The UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS organized a Workshop on "The Contribution of Women to Economies in Transition" on 18 January 2000, prior to the ECE Regional Preparatory Meeting for Beijing + 5. Panellists included 6 representatives of Governments, Ombudsmen Offices, NGOs and experts from Albania, Armenia, Lithuania, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine.
The Workshop concluded that women are bearing most of the hardship in the CIS and the CEE, particularly in those countries where the transition process has led to decreasing standards of living and in war torn areas. Yet, they have also been a source of innovation, which has contributed enormously to the transition process. They have demonstrated a number of initiatives and adaptability to changing gender roles in the market economy by setting up businesses to complement incomes, cushioning its economic constraints and caring for the well-being of their families and taking on additional workloads to satisfy social and family needs. They have been the pillar of the public sector, often remaining in underpaid and undervalued positions. They have been very actively involved in setting up small businesses, and in participating in NGO and civil society structures.
The recommendations of the Workshop were:
To properly assess, evaluate and reward the contribution of women. National development agendas should reflect the gender perspective in key economic and social development policies.
To implement engendered social and economic policies that include mechanisms to ensure equal participation by creating the necessary infrastructures that allow women to combine their reproductive responsibilities with their engagement in productive labor. This would require the active involvement of men, society and the private sector in order to share social responsibility for the well-being of families and ease the burden on women.
Engendered social and economic policies and programmes should focus on the elimination of discrimination in the workforce. Relevant government institutions and representatives of the civil society need to strengthen the enforcement of legislation that guarantees the rights of working women, especially vulnerable groups. They in addition should monitor its implementation through existing or new institutions, such as Ombudsman offices. The private sector should play its part in equalizing opportunities, by not only adopting anti-discriminatory practices, but also by introducing incentives to utilize the full potential of women.
To develop both quantitative and qualitative data, including not only statistics disagregated by sex, but also statistics that map the changes in gender roles and the access to equal rights and opportunities.
To develop the necessary tools and mechanisms to analyze national programmes and socio-economic policies and practices from the gender point of view. The analysis should focus on their impact on men and women and on the feedback mechanisms that ensure success. These mechanisms can include analysis of issues related to public expenditure and budget reviews and monitoring.
To promote a dialogue and strategic partnerships between governments, civil societies and experts, including economists, social scientists and gender specialists to support integrated approaches to social development and economic analyses that incorporate gender equality considerations.
In order to ensure the implementation of the objectives above, the international community, including donor governments, the UN system, and all organizations working in the region should provide financial support, technical assistance and advocacy.
For further information please contact:
Ms. Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh
UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS
Telephone: (41 22) 917 7345, 917 7346
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 (0) 22 917 44 44
Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 05 05
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