Over 40 trade-union delegates and union equality officers from around the world gathered at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which began on Monday 2 March in New York to advocate and make progress on gender-equality and non-discrimination policies within the framework of the “Decent Work, Decent Lives for Women campaign.
Education International, the international body for education trade unions, helped compile the 40-women-strong trade-union delegation to the CSW, which is based on the fact that the achievement of decent work/decent lives for all has to overcome some obstacles such as the differences and inequalities of the situations of men and women, and discrimination against women in the world of work. On of the focuses of the delegation is the unequal distribution of domestic and care responsibilities between women and men. This continues to be a major obstacle to women’s participation and advancement in paid work, since men tend not to share either in housework or in child care-associated activities.
The conclusions that will arise from the CSW are to negotiated and agreed by all UN member states, including New Zealand. They are likely to include a comprehensive set of recommendations to be implemented at the international, national, regional, and local levels. The agreed conclusions are a tool that can be used to hold governments and international institutions to account for the actions they take or do not take in achieving women’s equality.
Currently, the draft agreed conclusions from the commission’s 2009 meeting include policies to adopt and implement legislation and policies to promote reconciliation of work and family responsibilities, including efforts to close the gap between women’s and men’s pay. They also include policies to reduce occupational segregation and increase flexibility in working arrangements such as part-time work, as well as ensuring the protection of workers with flexible working arrangements with regard to wages, social protection, and other benefits and targetting such measures to all workers.