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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