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Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 74/235 on women in development, in the present report, the Secretary-General considers global evidence and trends and reviews and assesses measures taken at the national level, since 2019, regarding gender-responsive poverty eradication, social protection, and labour market policies; women’s labour and human rights and ending gender-based discrimination; women’s entrepreneurship; women’s and girls’ unpaid care and domestic work and women’s paid care work; gender-based violence and sexual harassment; universal access to healthcare services, including sexual and reproductive health; and the right to education throughout the life cycle, taking into account the impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in these areas.
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This toolkit serves as an introductory reference for those working on care as a means to achieve gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls, and the Sustainable Development Goals and to promote the rights and wellbeing of care providers and recipients. It follows the “5R framework for decent care work”: Recognize, reduce, and redistribute unpaid care work, and reward and represent paid care work.
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This publication explores the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s economic empowerment in the tourism sector which has disproportionately affected women due to pre-existing gender inequalities and women’s predominance in the sector’s workforce. The document examines emerging research and data, identifies innovative responses across regions, and makes concrete recommendations for action to ensure that women’s economic empowerment is central to the COVID-19 response and recovery in the tourism sector.
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This brief analyses the extent to and ways in which countries in sub-Saharan Africa have made extensive use of social protection instruments to confront the economic and social fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on a unique data set of national social protection strategies from 30 countries in the region, it finds that while a significant number of strategies acknowledge gendered risks and vulnerabilities, few include specific actions to address them. The brief concludes with a set of recommendations.
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This study highlights the laws and policies in G7 countries that impact the lives of women. It showcases the progress of 350 companies (largest 50 companies in each G7 country) against Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) indicators, underscoring the importance of WEPs as a framework in providing concrete steps to advance women’s economic empowerment in the workplace, marketplace, and community.
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This paper argues for investing in free universal high quality childcare services in order to reduce gender inequality in earnings and employment. It estimates the employment-generating and fiscal effects of investing in free universal childcare in Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, and the United Republic of Tanzania. The study estimates the total costs of investing in childcare services to increase the enrollment (coverage) rate for children in formal childcare services to different target levels.
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This paper uses harmonized collections of national labor force datasets to compare the size and shape of the paid care sector around the globe. The paper then explores the relationship between the size of the care sector and various measures of need for care, finding very little evidence of relationship. Finally, the paper explores wages and working conditions for paid care workers in a subset of countries for which data is available.
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UN Women has emerged as a global leader in the promotion of the care economy, and this work has highlighted the urgent need to invest in childcare facilities through private and public partnerships to reduce women’s unpaid care work and to allow women to take an active role in the economy. This policy tool provides a blueprint for making a policy case for sustained investment in the care economy.

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This report explores some key indicators of women’s economic empowerment in labour markets and women’s political participation and economic leadership in the Indian Ocean Rim region through three dimensions: resources, agency, and achievements. It highlights good practices, case studies, and challenges and opportunities for investments and initiatives, and provides key recommendations for Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Member States and other stakeholders to realize women’s economic empowerment in the region.
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This brief presents emerging evidence on the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the care economy. It highlights key measures needed to address the increase in unpaid care work as a result of the pandemic, ensure adequate compensation and decent working conditions for paid care workers, and enable the participation of paid and unpaid caregivers in the policy decisions that affect them.
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Across the world, the care of children continues to be primarily provided by women and girls, and such a burden constrains their ability to participate equally in employment and social and political life, and to earn an income commensurate with that of men. The goal of this research is to measure and value women’s contribution to the economy through their unpaid care and domestic work responsibilities in the Republic of Serbia.
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How are women’s employment outcomes shaped by domestic and caregiving responsibilities? Drawing on a global dataset and new indicators developed by UN Women and the International Labour Organization, this paper provides insights into the distribution of domestic and caregiving responsibilities within various types of households—insights that are critical at this juncture when policies and programmes are being designed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic fallout.
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This brief explores the implications for the provision of essential services for women and girls who have experienced violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides recommendations for governments, civil society, and international organizations that are seeking to improve the quality of and access to coordinated health, police and justice, and social services for all women and girls during the crisis and provides examples of promising practices to date.
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This brief reviews a decade of feminist research on conditional cash transfers that has raised serious questions about the assumptions that underpin the use of conditionalities and their impact on poor women’s lives. It highlights concerns about the detrimental effects that conditionalities may have in contexts where quality public services are lacking and where multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination mean that well-intended programme requirements easily slip into coercive and disempowering implementation practices.
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This discussion paper begins by presenting an overview of the latest research on cash transfers, gender protection, and empowerment outcomes. It continues by discussing some of the programme design features to consider when seeking to improve gender outcomes. Finally, the paper concludes with a set of research questions that can help shape future research and practice in this area.
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This handbook provides practical guidance, elaborated with case studies, on how additional fiscal space can be created for a universal social protection system. The analyses should help governments on how they can increase spending on priority sectors for women, children, and vulnerable groups.
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This discussion paper presents a costing analysis for a set of family-friendly services and transfers: income protection for children, people of working age, and older persons; universal health coverage; and early childhood care and education and long-term care services. The costing shows that such a package is affordable in many countries.
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The 2019 “World survey” is focused on the reasons for the high levels of income poverty and time poverty among women and contains an analysis of the rationale for taking an integrated policy approach to addressing the double bind experienced by women in that regard, as a timely and relevant means of achieving sustainable development, in particular in low-income contexts.
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Recognizing the impact of gender inequality on the sexual and reproductive health of women and the health of their children, this programming guide provides practical guidance and tools to understand the influence of gender inequality on sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (SRMNCAH), and how to effectively integrate gender equality into programming.
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This study contributes to the policy debate on early childhood education and care (ECEC) expansion in the Kyrgyz Republic, and shows an estimated cost of providing universal childcare, it’s employment impact on men and women, as well as the tax revenue implication from the increased employment. The report argues that access to quality, formal ECEC plays a crucial role from the perspective of children as beneficiaries and parents as primary providers of care.