A Look Back ... 1980; INSTRAW - 10 Years Old: Working Hard to Help Women

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A Look Back ... 1980

Women make up more than half of the world's population, perform two thirds of its work, receive one tenth of its income and own less than one hundredth of its property. Each woman's household work adds up to an additional month of work a year. Women grow about half of the world's food, but own little land, often find it difficult to obtain loans and are overlooked by agricultural advisors and projects. In times of economic recession, women are the first to be laid off. Few countries provide maternity benifits. More than one third of the world's households are headed by women who are usually at the bottom of the income ladder. Many women in developing countries survive by working in the "informal sector" of the economy, virtually unprotected by labour laws. Working hard to change these statistics, the International Research and Training Institute for the advancement of Women (INSTRAW), a small UN agency with headquarters in the Dominican Republic, celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.

The Institute's research, training and information exchange activities are geared to help integrate women into development. INSTRAW also formulates development strategies to further the advancement of women.

"Women make an enormous contribution to development, and yet they are generally viewed as burdens or passive beneficiaries, not as assets. Research and training are absolutely essential to change these notions", says Ms. Dunja Pastizzi-Ferencic, Director of INSTRAW.

The Institute, an autonomous UN body, is directed by a board of trustees, nominated by UN Member States and then approved by the Economic and Social Council.

Research projects conducted by the Institute focus on different aspects of women's relationship to the economy. For example, in 1986, IJSTRAW collaborated with the UN Statistical Office in a 592-page Compendium of Statistics and Indicators on the Situation of Women, 1986. These reports provide technical guidance for producers and users of statistics on women at the national, regional and international levels. …