In Focus: CSW61

CSW61: Women's economic empowerment in the changing world of work

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The issue: Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work

The 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61), taking place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 13 – 24 March, 2017, will focus on the theme of “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.” The Commission is one of the largest annual gathering of global leaders, NGOs, private sector actors, United Nations partners and activists from around the world focusing on the status of rights and empowerment of all women and girls, everywhere.

This year’s session is taking place at a critical juncture, as the world of work is changing fast, spurred by innovation, globalization and increasing human mobility. At the same time, it is adversely impacted by climate change, humanitarian crises, rising informality of labour and economic inequality. For sustainable and healthy economies, the world of work must empower women and remove the persisting inequalities that hold women back from getting on equal footing with men.

From equal pay and women’s unpaid work to decent work, removing the barriers of discrimination and investing in women’s access to digital and green economies, UN Women unpacks the key issues for women in the changing world of work.

Photo essay

Changing world, Changing work

Thailand, 2015. UN Women/Pornvit Visitoran; Kenya, 2016. CIAT/Georgina Smith; Lebanon, 2015. UN Women/Joe Saad
Thailand, 2015. Photo: UN Women/Pornvit Visitoran.  | Lebanon, 2015. Photo: UN Women/Joe Saad. | Kenya, 2016. Photo: CIAT/Georgina Smith.

The world of work is changing fast, through innovation, increasing mobility and informality. But it needs to change faster to empower women, whose work has already driven many of the global gains in recent decades. Women still predominantly occupy jobs that pay less and provide no benefits. They earn less than men, even as they shoulder the enormous—and economically essential—burden of unpaid care and domestic work. Realizing women’s economic empowerment requires transformative change so that prosperity is equitably shared and no one is left behind. The international community has made this commitment in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Every woman should enjoy her right to decent work. As a global champion for gender equality and women’s empowerment, UN Women asks: What do we need to get there? Read more»

What does the data say?

Women in the global workforce

See full infographic»

Top stories



What is the real value of unpaid work?

Around the world, women do the vast majority of the unpaid work, including child care, cooking, cleaning and farming. This unpaid work is essential for households and economies to function, but it is also valued less than paid work. UN Women expert Shahra Razavi reveals the real value of unpaid care, and how we can reduce the burden on women by tackling entrenched stereotypes.

Beyond Tanganyika

Step into UN Women’s first virtual reality experience. Finess is a refugee in the Lusenda Camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Political violence in her hometown in Burundi forced Finess to flee across Lake Tanganyika in the middle of the night, leaving behind two daughters. With the help of UN Women’s Safe Spaces, Finess learns new skills and begins to save money for her return journey to Burundi. Watch as Finess is reunited with her children and becomes a pillar of her new community in the refugee camp.

Patricia Arquette calls for equal pay

Academy Award-winning American actress Patricia Arquette joins forces with UN Women and the Internal Labour Organization (ILO) to launch the Equal Pay Platform of Champions. Patricia was joined by leaders and activists including two-time Olympic gold medalist and soccer superstar Abby Wambach.

It's time to close the gender pay gap

Worldwide, women only make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.

Think you know your facts on women and the economy? Take our quiz to find out!


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See past editorial packages for: CSW60, CSW59, CSW58, CSW57 and CSW56.