CSW61 13/03/17 & 15/03/17: Women and Work

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    Submitted by Dr. Maria Peenze

    1. Ministerial Roundtable discussions on 13 March 2017:

    Various governments reported to have introduced minimum wage legislation or policy directives, also frequently recognizing non-remunerated work by women or girls relating to domestic or care work.

    In my view, not a clear differentiation had been struck between work as a domestic worker (the minimum wage issue in many respects) and the social protection and acknowledgement (including possible remuneration) of women in their own domestic environment.

    Further, the controversy with regard to the right to and definition of “decent work” was not properly addressed. The mere fact that the right to work is not in principle equated with remunerated work and social protection or security, implies that statistics with regard to employment are skewed in some instances. The inclusion of non-remunerated care work into the employment statistics may also be criticized as a form of commercialization of motherhood.

    Furthermore, although the right to micro-finance had been addressed by some governments, the intention of empowerment financing should not exclude access to businesses of all sizes. It was clear that not a lot of data is available (or shared) with regard to women in the working poor space.

    2. Challenges Facing Women in the Work Space (focus on Muslim Women’s Economic Empowerment in Changing the World of Work) – Side Event on 15 March 2017

    The economic rights of Muslim women were discussed, focusing on how the harnessing of modern technologies, electric devices and IT savvy may assist Muslim women to create more employment opportunities. It was concluded that strong pillars in supporting Muslim women include building international Muslimat Economic Networks, legislating the muslim women economic rights through proper legislation, special and family-friendly tax exempt or tax relief, soft skills and technological advancement, gender responsive budgeting and new ijtihad or juristic reasoning based on current cyber and online issues.

    3. Support Start-Ups and Fundraising for Innovative SMEs Led by Women (Side-event sponsored by Hungary delegation) – 15 March 2017

    National and International plans for women empowerment in Hungary are extensive. The most remarkable though is the 3 year paid maternity (and/or paternity) leave granted in Hungary. Very strong focus is placed on family values and the empowerment of community life. Strong ties with rural development programs are noted, with grandiose empowerment programs for women in agriculture.

    The extensive support provided by the European Union for start-up businesses by women entrepreneurs have been communicated. Emphasis is on internationalization, providing opportunities for women to also combine certain areas such as IT with agriculture in their businesses in order to qualify for even higher funding. Funding is provided as a non-refundable grant, and is available for application by women from all countries in the EU, Asia and the Americas who have registered companies in Europe. Africa’s involvement as a second partner to an application is also valued and supported by the EU’s funding program.

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