Advancing Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Advancing Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Today, women represent approximately 70 per cent of the 1.2 billion people living in poverty throughout the world. Inequality with respect to the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights is a central fact of women’s lives in every region of the world. Ongoing inequality in the sphere of economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights contributes to the continuing subordination of women and makes them especially vulnerable to violence, exploitation and other forms of abuse.

While all of the activity streams within work of the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights incorporate a gender-sensitive perspective, we feel it is vital to include a targeted focus on advancing women’s ESC rights. We know that the realization of women’s ESC rights can itself be transformative, not only in ensuring that women’s immediate material needs are met, but also in fundamentally reshaping unequal power relationships between women and men. Indeed, we know that certain rights are especially transformative from the standpoint of women’s empowerment, including equal rights over land, property, and rights to education, livelihood and health. Here, the Global Initiative has a special interest in advancing women’s land and property rights. For women, advancement on these critical issues is more than about poverty alleviation, it is about uplifting women’s lives in a fundamental way.

The Global Initiative works with its partners to raise the visibility of women’s ESC rights, and in particular land and property rights, at various international and regional forums, and to strengthen the enforcement of these rights. More generally, we also see to provide gender-sensitive analyses of substantive ESC rights and their relationship to the fulfillment of women’s right to equality. Similar work can also be done at regional and national levels. This includes identification of what the right means for women in terms of respect, protect and fulfillment of rights and what kinds of specific measures need to be considered by States for implementation, including for women facing intersectional discrimination.

The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is a member of the ESCR-Net Women and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Working Group

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