The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General established the High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment to bring together leaders from different constituencies—government, civil society, business and international organizations—to launch a shared global agenda that accelerates women’s economic participation and empowerment in support of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its promise that no one will be left behind.
The High-Level Panel, formally convened in March 2016, released its first report, Leave No One Behind: A Call to Action for Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment, at the UN General Assembly in September 2016. This report laid out the evidence for the urgency and timeliness of this effort. It explained why women’s economic empowerment was the right thing to do—and the smart thing to do.
Globally, women are paid 24 percent less than men; they perform 2.5 times more unpaid care and domestic work in their families and communities; they are concentrated in lower-earning sectors; they encounter widespread violence and harassment at home and in the workplace; and they make up a large percentage of the informal workforce, which is often stigmatized and lacks recognition and legal protection. Ninety percent of 173 economies covered by the World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law 2016 report have at least one law limiting women’s economic participation, restricting them from certain types of professions, hindering their freedom to travel outside the home or country, or constraining their ability to inherit or own land.
This second report of the High-Level Panel builds on the first report and focuses on a tighter set of recommendations to accelerate progress on this vital agenda. It reflects work by expert groups, including Panel members and others, who have examined each of the seven drivers for addressing systemic barriers to women’s economic empowerment that were introduced in the first report, as well as macroeconomic policy, in greater detail. It focuses particularly on ways to support the most marginalized women at the base of the pyramid in agricultural and informal work. The Panel is also preparing a set of online toolkits (forthcoming) for each driver to help interested partners fast-track action.
The Panel remains firmly committed to the core principles agreed early in our work, especially that women must be at the heart of action taken.
Bringing about change does not, however, rest on the shoulders of women alone: men’s role in breaking down barriers and stereotypes, sharing care and other responsibilities and actively supporting the voice and leadership of women in all aspects of their lives and organizations is a key factor as well.
The Panel’s principles also emphasize the powerful role of partnerships, from the global to the local.
In its role as a catalyst for “shifting the needle” on women’s economic empowerment, the Panel has continuously encouraged new partnerships and promoted new commitments that will carry this work forward. Individual Panel members and the many institutions they are associated with have already made significant commitments. Since the Panel was launched, many others have come forward to express their commitment to this agenda and to ask what more they can do.
This report is intended to help guide those who are keen to take action, to inspire others to act, and to help to create longer-term momentum for transformational change. Deliberately aimed at a nonspecialist audience, it can be read either independently or as part of the Panel’s entire suite of publications.
The ultimate goal of this report, the High-Level Panel and the Sustainable Development Agenda is a world where women have their rights recognized and are empowered to be free and equal participants in a robust, inclusive and sustainable global economy.
Read the full report attached below or by clicking here.