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Empowering women for sustainable development

Published:January 2012

Sustainable development as defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development is development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It therefore encapsulates the needs of both women and men. Intra-generational equity cannot be achieved without addressing the gender relations which underlie prevailing inequity. Nor can inter-generational equity be obtained, or responsibility to pass on a more equitable world to future generations be met if inequalities continue to be perpetuated. This paper focuses on women’s empowerment as a key process in reaching gender equality and, through that, sustainable development. It first discusses the concepts of women’s empowerment and sustainable development and shows how both are inter-linked through the lens of intra and inter-generational justice. The remainder of the paper is then dedicated to the question of what needs to be done, and is being done, for women’s empowerment, both through building an enabling policy environment and through enhancing women’s capacity as active agents of change for sustainable development in the UNECE region.


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© United Nations Economic Commissions for Europe – 2013