Twenty years after the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, and at a time when the global community is defining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the post-2015 era, the global consensus on the need to achieve gender equality seems stronger than ever before. Empowering women and girls is among the goals aspired to by all, from grassroots organizations, trade unions and corporations, to Member States and intergovernmental bodies. But how far has this consensus been translated into tangible progress on the ground, and what more is needed to bridge the gaps between rhetoric and reality?
Drawing on promising experiences from around the world, this Report proposes a comprehensive agenda for key policy actors— including gender equality advocates, national governments and international agencies—to make human rights a lived reality for all women and girls.
This Report focuses on the economic and social dimensions of gender equality, including the right of all women to a good job, with fair pay and safe working conditions, to an adequate pension in older age, to health care and to safe water without discrimination based on factors such as socio-economic status, geographic location and race or ethnicity. In doing so, it aims to unravel some of the current challenges and contradictions facing the world today: at a time when women and girls have almost equal opportunities when it comes to education, why are only half of women of working age in the labour force globally, and why do women still earn much less than men? In an era of unprecedented global wealth, why are large numbers of women not able to exercise their right to even basic levels of health care, water and sanitation?
As the Report shows, these inequalities are not inevitable. Economic and social policies can contribute to the creation of stronger economies, and to more sustainable and gender-equal societies, if they are designed and implemented with women’s rights at their centre.
The Report contains the following four main sections: