UN Women Highlights Robust Measures to Enhance Women’s Economic Empowerment


International Conference Co-hosted by UN Women and CIDA Issues Joint Call for Practical Actions to Empower Women

Ottawa—The UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) today called for strong, practical actions that will support women's economic empowerment globally. At the closing of the two day international conference on women's economic empowerment in Ottawa, Canada, co-hosted by the UN Women and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), a joint call of action identified concrete actions to strengthen women's economic security and rights. Recommendations include stronger engagement with governments and the private sector to develop policies and markets which are more responsive to women's needs and positions in the economy.

“In countries worldwide, women are taking on more and more work, paid and unpaid, to cushion the impact on families and communities, with little to show for it in terms of economic security or personal well-being. To change this downward spiral it is vital to empower women economically. This meeting is an important step in fostering dialogue and action among expert analysts, policymakers, practitioners and innovators to make this a reality said Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women.

The Conference brought together approximately 100 participants, including entrepreneurs, practitioners and policy makers from both the developing and developed worlds to exchange ideas and identify forward-looking practical steps to address the evolving needs of women internationally. They focused on ways to support economies to fully advance women's empowerment, and on identifying the tools needed by women to genuinely participate in and benefit from gender-responsive inclusive growth and development.

The Conference highlighted the need to:

  • Transform institutional, legal and policy environments to generate a macro model that is more conducive to women's economic empowerment;
  • Adopt an integrated approach that addresses different categories of constraints, including gender-specific, institutional and attitude barriers, to overcome challenges to women's economic empowerment;
  • Recognize, reduce and redistribute unpaid work and to reinforce rights of domestic workers;
  • Increase women's economic security as a prerequisite to creating the conditions for women to move away from low-risk, low return sectors and for asset building and accumulation;
  • Support women's organizations, including women business networks, to have greater voice in policy decision-making and policies on women's economic empowerment.

The need for a dynamic platform to better share evidence, good practices and experiences was highlighted. In that context UN Women and CIDA agreed to jointly:

  • Develop an on-line Knowledge Gateway on Women's Economic Empowerment to increase the availability of applied research and knowledge for entrepreneurs, practitioners and policy thinkers from around the world. This Gateway will become a one-stop service providing the most up-to-date information, technical resources and best practices on business and economic opportunities.
  • Promote international engagement on women's economic empowerment at events such as the Fourth High level Forum on Aid Effectiveness and the 56th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

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