, the private sector, employers’ organizations and trade unions, and other relevant stakeholders, at all levels, in support of the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including towards social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

http://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/csw/csw63%20ac_adopted_for%20submission.pdf?la=en&vs=852

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Commission on the Status of Women Sixty-third session 11 – 22 March 2019 Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls Agreed conclusions 9/10


Make infrastructure work for women and girls 

bbb. Develop and adopt gender-responsive strategies on mitigation and adaptation to climate change to support the resilience and adaptive capacities of women and girls to respond to and recover from adverse impacts of climate change, including natural disasters and extreme weather events through the provision of essential infrastructure, social protection and public services that are sustainable as well as appropriate financing technology, humanitarian assistance, forecast and early warning systems and through, inter alia, the promotion of their health and well-being, as well as access to sustainable livelihoods, and the provision of adequate resources while ensuring women’s meaningful participation in decision-making, at all levels, on environmental issues, in particular on strategies and policies related to the impacts of climate change, and by ensuring the integration of the specific needs of women and girls into humanitarian responses to natural disasters, into the planning, delivery, implementation and monitoring of disaster risk reduction policies, in particular, urban and rural infrastructure and land-use planning and resettlement and relocation planning during the aftermath of natural disasters, and into sustainable natural resources management; ensure that social protection systems, public services and infrastructure are sustainable through the integration of climate-smart dimensions and tools, including accurate and downscaled climate services developed in participation with the sectors involved, connecting science, policy and practice;


ccc. Increase access of women to digital technologies to enhance their productivity and mobility in the labour market; enhance efficiency, accountability and transparency of social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure through enhanced use of information and communications technologies for the benefit of women and girls, including for those hardest to reach; work towards closing digital gender divides and promote equal access to information and communication technologies and internet for women and girls, and explore appropriate ways to address any potential negative impact of new technologies on gender equality; and ensure that programmes, services and infrastructure are adaptable and suited to meet different positive cultural values and technological barriers, including literacy;

ddd. Conduct systematic and transparent assessments of the gender and environmental impacts of infrastructure projects with the full, equal and effective participation of women and girls through social dialogues, thereby promoting the enjoyment of their human rights;

eee. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water as well as access to safe and affordable drinking water and adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all women and girls, as well as for menstrual hygiene management, including for hygiene facilities and services, in homes, schools, temporary shelters for refugees, migrants or people affected by natural disasters, humanitarian emergencies and armed conflicts and post-conflict situations and all other public and private spaces; take measures to reduce the time spent by women and girls on collecting household water; address the negative impact of inadequate, inequitable access to  drinking water and sanitation, and energy services on the access of girls to education; and promote women’s full, effective and equal participation in decision-making on water and sanitation;

fff. Ensure that every household has access to adequate levels of affordable and reliable electricity through appropriate grid and decentralized off-grid solutions, including from renewable energy sources, that are adequately maintained and support women’s and girls’ specific livelihood needs;

ggg. Provide targeted support and incentives for women’s participation and leadership as users and producers of energy; and strengthen the provision of clean fuel for cooking to curb indoor air pollution which disproportionately affects women and children;

hhh. Integrate a gender perspective into planning and use of public spaces, design and development of smart cities, communities and rural areas and into intelligent mobility planning processes; and promote the mobility and empowerment of women and girls, including those with disabilities and those who are homeless, and promote inclusive societies including through adequate housing and in doing so ensure that public urban, rural and peripheral transport, including land and water transport systems and infrastructure are sustainable, accessible, safe, affordable and genderresponsive, that take into account the different needs of women and men, girls and boys and are adapted to be used by persons with disabilities and older persons;

iii. Promote safe public spaces and improve the security and safety of women and girls through gender-responsive rural and urban planning and infrastructure, including sustainable, safe, accessible and affordable public transportation systems, and prevent and eliminate violence and harassment against women on the journey to and from work, and protect women and girls from


being physically threatened or assaulted, including from sexual violence, while collecting household water and fuel, and when accessing sanitation facilities outside their homes or practicing open defecation;

Mobilize resources, strengthen women’s participation and improve evidence

jjj. Take steps to significantly increase investment to close resource gaps, for example through the mobilization of financial resources from all sources, including public, private, domestic and international resource mobilization and allocation, including by enhancing revenue administration through modernized, progressive tax systems, improved tax policy, more efficient tax collection and increased priority on gender equality and the empowerment of women in official development assistance (ODA) to build on progress achieved, and to ensure that ODA is used effectively to accelerate the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls;

kkk. Take steps in the design, implementation and pursuit of fiscal policies and gender responsivebudgeting to promote gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, by, inter alia, optimizing fiscal expenditures to extend social protection coverage, facilitating greater access to social protection and financial and business services, including credit for women, and promoting costing and cost-benefit calculation of the investments needed to ensure access to social protection systems, public services, and sustainable infrastructure, bearing in mind that these policies and budget play a critical role in reducing poverty and inequality and supporting inclusive growth;

lll. Encourage the international community and promote partnerships to support developing countries in their efforts to eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, and achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, the poor and people in vulnerable situations, with a view to achieving the internationally agreed development goals, improving tax systems, promote access to financial services, enhance productive capacity, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, and promote full and productive employment and decent work for all;

mmm. Urge developed countries to fully implement their respective official development assistance commitments, including the commitment made by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of their gross national income for official development assistance to developing countries and the target of 0.15 to 0.20 per cent of their gross national income for official development assistance to the least developed countries, and encourage developing countries to build on the progress achieved in ensuring that ODA is used effectively to help meet development goals and targets, to help them, inter alia, to promote social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls;

nnn. Strengthen international and regional cooperation, including North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation, bearing in mind that South-South cooperation is not a substitute for, but rather a complement to, North-South cooperation, and invite all States to enhance South-South and triangular cooperation focusing on shared development priorities, with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders in government, civil society and the private sector, while noting that national
ownership and leadership in this regard are indispensable for the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and to improve their lives and well-being;

ooo. Support the important role of civil society actors in promoting and protecting the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all women; take steps to protect such actors, including women human rights defenders, and to integrate a gender perspective into creating a safe and enabling environment for the defence of human rights and to prevent violations and abuses against them in rural areas, inter alia, threats, harassment and violence, in particular on issues relating to labour rights, the environment, land and natural resources; and combat impunity by taking steps to ensure that violations or abuses are promptly and impartially investigated and that those responsible are held accountable;

ppp. Ensure equal opportunities for women and girls in cultural, recreational and sport activities in all areas, including administration, management and participation in physical activities and sports at the national, regional and international levels, such as access, coaching, training, competition, remuneration and prizes;

qqq. Consider evaluating the costs and benefits of private sector participation in social protection systems, public service delivery and infrastructure development;

rrr. Create and strengthen gender-responsive accountability mechanisms, such as audits, and include beneficiaries and users in the evaluation of social protection, public services and infrastructure projects;

sss. Strengthen the capacity of national statistical offices and other relevant government institutions to collect, analyse and disseminate data, disaggregated by sex, income, age, disability and other characteristics relevant in national contexts, to support policies and actions to improve the situation of women and girls through access to social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure, and to monitor and track the implementation of such policies and actions, and enhance partnerships and the mobilization, from all sources, of financial and technical assistance to enable developing countries to systematically design, collect and ensure access to high-quality, reliable and timely disaggregated data and gender statistics;


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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Commission on the Status of Women Sixty-third session 11 – 22 March 2019 Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls Agreed conclusions 8/10


aa. Eliminate occupational segregation by addressing structural barriers, gender stereotypes and negative social norms, promoting women’s equal access to and participation in labour markets and in education and training, supporting women so as to diversify their educational and occupational choices in emerging fields and growing economic sectors, such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics and information and communications technology, recognizing the value of sectors that have large numbers of women workers;

bb. Enact or strengthen and enforce laws and regulations that uphold the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value in the public and private sectors as a critical measure to eliminate the gender pay gap,  provide in this regard effective means of redress and access to justice in cases of non-compliance and promote the implementation of equal pay policies through, for example, social dialogue, collective bargaining, job evaluations, awareness-raising campaigns, pay transparency and gender pay audits, as well as certification and review of pay practices and increased availability of data and analysis on the gender pay gap;

cc. Provide social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure that support the productivity and economic viability of women’s work and protect women, especially those working in the informal economy, in rural and urban areas, while supporting their transition from the informal to the formal economy to ensure an adequate standard of living and take measures to address unsafe and unhealthy working conditions in the informal economy by promoting occupational safety and health protection for workers in the informal economy;

dd. Take measures to facilitate the financial inclusion and financial literacy of women and their equal access to formal financial services, including timely and affordable credit, loans, savings, insurance, and remittance transfer schemes; integrate a gender perspective into finance sector policy and regulations, in accordance with national priorities and legislation, encourage financial institutions, such as commercial banks, development banks, agricultural banks, microfinance institutions, mobile network operators, agent networks, cooperatives, postal banks and savings banks, to provide access to financial products, services and information to women, and encourage the use of innovative tools and platforms, including online and mobile banking;

Strengthen women’s and girls’ access to social protection

ee. Encourage and recognize the efforts at all levels to establish and strengthen social protection systems and measures, including national safety nets and programmes for all women and girls, such as food and cash-for-work, cash transfer and voucher programmes, school feeding programmes and mother-and-child nutrition programmes, and increase investment, capacitybuilding and systems development;

ff. Improve the design, implementation and evaluation of social protection systems and nationally appropriate measures based on context-specific assessment of risks and vulnerabilities for all women and girls;

gg. Work towards establishing or strengthening inclusive and gender-responsive social protection systems, including floors, to ensure full access to social protection for all without discrimination of any kind, and take measures to progressively achieve higher levels of protection, including facilitating the transition from informal to formal work;

hh. Ensure that social protection measures are effectively incorporated into humanitarian  response in the context of natural disasters, armed conflict and post-conflict situations, and other emergencies, while strengthening gender-responsive programming and planning; and recognize the important role social protection systems can play in disaster risk management strategies in building the resilience of communities and individuals and helping them cope with shocks, including those related to climate change, including through the transition of short-term emergency response programmes into long-term social protection systems;

ii. Implement nutrition policies and provide integrated food and nutritional support and services, with special attention to women, girls, infants and young children; ensure their access at all times to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food requirements for an active and healthy life; and support adequate care and optimal feeding practices, especially during pregnancy, lactation and infancy when the nutritional requirements are increased, including promoting exclusive breastfeeding up to six months with adequate complementary feeding thereafter, therefore contributing to women’s full and equal access to social protection and resources;

jj. Promote legal, administrative and policy measures that strengthen unemployment protection schemes and ensure women's full and equal access to pensions, including access to income security for older women, through contributory and/or non-contributory schemes that are independent of their employment trajectories, and reduce gender gaps in coverage and benefit levels;

kk. Assist migrant workers at all skills levels to have access to social protection in countries of destination and profit from the portability of applicable social security entitlements and earned benefits in their countries of origin or when they decide to take up work in another country;

ll. Guarantee access to maternity protection, and promote, inter alia, paid maternity, paternity and parental leave and adequate social security benefits for both women and men, taking appropriate steps to ensure they are not discriminated against when availing themselves of such benefits and promoting men’s awareness and incentivizing their use of such opportunities, as a means of enabling women to increase their participation in the labour market; recognize the social significance of maternity, paternity, motherhood, fatherhood and the shared responsibility of parents in the upbringing of children; and provide appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities through the development of universal and affordable services and facilities for the care of children, including breastfeeding facilities in the workplace;

mm. Assess the need for and promote the revision of conditionalities, where they exist, related to cash transfer programmes inter alia to avoid reinforcing gender stereotypes and exacerbating women’s unpaid work; ensure that they are adequate, proportional and non-discriminatory and that
non-compliance does not lead to punitive measures that exclude women and girls who are marginalized or in vulnerable situations;

Strengthen access to public services for women and girls

nn.  Ensure that quality public services are available, affordable, accessible and acceptable to all women and girls, including in situations of natural disasters and other humanitarian emergencies, displacement and armed conflict and post-conflict situations;

oo. Prioritize investments that contribute to the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including through accessible and affordable child care and other support services; extend the coverage and ensure equitable, inclusive, quality, accessible and affordable early childhood education and care services and facilities; and increase the availability of after school services for children and adolescents;

pp. Identify and remove barriers that constrain women’s and girls’ access to public services, such as geographic, legal and institutional barriers, including in rural and remote areas, in order to guarantee their access to these services on a regular basis and during emergencies;

qq. Take concrete measures to realize the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health for all women and girls; as well as ensuring availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality health-care services to address all communicable and non-communicable diseases including through universally accessible primary health care and support services and social protection mechanisms;

rr. Accelerate progress towards the goal of universal health coverage for all women and girls that comprises universal and equitable access to affordable quality essential, effective health-care services and medicines for all, while ensuring that the use of such services and medicines does not expose the users to financial hardship;

ss. Ensure and increase financial investments in affordable and accessible quality public healthcare systems and facilities for all women and girls with safe, effective, quality, essential and affordable medicines and vaccines for all and health technologies, the systematic utilization of new technologies, and integrated health information systems, including through community outreach, private sector engagement, the support of the international community;

tt. Increase investments in a more effective, socially accountable, motivated, appropriately equipped and well trained health workforce with ongoing education and training; and address the shortage and inequitable distribution of health-care workers by promoting decent work with adequate remuneration and incentives to secure the presence of qualified health-care professionals in rural and remote areas, including by utilising digital technologies for health care providers and patients, enabling safe working environments and conditions, and expanding community-based health education and training;

uu. Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and  Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences, including universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes, and recognizing that the human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on all matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, as a contribution to the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and the realization of their human rights;

vv. Take measures to reduce maternal, neonatal, infant and child mortality and morbidity, and increase access to quality health care before, during and after pregnancy and childbirth to all women through interventions such as improving transportation and healthcare infrastructure to ensure that women can access emergency obstetric services and training and equipping community health workers, nurses and midwives, to provide basic prenatal and postnatal care and emergency obstetric care, inter alia, by providing voluntary, informed family planning and empowering women to identify risk factors and complications of pregnancy and childbirth and facilitate their access to health facilities;

ww. Promote and respect women’s and girls’ right to education throughout the life cycle and at all levels, especially for those who have been left furthest behind and address gender disparities, including by investing in public education systems and infrastructure, eliminating discriminatory laws and practices, providing universal access to inclusive, equal and non-discriminatory quality education, including free and compulsory primary and secondary education, promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, eliminating female illiteracy and promoting financial and digital literacy, ensuring that women and girls have equal access to career development, training, scholarships and fellowships, adopting positive action to build women’s and girls’ leadership skills and influence, and supporting women and girls to diversify their educational and occupational choices in emerging fields, such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics and information and communications technology; strive to ensure the completion of early childhood, primary and secondary education and expand vocational and technical education for all women and girls, and foster, as appropriate, intercultural and multilingual education for all; and address negative social norms and gender stereotypes in education systems, including in curricula and teaching methodologies, that devalue girls’ education and prevent women and girls from having access to, completing and continuing their education;

xx. Ensure that pregnant adolescents and young mothers, as well as single mothers, can continue and complete their education, and in this regard, design, implement and, where applicable, revise educational policies to allow them to remain in and return to school, providing them with access to health care and social services and support, including childcare and breastfeeding facilities and crèches, and to education programmes with accessible locations, flexible schedules and distance education, including e-learning, and bearing in mind the important role and responsibilities of, and challenges faced by, fathers, including young fathers, in this regard;

yy. Continue to develop and strengthen appropriate policies, strategies and programmes to enhance the employability of women, including young women, and their access to better remunerated employment options through formal and non-formal education, educational curriculum and skills
 development and vocational training, lifelong learning and retraining and long-distance education; facilitate women’s access to and opportunities in emerging fields such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics, information and communications technology by expanding the scope of education and training, particularly in developing countries; and technical development, and enhance women’s and, as appropriate, girls’ participation as users, content creators, employees, entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders;

zz. Develop policies and programmes with the support, where appropriate, of international organizations, civil society and non-governmental organizations, giving priority to formal, informal and non-formal education programmes, including scientifically accurate and ageappropriate comprehensive education that is relevant to cultural contexts, that provides adolescent girls and boys and young women and men in and out of school, consistent with their evolving capacities, and with appropriate direction and guidance from parents and legal guardians, with the best interests of the child as their basic concern, information on sexual and reproductive health and HIV prevention, gender equality and women’s empowerment, human rights, physical, psychological and pubertal development and power in relationships between women and men, to enable them to build self-esteem and foster informed decision-making, communication and riskreduction skills and to develop respectful relationships, in full partnership with young persons, parents, legal guardians, caregivers, educators and health-care providers, in order to, inter alia, enable them to protect themselves from HIV infection and other risks;

aaa. Create opportunities, improve employment standards and promote conditions of decent work, security, social protection and decent remuneration for front-line women workers in the delivery of public services, such as health care and education which are traditionally undervalued sectors with a majority of female workers, and ensure their access to positions of decision-making and leadership;


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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Commission on the Status of Women Sixty-third session 11 – 22 March 2019 Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls Agreed conclusions 7/10



47. The Commission urges governments at all levels and as appropriate, with the relevant entities of the United Nations system and international and regional organizations, within their respective mandates and bearing in mind national priorities, and invites civil society, inter alia, women’s organizations, producer, agricultural and fisheries organizations, youth-led organizations, feminist groups, faith-based organizations, the private sector, national human rights institutions, where they exist, and other relevant stakeholders, as applicable, to take the following actions:

Strengthen normative, legal and policy frameworks 

a. Take action to fully implement existing commitments and obligations with respect to the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls and the full and equal enjoyment of their human rights and fundamental freedoms so as to improve their lives, livelihoods, and well-being;

b. Consider ratifying or acceding to, as a matter of particular priority, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Optional Protocols thereto, limit the extent of any reservations, formulate any such reservations as precisely and as narrowly as possible to ensure that no reservations are incompatible with the object and purpose of the Conventions, review their reservations regularly with a view to withdrawing them, withdraw reservations that are contrary to the object and purpose of the relevant Convention and implement the Conventions fully by, inter alia, putting in place effective national legislation and policies;

c. Ensure women’s full and equal participation including in institutions of governance and the judicial system, and secure their empowerment and full and equal access to justice;

d. Consider ratification of and, for those that have done so, implementation of the fundamental  conventions of the International Labour Organization, and note the importance of other relevant international labour standards, namely the Social Security Convention, 1952 (No. 102) the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202), as well as the Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy Recommendation, 2015 (No. 204) of the International Labour Organization; and ILO Convention 189 on Decent work for Domestic Workers, in order to contribute to women’s access to social protection;

e. Refrain from promulgating and applying any unilateral economic, financial or trade measures not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations that impede the full achievement of economic and social development, particularly in developing countries;

f. Ensure the right to social security in national legal frameworks, as well as ensure universal access to social protection, supported by national strategies, policies, action plans, and adequate resources, to enhance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls;

g. Adopt a comprehensive and integrated approach to the design, budgeting, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure to ensure gender-responsive policymaking processes, including public financial management and public procurement processes are designed to realize gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls;

h. Ensure that social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure contribute to efforts to eliminate, prevent and respond to all forms of violence against women and girls in public and private spaces, through multisectoral and coordinated approaches to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators of violence against women and girls and end impunity, and to provide protection and equal access to appropriate remedies and redress to comprehensive social, health and legal services for all victims and survivors to support their full recovery and reintegration into society including by providing access to psychosocial support and rehabilitation, access to affordable housing and employment, and bearing in mind the importance of all women and girls living free from violence, such as sexual and gender-based violence, including sexual harassment, domestic violence, gender-related killings, including femicide, as well as elder abuse; address the structural and underlying causes of violence against women and girls through enhanced prevention measures, research and strengthened coordination, monitoring and evaluation, by, inter alia, encouraging awareness-raising activities, including through publicizing the societal and economic costs of violence, and work with local communities;

i. Eliminate harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriage, which may have long-term effects on girls’ and women’s lives, health and bodies, including increased vulnerability to violence and sexually transmitted diseases and which continue to persist in all regions of the world despite the increase in national, regional and international efforts, including by empowering all women and girls, working with local communities to combat negative social norms that condone such practices and empowering parents and communities to abandon such practices, by confronting family poverty and social exclusion, and ensuring that girls and women at risk or affected by these practices have access to social protection and public services, including education and health care;

j. Devise, strengthen and implement comprehensive anti-trafficking strategies that integrate a human rights and sustainable development perspective, and enforce, as appropriate, legal frameworks, in a gender- and age-sensitive manner to combat and eliminate all forms of trafficking in persons, raise public awareness of the issue of trafficking in persons, in particular women and girls; take measures to reduce the vulnerability of women and girls to modern slavery and sexual exploitation, provide access, as applicable to protection and reintegration assistance to victims of trafficking in persons; strengthen cooperation among all relevant actors to identify and disrupt illicit financial flows stemming from trafficking in women and girls, while also recognizing the need to protect the confidentiality of personal data of victims; and enhance international cooperation, information sharing, legislative and other measures, to counter the demand that fosters all forms of exploitation of persons, especially women and girls;

k. Take all appropriate measures to recognize, reduce and redistribute women’s and girls’ disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work by promoting the reconciliation of work and family life, equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, and men’s equitable sharing of responsibilities with respect to care and household work, including as fathers and caregivers, through flexibility in working arrangements without reductions in labour and social protections, support for breastfeeding mothers, the provision of infrastructure, technology and public services, such as water and sanitation, renewable energy, transport and information and communications technology, and the implementation and promotion of legislation and policies such as maternity, paternity, parental and other leave schemes, as well as accessible, affordable and quality social services, including child care and care facilities for children and other dependents and take steps to measure the value of this work in order to determine its contribution to the national economy, and challenge gender stereotypes and negative social norms in order to create an enabling environment for women’s empowerment;

l. Ensure access to social protection for unpaid caregivers of all ages, including coverage for health care and pensions, and in this regard strengthen social protection schemes that promote, as appropriate, the economic, social and legal recognition of unpaid care and domestic work, and allow such work to be valued within contributory schemes;

m. Invest in and strengthen family-oriented policies and programmes that are responsive to the diverse, specific and changing needs of women and girls and their family, as well as address the imbalances, risks and barriers that they face in enjoying their rights and protect all family members against any form of violence, ensure that adequate measures are in place to protect and support women, including  in cases of widowhood, such as access to the full range of social services and access to justice, as those policies and programmes are important tools for, inter alia, fighting poverty, social exclusion and inequality, promoting work-family balance and gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls and advancing social integration and intergenerational solidarity;

n. Fully engage men and boys as agents and beneficiaries of change, and as strategic partners and allies in promoting women’s and girls’ access to social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure; eliminating all forms of violence and discrimination against them, in both public and private spheres, by understanding and addressing the root causes of gender inequality, such as unequal power relations, gender stereotypes and practices that perpetuate discrimination against women and girls; designing and implementing national policies and programmes that address the roles and responsibilities of men and boys, including the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men in care and domestic work; ensuring the enforcement of child support laws; and transforming, with the aim of eliminating, negative social norms that condone violence against women and girls and attitudes by which women and girls are regarded as subordinate to men and boys;

o. Integrate a gender perspective into the design, implementation and evaluation of and follow-up to development policies, plans and programmes, including budget policies, where lacking, on social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure, ensuring coordination between line ministries, gender policymakers, gender equality mechanisms and other relevant government organizations and institutions with gender expertise, and appropriate collaboration with the private sector, non-governmental and civil society organizations  and national human rights institutions, where they exist, paying increased attention to the needs of women and girls to ensure that they benefit from policies and programmes adopted in all spheres;

p. Guarantee the universal registration of births and ensure the timely registration of all marriages, including by removing physical, administrative, procedural and other barriers that impede access
to registration and by providing, where lacking, mechanisms for the registration of births and marriages, including customary and religious marriages, bearing in mind the vital importance of birth registration for the realization of the rights of individuals including the right to social security as well as access to public services;

q. Strengthen the capacity of national mechanisms for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, at all levels, with sustainable and adequate funding, including through official development assistance, to support the mainstreaming of a gender perspective into the design, delivery and evaluation of social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure, enhancing their linkages and implementing these three focus areas;

r. Eliminate all forms of discrimination against all women and girls and implement targeted measures to address, inter alia, multiple and intersecting forms of  discrimination and ensure that all women and girls enjoy equal access, both in law and in practice, to social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure, which can, among others, contribute to the eradication of  poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty and, in particular, the feminization of poverty, and to the reduction of inequalities through the adoption, where needed, of laws and comprehensive policy measures and their effective and accelerated implementation and monitoring, ensuring women’s and girls’ access to justice and accountability for violations of their human rights; ensure that the provisions of multiple legal systems, where they exist, comply with international human rights obligations;

s. Promote and protect the rights of indigenous women and girls living in rural and remote areas by addressing  the  multiple  and  intersecting  forms  of  discrimination  and  barriers  they  face,  including violence,  ensuring  access  to  quality  and  inclusive  education,  health  care,  public  services,  economic resources, including land and natural resources, and women’s access to decent work, and promoting their meaningful participation in the economy and in decision-making processes at all levels and in all areas,  while  respecting  and  protecting  their  traditional  and  ancestral  knowledge,  recognizing  that indigenous  women  and  girls  living  in  rural  and  remote  areas, regardless of age, often face  violence and higher rates of poverty, limited access to health care services, information  and  communication  technologies  (ICT),  infrastructure,  financial  services,  education  and employment,   while   also   recognizing   their   cultural,   social,   economic,   political   and   environmental contributions, including to climate change mitigation and adaptation;

t. Promote and protect the rights of women and girls with disabilities, who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, including by ensuring access, on an equal basis with others, to economic and financial resources and disability-inclusive and accessible social infrastructure, transportation, justice mechanisms and services, in particular in relation to health and education and productive employment and decent work for women with disabilities, as well as by ensuring that the priorities and rights of women and girls with disabilities are fully incorporated into policies and programmes, and that they are closely consulted and actively involved in decision-making processes;

u. Adopt national gender-responsive migration policies and legislation, in line with relevant obligations under international law, to protect the human rights of all migrant women and girls,
regardless of migration status; to recognize the skills and education of women migrant workers to promote their economic empowerment in all sectors and, as appropriate, facilitate their productive employment, decent work and integration into the labour force, including in the fields of education and science and technology; recognize the importance of protecting labour rights and a safe environment for women migrant workers and those in precarious employment including preventing and addressing abuse and exploitation, protecting women migrant workers in all sectors and promoting labour mobility; provide newly arrived migrant women with targeted, genderresponsive, child-sensitive, accessible and comprehensive information and legal guidance on their rights and obligations, including on compliance with national and local laws, obtaining of work and resident permits, status adjustments, registration with authorities, access to justice to file complaints about rights violations, as well as access to basic services; encourage cooperation among various stakeholders including countries of origin, transit and destination in ensuring that migrant women and girls have adequate  identification and the provision of relevant documents to facilitate access to social protection mechanisms; and facilitate the sustainable reintegration of returning migrant women and girls by providing them with equal access to social protection and services;

v. Take measures to adopt or develop legislations and policies that provide rural women’s access to land and support women’s cooperatives and agricultural programmes, including for subsistence agriculture and fisheries, in order to contribute to school feeding programmes as a pull factor to keep children, in particular girl children, in school, noting that school meals and take-home rations attract and retain children in schools and recognizing that school feeding is an incentive to enhance enrolment and reduce absenteeism, especially for girls;

w. Strengthen efforts to achieve universal access to HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support, and provide HIV-sensitive social protection measures, including cash transfers and other multisectoral programmes, as appropriate, to ensure access to health-care, education, housing and employment for all women and girls, living with, at risk of, or affected by HIV and AIDS, including co-infections and other sexually transmitted infections; address their specific needs and concerns without stigma or discrimination, and promote the active and meaningful participation, contribution and leadership of women and girls living with HIV and AIDS in HIV and AIDS responses;

x. Promote the effective and meaningful participation of older women, where relevant, in the design and implementation of normative and political frameworks related to social security and social protection systems, public services and infrastructure that benefit them;

y. Promote access to social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure and mainstream a gender perspective when designing and monitoring public policies, and, taking into account the specific needs and realities of women and girls of African descent and bearing in mind the Programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent;

z. Ensure that women and girls belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities have equal and non-discriminatory access to social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure, including quality education, and take steps to provide affordable child care and affordable transportation to and from work;

http://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/csw/csw63%20ac_adopted_for%20submission.pdf?la=en&vs=852
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Friday, April 12, 2019

Commission on the Status of Women Sixty-third session 11 – 22 March 2019 Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls Agreed conclusions 6/10




    41. The Commission stresses the importance of strengthening the voice, agency, participation and leadership of women and girls as users and beneficiaries of social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure. It also acknowledges the full, equal, effective and meaningful participation and leadership of women at all levels of decision-making in the design, development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies in these sectors so that they support the empowerment of women and girls and address remaining gaps and biases.

      42. The Commission welcomes the major contributions made by civil society, including women’s and community-based organizations, feminist groups, women human rights defenders, girls’ and youth-led organizations and trade unions in placing the interests, needs and visions of women and girls, including those living in rural areas, on local, national, regional and international agendas, including the 2030 Agenda. It also recognizes the importance of having an open, inclusive and transparent engagement with civil society in the implementation of measures to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

43. The Commission reaffirms the importance of significantly increasing investments to close resource gaps for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls through, inter alia, the mobilization of financial resources from all sources, including domestic and international resource mobilization and allocation, the full implementation of official development assistance commitments and combating illicit financial flows, so as to build on progress achieved and strengthen international cooperation, including North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation, bearing in mind that South-South cooperation is not a substitute for, but rather a complement to, North-South cooperation. It also affirms that accelerated investments in social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure, including in rural areas and outer islands are important for the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.

44. The Commission underscores that, for all countries, public policies and the mobilization and effective use of domestic resources, underscored by the principle of national ownership, are central to the common pursuit of sustainable development, including social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure, and recognizing that domestic resources are first and foremost generated by economic growth, supported by an enabling environment at all levels, including wellfunctioning, efficient and transparent tax systems.

45. The Commission recognizes the importance of a conducive external environment in support of national efforts towards the economic empowerment of women, through promoting the control, ownership, management and participation of women in all sectors and levels of the economy, which includes the mobilization of adequate financial resources, capacity-building and the transfer of technology on mutually agreed terms, which in turn would enhance the use of enabling technologies to promote women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment.

46. The Commission recognizes the importance of the full engagement of men and boys as agents and beneficiaries of change, and as strategic partners and allies in the promotion of women’s and girls’ access to social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure and in the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.


http://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/csw/csw63%20ac_adopted_for%20submission.pdf?la=en&vs=852
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