CARE welcomes the new report of the UN High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, launched in New York City Tueday: LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND – Taking Action for transformational Change on Women’s Economic Empowerment.
"We believe that if government, business and civil society make bold commitments and urgently pursue the key recommendations in this report then we can shift the needle on empowering all women in all economies," said Nilufar Verjee, CARE International UK's director of women’s economic empowerment.
We welcome the High Level Panel’s timely and critical leadership: despite the clear moral and business case for protecting and respecting women’s rights to economic empowerment, women around the world still face a long list of systematic and gender-based barriers stopping them from realising their full potential. Globally only one in two women aged 15 and over are in paid employment, compared with about three in four men, and women are concentrated in badly-paid precarious jobs in the informal sector.
The practical and focused recommendations in the report provide all of us with an agenda to take forward women’s economic empowerment. However, if no one is to be left behind, further work must be done to assess how some of the most vulnerable women – those in conflict-affected and fragile states - are to become economically empowered. We also need to see a strong focus on engaging men and boys, and keep front and centre that women’s economic empowerment is a fundamental human right.
CARE International is proud to have provided key advice to the High Level Panel, building on our knowledge of financial inclusion, dignified work and value chains. Further, we are supporting the work of the Panel and its long term impact by committing to our goal that 30 million women have greater access to and control over economic resources by 2020. We will achieve this through our work in 79 countries strengthening women’s roles as producers, workers, entrepreneurs and consumers.
In direct support of this report CARE also commits to:
- Reduce the gender access gap to financial services. Key to this will be scaling our proven model of Village Savings and Loan Associations which gives the poorest women access to informal and formal financial services and which currently reaches 14 million members globally.
- Develop technology that can support more savings and loan groups to access formal financial services in a way that can address access and credit history issues.
- Support the development of a new global partnership to engage financial service providers, civil society and governments to bank the world’s poorest women
- Partner with companies in understanding the position of women in their value chains and supporting both women and businesses to reap the benefits of empowerment
It is now up to government, business and civil society to lift the actions from the pages of this UN report into their policies, practices and attitudes to realise the full and equal participation of women in society and in the economy.
CARE has been encouraged by Canada’s election to the Commission on the Status of Women, and the participation of International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and other Canadian leaders on the Canadian delegation to the CSW’s 61st Session from 13-24 March in New York.
We look forward to the imminent publication of Canada’s new International Assistance Policy, and to working with the government to ensure that policy’s implementation effectively promotes women’s entrepreneurship, skills development and access to safe and dignified work, and supports women’s access to appropriate financial products and services.
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