Browse by Theme: Dignified Work

What does women’s economic empowerment mean to you?

To me, women’s economic empowerment is a fresh and insightful new approach to uplifting the status of women in all walks of life.

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The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) has recently published a report on DFID’s approach to supporting inclusive growth in Africa – A learning review. Given the major increase in DFID’s economic development budget over the last few years (to £1.8 billion in 2015-16 – more than doubling the amount spent in 2012-13) and the publication at the start of this year of DFID’s new Economic Development Strategy, ICAI’s review of the evidence being used to structure DFID’s spend and programming is timely. It aims to answer a question of great interest to CARE: how DFID manages the dilemma between focusing on transformational growth and ensuring that the poor are able to benefit from it.

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There is currently a great opportunity for everyone who is interested in women’s economic empowerment to push forward a key initiative to tackle the gender-based violence which plays a key role in the workplace in continuing oppressive working conditions, in diminishing women’s voices, and in breaching women’s rights. Achieving an ILO Convention on ending violence and harassment in the workplace will support the empowerment of millions of women.

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The suggested ILO Convention on ending violence and harassment at work, while positive, still has some way to go on some key issues, including the role of women in developing and implementing the Convention, who are identified as workers, what is a place of work, and the responsibilities of multinational companies.

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Organisations thrive when management and employees have open communications and are able to discuss issues and develop solutions together. Investing in workers can lead to an increase in their productivity, reliability and quality of work. Most importantly, workers who have an effective voice within the workplace and around the issues affecting the wider community, can better protect their rights and achieve their potential. That’s why we’ve just launched a new partnership with Twinings to improve the lives and livelihoods of tea workers and so increase the sustainability of the tea value chain.

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The only good thing about the recent revelations over the yawningly wide gender pay gap at the BBC was the outrage. People felt it was morally corrupt and utterly unequal that women were paid less than men for doing the same job in the UK in 2017. We need to feel the same level of outrage about women’s staggering lack of economic empowerment globally. Without focusing more on the rights and equality arguments, decent work for women will remain out of reach.

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Largely through the efforts of the Trade Union movement, the ILO is now in a process of considering whether to establish a new instrument or instruments on “Ending violence and harassment against women and men in the world of work”. CARE views this as a great opportunity to reduce the prevalence of the gender-based violence (GBV) which faces the women workers around the world whom we try to support on issues of Dignified Work.

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