Have your say: UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment

Photo credit: UN Women/Ryan Brown

On 21 January 2016, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the first-ever High-Level Panel (HLP) on Women’s Economic Empowerment. 

The HLP will provide thought leadership and mobilize concrete actions aimed at closing economic gender gaps that persist around the world. The Panel will provide recommendations on: 
  1. The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to improve economic outcomes for women and promote women’s leadership in driving sustainable and inclusive, environmentally sensitive economic growth
  2. Key actions that can be taken by governments, the private sector, the UN system and other stakeholders
  3. Policy directives needed to achieve the new targets and indicators in the Sustainable Development Goals. 
On 15 March 2016, during the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, the UN Secretary-General will convene the panel to seek inputs and suggestions to the work of the HLP. On the 16th March (10.30-11.30 am) the HLP will have an open consultation with CSW stakeholders in the ECOSOC Chamber and we expect your e-discussion to contribute to the deliberations of the Panel. 

On what specific issues would you like the Panel to focus? What concrete actions could they mobilize?

  • SINDHU NAMBIATH
    Glad to see the current initiative of the United Nations towards the economic empowerment of women. As per my understanding, we need to focus on and analyze these three aspects; care economy & unpaid work, where women contribute maximum; unequal wage for the same work and right to property & assets. While the initial two are derivatives of conventional & expected role of women in a society, while the other two are the stubborn manifestations of this perceived universal notion in the neoliberal economic regime. The need of the hour is not only to decipher the factors contributing to such situations, including the drivers, catalysts and neutral forces, and their implications to women’s lives. It also entails understanding the obvious & hidden as well as tacit & tangible processes underlying.
  • Beverley Smith
    I am hoping that we empower women to follow their dreams. Being forced to have a paid job when their hearts are home, to be with a baby or sick child, is not empowerment. I think we need to broaden the discussion to ensure that the vehicle is money to empower women, and status, to empower them, but not just through formal paid work definitions. The unpaid care sector is one third of a GDP and cannot be ignored for its contribution to the economy. We must enable women (and men ) who are caregivers to also share in the recognition. Benefits for maternity, care of children, pensions should flow with the caregiving task, not being dependent on paid work of the parent. Most women want paid work and have it much of their lives but let's not penalize them for the times when they are not at paid work, but taking care of others.
    • Meena Acharya
      The issue about unpaid work is a fundamental to economic empowerment of women, both for facilitating their market entry and according dignity to those who cose to stay at home and look after the children, old and the other family members and their work. This work is a basic need for survival of the humanity. But why has it been so difficult to convince the die-hard economist, is hard to understand. So the UN system itself through its Statistical Office intensify the efforts to develop reasonably acceptable methodology, and the UN require that, such information be an integral part of the annual report of the Secretary General to the General Assembly.
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  • Uchechi Emelogu
    Gender equality will be achieved only when women and men enjoy the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all spheres of life. This means sharing equally in the distribution of power and influence, and having equal opportunities for financial independence, education and realizing their personal ambitions. Gender equality demands the empowerment of women, with a focus on identifying and redressing power imbalances and giving women more autonomy to manage their own lives. When women are empowered, whole families benefit, and these benefits often have a ripple effect on future generations. Gender equality benefits not only women, but their families and communities as well. The roles that men and women play in society are not biologically determined. They are socially, economically, politically, determined, changing and changeable and while they may be justified as being required by culture or religion, these roles vary widely by locality and evolve over time.
    • Nataliia Kolosova
      Dear Uchechi, it's said very correctly, thank you so much for sharıng these nıce true thoughts! but guess, women should be more demanding for their equality and opportunities to close economic gender gaps... for example here in Ukraine many people prefer to think that it's better for a woman to get married, to born a child till some certain age; many Ukrainians don't wish to think that women should have the same opportunities, be involved in "man's job", rise own business. Young ladies often are aimed to find rich husband or sponsor. I'm trying to succeed into another way: I am a sales agent selling steel goods and I'm in touch mainly with men from various parts of the world. Some of them say: "I am impressed. It's good to be a business woman". But mainly I am asked: "How can you do this"? Customers wonder too: "How can you work with them (Turkish , for example). Personally I love talking to people of different culture, religion, age,.. It makes mind more flexible.. So above the all we need change in our mentality. And such women like me and more successful women should show their example to encourage, motivate other women, to talk to men changing their perception of women.. Only our, woman's, perseverance, tenacity, wıll power, desire to develop ourselves and striving to success will help to enjoy the same opportunities, rights and obligations...
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  • Sheila Crook
    Moving Women's Empowerment to the next level... as UN Secretary General launches High Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment. Looking forward to the deliberations scheduled for Monday June 6th, 2016 in Ottawa, Canada.
  • Farid Akhter
    The biggest threat to the Planet Earth is Rapid Running Out of the Resources sasrai-Movement must be the Central to Realizing Sustainable Global Development Ensure Peace, Justice, Dignity, Rights, Prosperity, Security for Each No matter Climate Changing or Not, Ice Melting or Not – We must stop Consumption Competition/Addiction https://www.facebook.com/fgaleeb/media_set?set=a.1698354653753742.1073741883.100007376703347&type=3&pnref=story https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1045800938775669.1073741873.410048385684264&type=3
  • Catherine wachu
    Hello, I think this is a wonderful way forward, I am currently working Dadaab, with a program that aims to keep girls in school. This program has been funded by WUSC and UK-aid. It gives scholarships to refugee girls in Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps. I would propose that as the high panel sits to discuss and come up with ways of finding a sustainable development concept to support the WEE concept , I look around Dadaab and see that more needs to be done example educating the family, the society at large on disengaging with retrogressive culture that undermines women i.e. early marriage, not being allowed to attend school, also another key issue would be, how do they learn to appreciate what they are given and have the idea that 'work gives meaning to life' lastly I think we need a recycling project a trip around the camp lies a lot of non degradable plastic water bottles
    • Farid Akhter
      This is crystal clear to all `the biggest threat to the present Planet Earth is Rapid Running Out of the Resources.’ The central cause of this situation is Consumption Addiction/Over Consumption, Purchase, Possession and Profit mindset that drives unsustainable production and unjustified natural resource extraction. Totality brings much other sequence first one is waste that creates unhealthy hazardous living for us - finally will cease the planetary system. We know that earth is heading for irreversible catastrophic climate change that will threaten Life, livelihood, survival, sustainability. We must get each one Consumption Addiction Free. We must get each one in a mind `let’s try to save a bit no matter how small it is.’ Profit, Purchase and Possession Prompted/Propelled Pondering Plan and Projection is Creating Pollution in every step of life. And women are repeatedly deprived due to Consumption and Possession Addiction. To Empower women or Poorer we must realized the root cause of problem. sasrai-Movement must be the Central to Realizing Sustainable Global Development to Ensure Peace, Justice, Dignity, Rights, Prosperity, Security for Each. No matter Climate Changing or Not, Ice Melting or Not – We must stop Consumption Competition/Addiction
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  • Sohna Aminatta Ngum
    The Vice President and Special Envoy on Gender of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Ms. Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi was invited to address Consultations of the UN Secretary General's High Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment during CSW60. Ms. Fraser-Moleketi delivered the following statement: The AfDB has high expectations - audaciousness, and nothing less. There is no option to go lower than what is already stated and committed; the Bank will contribute to transform Africa's agenda. The AfDB will deal with issues of discrimination and attitudes. The AfDB Financing Facility will ensure that women have access to finance, and we need your support to ensure that there are no unnecessary filters. The Bank and relevant stakeholders should work on dealing with filters in the financial sector in a more sustainable manner. No economic area should be viewed as non-traditional for women. The AfDB is currently mainstreaming gender across operations. There is a need for involvement from both the private and public sector. Women should and will light Africa; feed Africa; industrialise Africa; improve the quality of life of Africans; and integrate Africa.
  • Katherine Scourtes
    I agree with all the suggestions so far but I would like to add the following: Empowering of women is often hindered by men who do not realize the value women add to the economy and well being of the society for the benefit of all - including men. I suggest therefore, that a big effort must be made to educate men, and particularly influential leaders of communities, regarding the societal benefits of economically empowered women, even if this effort has to confront (gently and skillfully) some long held religious misconceptions.
  • Chandra Ulinfun
    I'd like to see discussed the development and support of females in STEM programs as there are so many new technological advances rapidly occurring. With these advances, they can aid in the development of newer sustainability initiatives.
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  • Freda Miriklis
    Commonwealth Businesswomen Network (CBW) was invited to address the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment and delivered this statement on behalf of CBW at the Public Consultation of the High-Level Panel on Tuesday 15th March. The statement was delivered (in part) to meet with the timing restrictions and comes ahead of recommendations that CBW will be sharing with the secretariat. Statement given by Freda Miriklis, Co-chair, Commonwealth Businesswomen Network to the consultation for the UN High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, during UN CSW60, March 2016. Congratulations to the High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment for having convened this important consultation; we are delighted to address the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. CBW is the only accredited organisation focused on women’s economic empowerment that is recognized by the 53 governments of the Commonwealth across 5 continents. We’ve spent a lot of time speaking to women in business, government and the private sector and for us, the way to make women’s economic empowerment real and enduring is to focus on what we refer to as simply the 3Ts – Trade, Talent and Training. In Trade, we have established the first multilateral trade missions where we are taking women from several countries to a single country - and we delivered on that last week in Sri Lanka. Next stop, South Africa. CBW identifies Talent through our collaboration with the world’s leading professional body for headhunters and through the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Awards, inaugurated during the CHOGM Women’s Forum last year in Malta. In Training we up-skill and build capacity in procurement, entrepreneurship and women on boards. All of this enables outcomes that are impactful, measureable, scaleable. CBW offers the High-Level Panel partnership and good methodology in order to scale up and realize the multiplier effect throughout the Commonwealth and beyond. Allow me to conclude with a message from our new Commonwealth Secretary General Designate – the first woman ever to hold the post in the Commonwealth - Patricia Scotland - who states that, “the time for women’s economic empowerment is now in the Commonwealth – one billion women cannot wait”. Thank you. For more information on CBW ‘s work on Women’s Economic Empowerment please contact Arif Zaman arif.zaman@cwbusinesswomen.org.
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  • Josee Ntabahungu
    I am sharing this statement which I delivered on behalf of CARE International at the Public Consultation of the High-Level Panel on Tuesday 15th March. This statement comes ahead of our fuller recommendations which we will be sharing with the secretariat shortly. Statement given by Josee Ntabahungu from CARE Burundi to the consultation for the UN High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, UN CSW60, March 2016. Thank you very much for giving me the floor. CARE International’s core recommendation to the High Level Panel is to invest in financial inclusion for women – supporting them to organise and save together into savings groups, to invest in each other and their families and grow their own businesses. We call for women worldwide to be supported to save, get financial education, be included into formal financial system as everyone. To realise financial inclusion for everyone, it is critical that governments, civil society and private sector – especially banks work together to provide responsible financial products and services. Women must be seen and helped to be included as profitable core business, and not be seen as vulnerable people. Having done savings groups at CARE International for 25 years, we have seen many women increasing their leadership, coming out of poverty, bringing up their families through the economic empowerment they got. Let me give you one example: Goretti Nyabenda, of Ngozi, a woman who has never touched before the equivalent of more than 50 cents of USA dollars in her hands, but through being part of a saving group, she has been able to put 5 children through school, renovate her house and grown herself esteem to become a community leader. Gorethi is one of the 7 Million women gathered into savings and loans groups all over the world. Thank you. For more information on CARE International’s work on Women’s Economic Empowerment please contact Fiona Jarden Jarden@careinternational.org or Lotte Ten Hoove tenhoove@carenederland.org
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  • We are sharing Purna Sen’s statement at the Public Consultation of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel; held on behalf of the Global Migration Group. Purna Sen is Director of Policy at UN Women, chair of the Global Migration Group in 2016. Co-Chairs, Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, UN Women is delighted to address the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment as Chair of the Global Migration Group in 2016. The Global Migration Group is an inter-agency group that brings together 18 UN entities to encourage coherent, comprehensive and better coordinated approaches to the issue of international migration. I would like to highlight three reasons why the Global Migration Group believes the situation of women migrant workers should be a subject of consideration by the Panel. First, remittances are a powerful force for the economic empowerment of migrant women as well as of women left behind who receive remittances. In 2016, global remittances are expected to total US$601 billion, US$440 billion of which will be received by developing countries. This figure is three times higher than the total official development assistance worldwide. Reducing transaction costs of remittances, as agreed in paragraph 40 of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and target 10.c of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development will be crucial for migration to work for the economic empowerment of all women and girls. Second, orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration can be an empowering process for women that establish a better life at their destination as well as in their community of origin, upon voluntary return with enhanced skills and financial means. Third, gender-based discrimination in migration policies and in labor markets hinders the economic empowerment of women. For some women, migration can be significantly disempowering, especially when they end up in unregulated sectors of the economy where they are more vulnerable to discrimination, violence, sexual abuse, or even human trafficking – so much so the UN Secretary-General provides a biennial report to the UN General Assembly on Violence Against Women Migrant Workers. Therefore, in the deliberations of the Panel, we suggest you consider key factors for the economic empowerment of migrant women, particularly as they relate to migration policy, education, opportunities for entrepreneurship, traditional labor markets and unregulated sectors. For example, the Panel could recommend measures to capture and address the precarious circumstances sometimes faced by migrant women workers recorded in the report of the Secretary-General1 that include: - Women and girls who perform domestic work being particularly vulnerable to abuse; - Care workers routinely facing serious human rights abuses owing to the invisible nature of their workplace. May we further suggest that the report of the Panel recommend Member States make concerted efforts to deliver on their commitment to SDG target 17.18 that calls for States to capture data disaggregated by, inter alia, gender and migratory status. In conclusion, the Global Migration Group would like to underline the importance of collecting data and reporting the findings on the specific situation of migrant women workers under SDG indicator 5.2.2. That is, when measuring the “Proportion of women and girls (aged 15-49) subjected to sexual violence by persons other than an intimate partner, since age 15”. Thank you very much.
    • Badejoko Fabamise
      Truly development is crucial for the economic empowerment of migrant women. I quite agree
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  • We are sharing Ms. Arancha González’ statement at the Public Consultation of the High-Level Panel. Ms. Arancha González, an expert in international trade issues with 20 years of experience, serves as Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC) since September 2013. Members of the United Nations High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment Ladies and Gentlemen, On behalf of the International Trade Centre (ITC), the joint development agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, I thank you for the opportunity to present views on women’s economic empowerment to feed into the work of the UN High-Level Panel. This is an opportunity for a concerted effort focused on reduction in violence against women, education for women and girls, and political representation anchored around the economic pillar. It is an opportunity to emphasise how economically empowering women can have a game changing impact on the growth of our economies and for decent jobs. We expect the report, which will be an outcome of the HLP, to be a transformative and operational one. It is critical to get the narrative right. It has to be about the economic benefits of the participation of women in the economy and the costs to our economies if women are not fully integrated. In terms of specifics I would highlight ITC’s 50 years of experience in supporting women entrepreneurs to trade and suggest that the HLP addresses: 1. Data collection and analysis- the indicators developed for monitoring the SDGs are not sufficient to fully capture gender disaggregated data and evidence on the economic component of women’s contributions. It is important to understand the granularity of the data if operational recommendations can be made. 2. Procurement- the potential inherent in using public and corporate procurement to bring women owned small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) into the supply chain is vast. ITC’s research in this area has revealed how developing gender aware procurement policies can have an impact on sourcing from women entrepreneurs. ITC’s guide to governments to assist them in better aligning their procurement policies is a concrete tool that can be further rolled out 3. Entrepreneurs- examining the barriers that prevent women from benefiting from trade and identifying what is required to build their capacity to trade must be a priority in the report. Examining the informal sector and the particular state of women entrepreneurs in rural areas; addressing certification issues for getting their goods to market; and looking at access to finance and credit are important elements. ITC’s recent work on unlocking the barriers to getting women to market provides important sign posts to build on. 4. Laws, regulations and trade policy- ownership rights, contracts and ensuring the right business and trade policies are critical elements to be considered if we are to realise the potential of Women's economic empowerment. 5. Technology- this is a game changer for how business is transacted in terms of tools, transparency and outreach. ITC’s recent launch of the shetrades app (www.shetrades.com) is one such tool to connect women entrepreneurs with each other and to the market. In our work at ITC, we have mainstreamed economic empowerment of women within our interventions, projects and programmes. The recently launched ITC ‘call to action’ highlighted a series of issues that can help women get to the market: Data, Trade Policies, Public Procurement, Corporate Procurement, Certification of Ownership, Supply Side Constraints, Financial Services and Ownership and Control of Assets. ITC looks forward to contributing to the work and report of the HLP and pledge our support to a forward looking, tangible outcome. Thank you.
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  • Veronica Ngum Ndi
    I will like issues on women with disabilities to be discussed, concrete resolutions and actions mobilize
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  • We are sharing Miamah Grace’s statement at the Public Consultation of the High-Level Panel. Miamah Grace is an 18-year-old high school student, born in Monrovia, Liberia. In 2010, she joined the Sisters with Power Rites of Passage program with Liberia’s Helping Our People Excel (H.O.P.E.), Inc. She is also an active member of the Girls Advocacy Forum (GAF) advocating for the rights of adolescent girls in Liberia. Through her work with H.O.P.E. Inc., she developed a strong interest in mentoring girls who were engaging in transactional sex and victims of statutory rape. Her passion is to show young women how to love and care for themselves. Hello distinguished delegates. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak on this high level panel on behalf of the girls of Liberia. I’m Miamah Grace, 18, from Liberia. Girls face many challenges in Liberia like anywhere else in the world. Some of these challenges include rape, early marriage (beginning at age 14), teen pregnancy and transactional sex for food, school fees, and other things. Now, if we empower women and girls with financial resources, education, prioritize us in policies that affect us, value us and keep us in school, this will pave the way to a better and brighter future. Not only for us but for the next generation. Thank you very much.
  • Nwedobong Okon
    1. To improve economic outcomes for women, there should be an implementation of gender sensitive loaning rules allowing especially rural women farmers to access loans at a much flexible return rate. This should also apply to women marketers and owners of small and medium scale enterprises. 2. As a Nigerian, we have suffered two major setbacks since the onset of the new regime, these setbacks have impinged on women's right and women's economic empowerment. The first was the abolishing of the office of the first lady while the second has been the refusal to approve the equal gender opportunity bill. I would expect that the UN system should determine and establish the percentage of women that MUST be included in policy making worldwide. It should be made into a law and passed around and that way, there will be equal inclusion of men and women in policy making worldwide. 3. Having attended the CSW 59 & 60, i have heard statistics for some of the targeted agendas remaining the same or being higher than it was previously despite concerted efforts to make changes in this sector and seeming/or actual availability of funds. It seems that there are people who meet the online criteria to merit the funds yet do not implement what the funds are intended for. Based on these, i would suggest that there should be increased supervision over the NGOS that are awarded contracts and there should be on-site supervision of work done. There should be a pre and post evaluation of statistics in target region so that there can be evidence based changes.
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  • madeleine white
    On International Women’s Day 2015, I was in Kurdistan, addressing an audience of hundreds of men and women looking to celebrate the strides women had made in both Kurdistan and Iraq as a whole. This year I spent the day in the City of London participating in the launch of a new approach to Impact investment - Access to Capital for Rural Enterprises (ACRE) and then flew across to Munich to take part in a discussion forum that looked at the role corporations have to play in supporting growth in emerging economies. The week’s activities culminated in addressing Africa’s Economy Equality Gap in a panel discussion at the Commonwealth Africa Summit in London yesterday. FULL Write-up here http://challenges-group.com/index.php/2016/03/17/perspectives-around-international-womens-day-2016-development-delivered-sustainably-profit/ In the end, what people are really looking for is employment, not just a job. Women and men want to participate in a formal economy. The transformation of enterprises is led by the transformation of individual expectations. The transition point starts with an individual who believes that he or she can and then starts leading communities into building sustainable, inclusive economies. At the moment a disproportionate number of women believe that they can’t. By linking human dignity to economic need we transform the aspirations of women and indeed whole nations. Through my organisation the Challenges Group and affiliated INGO, Challenges worldwide, I am able to support this new paradigm with significant live data - if you read my full article you will see why I think real stories and real measures are critical if we are to drive economic gender equity.
    • Thank you very much for sharing inputs with us.
    • Rochelle Dean
      I agree with you Madeleine. See this link to my article on human development highlighting the need to be valued which is a key component of human dignity. http://www.tribune242.com/news/2016/mar/07/insight-human-development-key-alleviating-poverty/ Its very refreshing to be in an inclusive arena of women who understand the importance of human development and how important it is for healthy economic systems. I think its so important that women learn to be that champion, that woman who believes she can.
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  • Sabina Zunguze
    Beyond access to finance and education, the HLP need to look into some of the archaic cultural practices that are pulling women down in a lot of the developing countries.
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  • Rochelle Dean
    The panel should focus on the fact that many organizations do not support or want women to be empowered. Its important that the panel derive strategic opportunities to encourage women to engage in participatory measures that will foster further opportunities for economic growth and equality, but also, to ensure that women are aware of the dangers visible or implied to this particular goal. I believe that women must be in a place of self awareness and cognitive of the fact that the gender gap is present not due to lack of enthusiasm but due to many seen and even unseen and implied dangers that may be misconceived notions that encourage an unequal tilt in the progression toward sustainable development outcomes for women.
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  • Emilienne Kouoh
    I plaid for that HLP insiste on social and financial empowerment of women of rural community at sud sahara because their activities feed cities and for them it is renumeration sorce which permit their survival and they are not imposed to leave village to do precarious life in town and to be exposed at many danger and violence
  • Amy Fallon
    According to the World Bank report Women Business and the Law 2016, "of the 173 economies covered, 155 have at least one law that differentiates between women and men. These inequalities impede development, hinder prosperity and undermine national competitiveness." This statistic is shocking and unacceptable, what will the panel do to tackle this issue?
  • Sheila Crook
    It will require collaboration and innovative partnerships between all stakeholders -CEOs from large corporations, leaders in businesses of all sizes, governments at all levels, civil society and organized labour to make Planet 50-50 by 2030 a reality. Can the panel provide some concrete ways that governments can create a business climate that promotes an incentive rich culture for women's economic empowement. Sheila Crook, Global Champion Alumni - Canada
  • Farah Bouras
    Many thanks for this opportunityAs an Algerian young entrepreneur, and active member in many cultral and young development association, we would like you to focus on financial issues and women in economical and high tech position to encourage them to go ahead and get a self esteem that they also can run those positions. We still in Algeria and africa have some troubles when we talk about gender equality in economical, cultrual and social terms as we are a patriarchal countries, even if we pretend reverse. Also we have to focus on Health culture in remotes villages in north of africa and south of Africa as mortality are higher.
  • Claudette Hayle
    I am delighted to have the opportunity to participate in these (HLPs) on Women's Economic Empowerment. My recommendation is that the convening panel focus on the Financial, Economic and Social empowerment of women farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, where women account for 60% of the Agricultural workforce. However, in most Sub-Saharan countries women are prohibited from land ownership and as a result, lack the collateral which land ownership provides for accessing financing. These (HCLs) have the potential to garner the political will through Governance to change local laws affecting Women's Rights to Land Ownership and as a result empower Access to Capital, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Community Building.
  • Sabin Muzaffar
    I have had the pleasure of interviewing a couple of eminent women - especially from the Population Council - working for the cause of adolescent girls. The Girls in Emergencies Collaborative is a groundbreaking initiative that strives to empower girls and leverage their untapped potential to alleviate issues arising because of humanitarian crises - be it conflict, disease or natural disasters. To quote my article: "Among the billions of people at increased risk are adolescents (10- to 19-year-olds), who account for 1 in 5 people in the world, or about 1.2 billion. The vast majority – 90 percent – of adolescents live in developing countries (including China), and approximately 510 million of this group are girls. The poorest adolescent girls living in the poorest communities – roughly more than 200 million girls living in households in the bottom two wealth quintiles – are at special risk for being deleteriously affected by climate change. Nonetheless, adolescent girls are not currently a specifically targeted, high-risk group in humanitarian relief efforts during emergencies, nor are they specifically engaged as a population whose involvement could advance national adaptation plans to mitigate the effects of climate change." There is a dire need for a gender action plan that focuses on adolescent girls in the poorest, high risk regions of the world. It is important to not only realise, understand, acknowledge as well as leverage the tremendous potential in adolescent girls but also to develop their capacity to take social and economic action, which are appropriate for their age as a recovery process.
  • Robert Michira Oichi
    I would like the panel to focus on employment opportunities for the women who already have education and skills. I know there is a quite number of women with education but there are not working. There might be no jobs locally but else where there is job opportunities. Countries need to partner with each other counties so that they can be allowed to export manpower and create equal societies. Countries need to remove work permits that bar people moving from one country to the other looking for job opportunities. Advanced countries should be in forefront in allowing women and youths to migrate freely while looking for job opportunities. First of all remove this logical barriers we have set for our people across the world. Man was created to move freely from one place to the other. For countries to achieve real gender equality, is when we will remove boundaries and learn to share what we have in excess. Advanced countries need to share job opportunities that can not be done by locals while 3rd world countries share excess manpower. This way we will forever live on peace. Women want JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! JOB OPPORTUNITIES! SELFISHNESS and greediness is what is killing our societies. EDUCATION is a gateway to successful life and is one way to empower women economically, how about owning assets? Women want to make extra coin that they will use to invest in assets. Education without assets means difficult to inspire. other women which leads to early marriages and increased school dropouts. Women need financial security and this is what will protect women against violence from their spouses and society in general. A woman who is financially stable is more respected by the society than educated woman who is poor. Women and youths need to be involved 80% in implementing SDGs. Without that it will be preaching to them with no tangible action. Private and public organizations need to give grants to both women and youths to invest in real estate and energy. This means they will get engaged locally while developing their countries. NGOs working on gender equality should switch their focus from urban areas to rural areas where the real problem is. Most NGOs are based in urban areas claiming working with locals when in the essence, are enriching themselves at the expense of the poor. Multinational organizations that are working towards poverty eradication and gender equality need to go to real the people who deserve their economic standards uplifted. Accounts of NGOs receiving funds from developed countries need to be audited yearly and make sure most of the money received does not go to pockets of individuals as salaries rather to the society.
  • Michel Choto
    Thank you for this opportunity. The Panel needs to focus on rights of girls. We cannot talk about gender equality and women and economic empowerment if we do not empower the girlchild, because girls are the future. Policies need to be in place to allow marginalised girls to have access to education. More countries need to come on board in illegalising child marriages. We applaud the African countries who have so far heeded the call. Gambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, however over and above that measures need to be put in place to economically empower these girls. Access to Education being the most critical. I believe that breaking the cycle of poverty starts with a god foundation of education which increases opportunities for the girlchild. Secondly, girls and women need to have access to sanitary ware. Its a basic human right and yet in most countries sanitary pads and tampons are still deemed luxury goods. Why? Governments need to remove tax on sanitary products and make them easily accessible for all girls and women.
  • Tiina Bruno

    I would wish for the panel to focus on the value of parenthood for the employer (i.e. companies and organizations) besides the value for children and parents. We need more so-called "Parent-Smart" companies in the world - organizations that know and show what they get back from investing in support for the combination of work and parenthood, payed parental leave etc. Parents develop many skills that are highly valuable to companies, not at least in modern leadership. These competencies can be considered an enormous, but often hidden, potential for both employers, managers and employees. More Parent-Smart Companies will contribute to the strive in many countries to change norms and attitudes for helping both women and men live a “whole life”, without having to choose between work and family. It adds to more gender equal and sustainable workplaces, serving as a lever for more gender equal sustainable societies, no matter where in the world.

    In Sweden we have a long history of supporting parents with paid parental leave etc. and many employers invest in practical support, being what we call "parent-friendly companies". They have now started realizing that if they actively work to harness parents’ competencies, showing that parenthood is a benefit at work and not a burden, they become more attractive as employers, increase their productivity and at the end, their profitability.

    The Swedish pioneer initiative called "ParentSmart Companies" brings together a whole set of methods and tools for both implementing practical support and developing norms and attitudes concerning parenthood and work. The initiative has during the last years got a lot of interest in areas like Eastern Europe, Japan etc. since it shows a whole new and innovative perspective that provides leverage for more gender equal workplaces and societies. The value of parenthood at work is a universal fact but would need some enlightenment in all countries, regardless of culture, family traditions, legislation etc. It serves as a concrete universal example to start making use of ALL competence available in a smarter way.

  • Shabnam Bahar Malik
    Its a great opportunity to be part of this HLP discussion for women empowerment. Its nothing new, I remember being part of CIDA's Women in Development (WID) Mission to Pakistan back in 1985, and in 2014, I happened to be part of a UNIDO women's entrepreneurial program for creative industries, with a group of 40 women, and I felt women are at the same place where they were in 1985 unfortunately. Making HLPs will not take care of women's economic empowerment unless they are provided with real marketing opportunities, improving their skills on modern lines, and provide them access to national and international markets where they could sell what they are making. Millions of women are making wonderful stuff here in Pakistan, but I do not really feel as a small entrepreneur myself that someone has done any concrete work to change women's lives and economically empower them so far. We really have to focus on establishing display and sales centers and special markets for women where they can sell their products. Access to markets is the real hurdle and issue here that needs urgent attention followed by a genuine action on a large scale, if we really mean this Women Empowerment debate.
  • Teresa Abila
    Thank you for engaging us in this important e-discussion.For long, gender equality and women's economic empowerment have been regarded as a non-issue and the question would be how to own the SDGs and address inequalities that still exist.In this regard, the panel should put more emphasis on the economic policies that can play important roles in improving rules on parental leave,where there will be inclusion of men in early childhood programs.The panel should also focus on the current tech landscape in which women are still less.For the rural women,the issue of balancing unpaid and paid care works(valuation of women's work),use of contraceptives for family planning,child's labour,FGM and violence against women.
  • Tonny Okello
    The panel should focus on Women/girl education and poverty and women. These are one of the most hindering factors affecting effective implementation of the MDGs. Poverty leads to vulnerability and susceptible to early marries, drop out from school and thus dependence. With equally opportunities to quality education for women/girls, we shall build an informed, learned and skilled world were women/girls can make independent economic choices, compete for high jobs and thus empower girls and women to live their full economic potentials.
  • Nelly Andrade
    After the MDGs, it was clear that much of the time issues were discussed in top-level and not always the discussion went all the way down into the beneficiaries. I would like to see how the implementation of the SDGs will enhance the voices of women that live in the most challenged situations and bring them into the conversation. Also, I would like to know that a proper monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will actually be held, so that, according to evidence, effective programs are taken place. So: 1. How to include women that live in the most vulnerable conditions into the conversations? 2. How can we know the programs implemented are actually the most effective ones? Is there a M&E system or process taken place for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda? 3. Will there be a impact investment tool for programs for women's economic empowerment?
  • Mary Achieng
    I would like the panel to emphasis on women education, mentor ship programs, teenage pregnancy and the right to family planning for teenagers, gender based violence, the role of young successful women in governance and elective posts, total participation of all women despite the barriers in economic empowerment agenda and corruption in Africa.
  • Joy Eze
    I believe women are the future of the development we all want.Investing and promoting women economic empowerment,and financial literacy will help to unlock most of the challenges women faces every now and then.More provocative awareness programs and campaigns,inviting men and all stakeholders to invest and promote women economic empowerment is very important to achieving women economic empowerment globally.
  • Elena del Barrio Álvarez
    Survivors of human trafficking have to be part of the Agenda to improve women economical and psychological empowerment. Actions with a psychological perspective are mandatory to achieve this goal
  • Melanie Bublyk
    Workplace discrimination to be addressed,factors that hinder economic empowerment such as age discrimination,disabilities,sexual harassment,workplace bullying.Gender based violence,human trafficking,Indigenous rights and empowerment, education parity,mentoring opportunities, women's leadership roles in governance,more inclusiveness and respect for human rights.
  • Suman Apparusu
    On 1)It would be pertinent for the HLP to consider setting up of green vocation skills and opportunities platform (s), green social enterprise accelerators that would enable women to take active part in building sustainable economies . On 2)HLP may consider pushing private sector to make the Board compositions more diverse, and design committees that will have atleast one women on every key committee, fund and nurture WEE platforms that can make their organizations more diverse and inclusive and importantly get serious about building strong non leaky women talent pipelines and offer genuine second career options for women that have taken a break for various reasons or want to re-enter the sectors. On 3) A couple of big data gender pilots, more local gender innovation labs (along the lines of the one that the World Bank is nurturing in SSA ) , GCF funding quotas that have exclusive and strong transformative focus on WEE , facilitating the setup of a global clearing house of information on gender tools /applications and exploring concrete pathways to apply gender lens on the gamut of SD indices may be considered by the HLP.
  • Vrajlal Sapovadia
    Women disability is associated due to lack of property right and subordinate status in marriage. The panel should advocate equal ownership and succession right in property.
  • Manal Aquil
    (1). I want panel to discuss about pregnancy, I want them to raise the issue that "number of children from a marriage should be decided by women and it should be Women's right (2).I would like panel to discuss about polygamous marriage which is allowed in ISLAM,why it is allowed ,in which circumstances it is allowed, and how Muslims are misusing it,how muslim women are suffering from polygamous marriage and In end I want UN to support monogamous marriage to empower Muslim women.
  • Hala Bugaighis
    I would like this panel to have a serious action plan that will commit all actors concerned with this issues, we all know the reasons that cause this issue and the various problem which differ from a country to a country, But what we want is a unified firm solution to enforce the concept of WEE.
  • Heeshma Chhatralia
    It would be nice to learn more about overcoming social and community stigma that create hurdles for women to progress and succeed economically. Education and skills development is another area that needs to be focused upon as it is the major influencer towards WEE and gender parity.
  • Ondiek Japheth
    Thanks for opening this,lets all be involved in this consultative process and use this network and platform to influence Agenda at the panel.
  • Ondiek Japheth
    This presents an great opportunity for consultations and legitimizing equality in wider perspective.I believe the independent panel will qualify the best practices from the existing documentation and use this to influence the legislation,corporate culture,civil society messages to promote workable and actionable agenda.Some of the key highlights i wish to be put forward are;Setting up the agenda for achieving concrete results on Equal pay for Women.Involving private sector in recognizing UN Women principles and equal participation at the board level,Sustainable Economic policies for Women.Economic Empowerment of Women is good for economy in all aspects
    • Vrajlal Sapovadia
      Sustainability and gender equality go hand in hand. This should be part of curriculum in all level education through proper story telling & case study + theoretical framework. This may be one of the PRME & Global Impact principle.
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  • Veronica Ngum Ndi
    Thanks for the great works. I will like the panel to have some focus on the specific needs of women/girls with disabilities:Discrimination, stigmatization, exclusion, non participation and limited chances to education,sexual and reproductive health rights and most important of all their economic empowerment for a sustainable livelihood.
  • Karen Sneha Moawad
    This is such an opportunity to change history! I would like the panel to focus on many divergent issues that face women and girls: 1) Human Trafficking / Slavery 2) Harassment and Violence 3) Child Marriage 4) Forced Migration 5) Unpaid Work 6) Open Defecation, unsanitary conditions 7) Killing female fetuses 8) Dowry system 9) Child Workers 10) Gender Inequality And I would love to see the focus of the solutions be education and literacy, skill training, women's health, women's economic empowerment, gender equality, and supply chain management.
  • Roman Girma Teshome
    I would like the panel to focus on girls education and fighting gender-based violence. I think these two areas are highly important to gender equality and women's economic empowerment.
  • Joy Eze
    Thanks for the great work you are doing, I will like the panel to focus on women economic empowerment as this is the stronghold of all nations, and I will like them to create more awareness about investing and promoting WEE at all level globally.
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