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International Women's Day: No more 'sticking plaster' solutions for the economic gender gap

8 March 2017 - Gender equality will never become a reality until governments invest in breaking down the social constraints that prevent women living in poverty from progressing economically, Christian Aid Ireland has said today on International Women's Day 2017 (March 8).

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #BeBoldForChange, with a particular focus on expanding opportunities for women to move forward in the workplace and the economy.

Christian Aid wants governments to address the structural barriers facing the tens of millions of women across the world who do work that is low-paid, in poor and unsafe conditions, with limited employment rights and few opportunities to advance.

Christian Aid Ireland's CEO Rosamond Bennett said: ‘If we truly want to see the full and equal participation of women in the economy, we need to confront the root causes of gender inequality – especially in developing nations. Otherwise, all our efforts will amount to no more than a quick-fix sticking plaster.

‘That’s why governments, through progressive taxation measures, must raise the funds to provide the types of social infrastructure that will empower women to take control of their financial futures: this includes improving opportunities for work that is decent, well-paid, secure and safe. It’s also critical that we address the issue of unpaid care work: one of the biggest obstacles to women’s economic advancement.

‘It is also imperative that governments introduce gender-responsive budgets to ensure that tax revenues are spent in ways that promote gender equality, including supporting women in the world of work: from education and skills training to health and care services – some of the cornerstones critical to securing women’s rights and accelerating their participation in economic life.’

Rosamond Bennett added: ‘Policy makers cannot drag their heels on this. They need to enact progressive legislation that protects women’s labour rights and their collective bargaining power, i.e. their right to organise. These rights are fundamental, especially for women in the informal sector – for instance, street vendors or domestic workers – who fall outside the protection of labour laws.’

Worldwide, hundreds of millions of women are part of an informal workforce, with no social and employments rights. Many are in occupations that reflect gender stereotypes. Women also take on three times more unpaid employment than men, according to the United Nations.

Christian Aid will raise these issues at the annual Commission for the Status of Women (CSW), which runs from 13-24 March in New York. At the global event, the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment will release its final report.

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For media queries contact:

Meabh Smith
Head of Communications
Christian Aid Ireland

Email: mjsmith@christian-aid.org

Additional Notes:
  1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

  2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, and sustainably. Our strategy document ‘From Inspiration to Impact’ outlines how we set about this task.

  3. Christian Aid Ireland, with the support of Irish Aid, funds partners in Colombia working on peace building, human rights and accountability.

  4. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org

  5. Follow Christian Aid Ireland on Twitter: twitter.com/christianaidirl

  6. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit www.christianaid.ie

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