Equal Pay, Urban Women Problems Discussed by Commission

UN Chronicle, June 1994 | Go to article overview

Equal Pay, Urban Women Problems Discussed by Commission


Equal pay for work of equal value, women in urban areas and measures to eradicate violence against women were among the issues dealt with by the Commission on the Status of Women at its thirty-eighth session (7-18 March, New York).

Being also the preparatory body for the Fourth world conference on Women in Beijing 1995, the commission's work focused on preparatory activities, in particular the drafting of the Platform for Action.

In discussing priority themes--equality, development and peace--established for its thirty-seven through fortieth sessions, the Commission adopted 13 resolutions, many calling on Governments to urgently improve the situations of women around the world.

"The road to Beijing must be paved with vision, commitment and a determination to harness the support of Governments to remove the remaining obstacles to the advancement of women", Gertrude Mongella, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Secretary-General of the Fourth World Conference, told the 45-member Commission on 7 March. It has the task of organizing that conclave, which is set for September 1995.

Preparing for Belling

In a resolution on Conference preparations, the Commission asked the Secretary-General to advance work on the draft Platform for Action, in time for its next session.

The Commission had reviewed a preliminary text (E/CN.6/1994/10) for that Platform, discussed the 10 critical areas of concern and further elaborated strategic objectives and action to be taken. According to the document, the Platform's "mission" was "to accelerate the removal of the remaining obstacles to women's full and equal participation in all spheres of life, including economic and political decision-making, to protect women's human rights throughout the life cycle, and to mainstream women in all areas of sustainable development".

The strategic objectives derived from the critical areas of concern and action to be taken were to: enable women to overcome poverty; ensure women's access to quality education and training for self-reliance at all levels and in all fields and sectors: increase women's full access throughout the life cycle to appropriate, affordable and quality health care and related services; eliminate violence against women; increase the participation of women in conflict resolution and protect women in armed and other kinds of conflict and foreign occupation; promote women's economic self-reliance including access to employment, appropriate working conditions and control over economic resources--land, capital and technology; strengthen factors that promote the full and equal participation of women in power structures and decision-making at all levels and all areas; integrate gender-equality dimensions into policy and programme planning and implementation at all levels and in all areas; apply and enforce international norms and standards to promote and safeguard the full and equal enjoyment by women of all human rights; enhance the role of the traditional and modern communication media effectively to promote awareness of equality between women and men; and promote action to develop the mutual responsibility of women and men to achieve equality.

Advancing women's status

In a text on women and development, sponsored by Algeria on behalf of the "Group of 77" and China, the Commission recommended that Governments create ways to ensure women's participation in political, economic and social planning processes. Governments and other institutions were called on to promote measures to stimulate the economies of developing countries and to integrate women in the development process. Gender-oriented research in development also was recommended.

As for equal pay issues, the Commission recognized the need to eliminate income inequalities and gender-based discriminatory working conditions. Employers, employees and their respective organizations should implement the principle of equal pay for equal work and work of equal value. …

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