Sunday, March 8, 2015

Women’s voices: silenced and ignored IV/IV

That fact that women’s work is subsidising the world economy at a massive scale is also a reflection of gender discrimination at all levels of decision-making as well as the fact that voices of human rights defenders, both women and men, are silenced and ignored.
All over the world advances in respect for women and worker’s rights have been achieved largely as a result of the work of feminist organisations and trade unions.
However, governments and businesses continue to undermine rights to association and union representation, while union leaders and women human rights defenders suffer violence and harassment as a result of their work.
According to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), unions are increasingly under attack. The same trend is true for women human rights defenders, who are harassed because of the fact that they are women andbecause they stand up for women’s rights.

Discrimination is also visible in the corridors of power.
In January 2015, only 13 finance ministers worldwide, and on average only one in five parliamentarians, were women.
Even the world’s most privileged women suffer significant inequality in the economic sphere. Of the world’s 30 wealthiest people, only three are women. Globally, women constitute roughly 24% of senior management in mid-sized companies and in S&P 50098 companies they make up just 4% of CEOs.
Yet the effects of inequality in having a voice and making decisions are much more serious for women living and working in developing countries. In Ethiopia, men are five times more likely than women to hold leadership positions in cooperatives. Similarly, in garment factories in Bangladesh, just one in 20 supervisors is a woman.
Women’s limited representation, voice and leadership are both cause and consequence of gender inequality. While men can be important advocates for change, the lack of women in positions of power means that they are not able to advance politically, express their demands in political
processes, or influence the law or resource allocation directly. It is thus not surprising that out of 143 economies surveyed by the World Bank, as many as 90% have at least one law restricting economic equality for women, further driving them to the bottom of the economic pile.

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